3 Knives Every Chef Should Have
Table of Contents
3 Knives Every Chef Should Have. 1
Knives & Their Purpose.
Chef’s Knife. 2
How to choose the best chef’s knife. 2
Paring Knife. 2
Benefits of a paring knife. 2
Serrated Knife. 3
3 Knives Every Chef Should Have
When shopping for knives, you will find many that come in sets. A chef’s knife is one of the most important tools. Knife sets are a collection of knives with some sets combining up to 20 knives while others comprise just a few knives. Although a robust knife collection might seem like the ultimate addition to your kitchen, some entries, such as this one on business insider, insist that a basic chef’s knife is all you need for the kitchen.
Quality kitchen knife sets are expensive and might be out of the average beginner cook’s budget. While cheaper options are available, it is worth noting that they can sometimes compromise quality. Large knife sets also require more effort in terms of care and maintenance. The sets that come with multiple shaped blades can also prove hard to sharpen. More knives mean that you have extra cleaning to do as opposed to when you are using one knife. That is why every beginner cook needs to narrow down his or her knife collection to only the necessary kitchen knives for beginners.
For the beginner cook, there are 3 must have knives. This article sheds more light on the basic knives chefs need in their kitchen.
Knives & Their Purpose
Knives are used for one primary purpose, which is cutting. The handling of each individual knife is fundamentally the same. The cook holds the handle of the knife and uses the blade to press down on the item they want to cut. To achieve precise cuts with minimal effort, the blade needs to be strong and sharp. Some knives have specially formed blades that enhance the cuts achieved with the knife. For instance, a bread knife is serrated on one edge to allow the blade to cut through food items with a tough exterior and a soft interior. The top part of the blade is blunt and the tip curved to allow easy scooping of margarine, jam, or peanut butter.
However, not every cook needs knives with specially fashioned blades in their kitchen. This is because some knives serve multiple purposes and save you from buying a knife for every purpose. The section below discusses kitchen knives for beginners.
A chef’s knife is the most important tool every kitchen should have. It helps the cook to perform the basic cutting needs with the sharp straight edged blade. Moreover, it can handle other food preparation tasks like crushing nuts and garlic. The length of the blade on a chef’s knife ranges from six to 12 inches. The knife is wider close to the handle while it grows thinner towards the tip. The blade is smooth to allow easy handling as you cut with the knife by rocking the blade back and forth. The cutting edge on a chef’s knife gradually bends as you move from the heel to the tip. Opposite the cutting edge is a straight heel that allows you to put in extra effort by pressing on the blade. This helps a lot, especially when you are cutting hard items.
How to choose the best chef’s knife
When buying a chef’s knife, you need to consider the size of the blade. A longer blade is ideal for cutting large items but might be difficult to handle if you have small hands. As such, a medium sized blade, measuring around eight inches, is ideal for many cooks.
Impeccable weight balance is also something you need to take into account when choosing a chef’s knife. The handle and blade should have almost equal weight. If the weight is tilted towards the handle or the blade, you are forced to adjust how you handle the knife when cutting. This can become uncomfortable after sometime.
The overall weight of the knife is also important when choosing a chef’s knife. Since you must lift the knife every time it is in use, choosing a lightweight knife allows you to cut for a long time without wearing out your wrist. The overall weight is dependent on the materials used to construct the handle, bolster, and blade.
A paring knife is small with the blade measuring about 3 to 3.5 inches in length. The small size is perfect for cutting delicate and small sized items in the kitchen. Cutting maneuvers that require the cook to be extra careful so as not to mutilate the food items, such as peeling apples and slicing tomatoes, can be done easily using a paring knife. The tip of a paring knife is sharp and pointed. This comes in handy when you want to pierce the tough skin on a fruit or vegetable skin to get a starting point from where you can peel off the rest of the skin.
Benefits of a paring knife
Having a paring knife in your kitchen allows you to handle cutting delicate foods. The small knife enables you to make precise cuts and shapes which are great for garnishing and decorating plated food. The tip of a paring knife also helps you to eject seeds from fruits such as watermelons.
The miniature size of the paring knife allows the cook to use it in their hands and forego using the cutting board. When used like this, the sharpness on the cutting edge lasts for a long time because there is reduced contact of the edge with hard surfaces. This means that you will only need to sharpen or hone the paring knife fewer times as compared to the other knives that are used on the cutting board. Less sharpening allows the knife to last for longer.
Serrated Chef’s Knife
A serrated knife has a cutting edge that closely resembles the cutting edge of a wood saw. The edge is ideal for cutting food items that have a hard exterior and soft interior like bread and pastries. The knife’s pointed tips make precise cuts on bread and enable the knife to move through the soft material without compressing it.
Cutting with a serrated knife involves continuous forward and backward motions that are different from the up and down motion that characterize cutting with a chef knife. This cutting motion allows the cook to make thin uniform slices.
Apart from cutting bread, a serrated knife also comes in handy when slicing cooked steaks. The saw-like cutting edge allows you to cut the soft cooked steak without mutilating it.
When choosing a serrated knife, look out for different kinds of serrations. Most serrated knives have pointed serration tips with concave indentations between two points. Other knives have scalloped serrations. Serrated knives have cutting edges that retain the edge for a long time. Occasional honing and sharpening, however, may be required when the knife has been in use for a long time.
Every cook starts somewhere before he or she gains experience and becomes a professional. The three knives discussed in the sections above are must have knives when starting a kitchen knife collection. When buying your first knives, it is important to choose high-quality knives that will last for a long time. As you progress and sharpen your culinary skills, you may add more knives chefs need to prepare intricate recipes. Knives like boning knives, santoku knives, and fillet knives, for instance, help you prepare different food items more efficiently. As your knife collection widens, you will realize that a knife storage block comes in handy when you want your knives to always be within your reach. Later on, you can also consider adding a honing tool and sharpening stone to keep your knives in perfect working condition.