They slice and dice, they debone and they chop. The professional chef’s knife is a fundamental tool for seasoned cooks and budding home chefs alike – yet many of us simply don’t know what to look out for when deciding which one to buy. Leading cooking utensil suppliers Chef’s Knives Online have come up with their top four things to consider before you buy your own knives.
Hold the knife in your hand first
If you’re going to be using a pro chef’s knife on a regular basis, then the grip needs to be comfortable. The likes of Gordon and Jamie would undoubtedly test this by holding it in their hand to see if it sits comfortably. And remember, just because one knife sits snugly for one person, it doesn’t mean that it will be the same for you – so take the time to see for yourself.
Have a look to see how much steel is in the knife – and where…
To check for quality and durability, the guys at Chef’s Knives Online recommend that you look for any signs of joining or welding – particularly in the hilt of the knife. This is the weakest point, so if you do spot this, then it’s best to avoid it because weak knives are prone to bending and snapping. It’s also important to consider that the very best knives are made with a single piece of steel – this makes them less brittle. And, if you’re feeling a little flush, hand-forged steel will definitely last longer.
The pro chef’s knife: a weighty issue
The weight of the knife is important. A lightweight chopper is good if you’re after something dexterous that will glide through the food. But by the same token, if you are looking for a knife that will make light work of larger, more solid ingredients – a heavier one is just the ticket. In many ways, the weight of the knife can actually reflect the personality of the cook: you can well imagine Gordon Ramsay sporting something bulky, while the cooler, more calm and collected Marco Pierre White is probably more likely to use an agile knife.
Examine the kilt of the knife
Ideally, this should be solid, easy to clean and well joined. In the majority of cases, this is the hardest part of the knife that absorbs much of the pressure when we cut our food. As previously mentioned, if it has been welded or joined, then it is unlikely to withstand a great deal of pressure. Another tip: if the kilt has a gap in it, you risk having food gathering in it – which can cause bacteria to breed on the knife if it isn’t cleaned properly.