Good chefs usually have a favourite knife or two that they use in their kitchens and one of the types that many chefs prefer is a “chefs knife” (D- handled and around 8-12 inches ) and we all have at least one in our bags. These knives have been around for 1,000s of years and evolved in different ways in several countries such as Germany, France and Japan.
Japanese chefs knives of a sort came about in the 1500s when they made special steel knifes to cut up tobacco in Sakai, Japan. They got a special license to make knives from the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime of Japan from 1603 to 1868, which helped them become famous with a monopoly in making and selling these kinds of knives.
A chefs knife can range from being six to 14 inches long and one and a half inches wide. They are made with materials of carbon or stainless steel, ceramic, or use a laminated blade.
How are Chefs Knives Made?
Chefs knifes are made by either stamping or a hot forge method. Stamped knives are cut from a section of steel, which is then heated, ground and sharpened. A forged knife costs more because it is made by hand and then heated at high temperatures and beaten into the proper shape, ground and then sharpened.
The blades of chef knives may have shapes like a double grind, V-shape, single or double blade, chisel style edge, convex edge, or be hollow ground. They can also be sharpened in different ways to be used with different kinds of cutting needs. For example, if you want to mince foods, you need a very sharp tip, while the middle of the knife is sharpened in a way to make it work better for chopping or slicing, and the back is sharpened in a way to make it best for things like disjointing meats.
What kinds of chefs knives are there?
There are several kinds of blades for chefs knives so that they can be used for various purposes such as boning, paring, etc. Some of the more modern types of chefs knives are made to do more than one task and usually you can use it for everything from mincing and slicing up vegetables to chopping up and slicing meats.
For example, one of the Japanese styles of chefs knives is called a Santoku and it can be used to do everything from cutting up fish and chicken to chopping vegetables. This knife has become a very popular example of a chefs knife in many kitchens.
Which type of chefs knife is better?
The kind of chef knife used by a cook in part depends on personal preference; however, there are some advantages and disadvantages of all types of chefs knives. The characteristics of each kind include:
Carbon Steel Blades
The blade of a carbon steel chefs knife is subject to rust and therefore must be cleaned and lubricated every time it is used. Some say it should be rested from time to time in order to protect it, plus not transfer any metal taste to the foods. These are very popular in Asia and the Middle East and are considered to be very sharp. Other chefs stay away from them since they are a high maintenance knife.
Stainless Steel Blades
A stainless-steel blade is on a chef knife is more resistant to rust, but it also is not as sharp as the carbon steel type of blade. They are also less expensive. However, you can buy very high grade stainless steel chef knives from Japan from the brands Global and Kasumi which are just as good, if not better, than some times of carbon steel knives according to users.
A ceramic blade chef knife has the disadvantage of being chipped or broken easily. However, it does keep the food from being discolored or having the taste from the knife leached into it. Plus, they require special gear to sharpen them, so may be inconvenient to use.
A laminated blade for a chef knife is made in layers. It can also be sharpened different ways. This means it has characteristics of all of the above knives in some ways.
How do you use a chefs knife?
The way a chefs uses a knife varies, but usually the handle is gripped by using the four fingers wrapped around it and the thumb placed under them. Some cooks prefer holding onto the blade itself by using their thumb and first finger and putting them in front of the knife’s finger guard. They then put their middle finger on the other side of the finger guard right under the knife’s bolster.
Some of the brands of Chefs Knives
There are several well known and popular companies that make chefs knives. These include Global, Wusthof, Shun, Henckel, Sabatier, Mac Mighty, and Misono.
The very first Global Chefs knives were made in 1985, but its design was inspired by Japanese knives from more than 1,000 years ago. Global comes from Niigata, Japan and is a well-liked chef’s knife made from stainless steel. It is lightweight, designed to reduce hand fatigue, and is specially made with a handle that reduces slipping.
Wusthof is a German brand of chef’s knife. They are designed to be very strong and are made of carbon steel.
These are from Japan and are made of stainless steel. They are non-stick, have a D shaped handle, and can be bought in both left and right hand styles.
Another German chef’s knife made of stainless steel. Their handles are ergonomic to keep your hands from tiring out and are very strong and sharp.
This company is 150 years old and located in France. Their knives are carbon steel and easily sharpened. This style is narrower than a similar German style.
This is an American brand and their knives are made of carbon chrome molybdenum with vanadium in a narrow style like the Sabatier knives, but are lighter and more flexible.
This is another Japanese chef’s knife. It is made of molybdenum and stays sharp for long periods of time and can be re-sharpened easily. The handles are wooden and these knives are well-liked by many famous cooks.
All in all, chef’s knives are very versatile and popular all over the world no matter which type or brand used. If you want some of the best knives in the world today for your kitchen, you can’t go wrong with some type of chefs knife.