How to Buy Chefs Knives
As with all professional kitchen equipment, the quality of a chef's knife is reflected in the price. Balance is an essential factor of kitchen knife construction. There should be a counter-balance between the handle and the blade so that the knife sits comfortably level in the hand.
Stainless Steel Kitchen Knives
Kitchen knives incorporate different types of steel depending on the intended purpose and environment.
High carbon steel provides toughness and the ability to take a very sharp edge. Unfortunately, carbon steel is not stain resistant. This material can rust and will eventually discolour from use. After significant use, high carbon steel kitchen knife blades will actually become black. This changing of colour does not affect the performance of the knife in any way and is indeed purely cosmetic.
High carbon stainless steel is generally the most commonly used metal for kitchen knives. It has a high content of carbon for hardness, yet chromium and nickel will keep the blade looking spotless.
The Different Types of Chef Knife
The range of kitchen knife blade designs is huge. Here is just a small selection of the more widely-used styles of blade.
This basic kitchen knife is ideal for a wide range of cutting and chopping jobs. It has a pointed blade and comes in a wide range of blade sizes. Plastic handled varieties in a range of different colours are also available.
This short-blade knife has a downward-pointed hooked end designed for easy turning of vegetables.
This long thin knife has a scalloped edge. The scallops allow air to pass around the blade as it cuts very thin slices and is therefore suitable for cutting cold meats and such like.
Serrated blades tear as well as cut. Narrow serrated blades are suitable for soft foods such as cucumbers or tomatoes and serrated blades are fantastic for cutting hot meats (carvery) and bread.
Fish Filleting Knife
This is a thin, slender and slightly flexible blade, ideal for the filleting of primarily flatfish.
This variety has curved blades, usually with a handle at either end. Hachoirs are traditionally used to chop herbs.