The chef’s knife is the single most important tool in the kitchen. It is used in the creation of virtually every dish, from preparing meat to slicing freshly baked bread. Whether you decide to chop, slice or dice vegetables, it can make a noticeable difference to the flavor they add to a meal, and if your technique can have such a marked effect, then so can your tool of choice.
That is why getting the right kitchen knife is so important. When you are creating dishes, the knife is the connection between you and your food, carrying out your minds will on the ingredients on the table in front of you.
Up until recently, a high-quality knife was a costly expense and often the purveyor of only professional cooks, but advances in technology have driven prices down, and even the best knives are now well within the price range of the home chef – you can pick up a high-quality knife for under £40.
With so many different knives out there, buying the right one might seem like a daunting task. Here are four features to consider when purchasing the perfect kitchen knife for you.
A comfortable handle
The single most important factor in choosing a knife is that it has to be comfortable. A good knife will feel light and balanced and fit in your hand when you hold it in a proper pinch grip. Textured handles give more grip which is especially helpful if you like to wash your hands frequently while cooking.
The right weight and length
A heavier knife always used to be equated with quality, but you don’t want a knife that is so heavy you have to put in a real effort to fight against gravity every time you use it. Pick a knife that feels reasonably light in your hand and doesn’t make maneuvering tricky. The blade length is also important. If it is too short, you’ll be leaning into your work, and if it is too long, you’ll be too far away from it.
Make sure it is sharp
The sharper the knife, the better the cut. Part of that sharpness comes down to the blade material which we will come to a minute. Knives will naturally go blunt over time and while sharpening them used to be a costly task involving sending the item off to an expert, there are all kinds of tools on the market these days such as electric knife sharpeners listed by knifeista.com that allow you to do it from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Get the right blade
There are many different metals that are used in the blades of cooking knives. If you want to keep costs down, go for stainless steel which is the cheapest, but as a result, it requires regular sharpening. Carbon steel is more expensive but harder and doesn’t lose its sharpness as quickly while Damascus steel provides a mixture of both, having a carbon core surrounded by layers of stainless. There are also ceramic blades which are ten times harder than carbon, yet so much lighter. The downside to them? They are prone to chipping.