How to Pick the Best Chef Knife for the Kitchen?
Before choosing the best chef knife that’s best for you, you must decide what kind of cook you are, and what kind of cook you want to be. A chef’s knife is going to be the ultimate tool in your cooking exploits, so you want to be certain that you’re aware of all that it can do.
This all-purpose knife will lead you into new frontiers of cooking. Remember that the knife you choose is going to be slicing tomatoes for a salad one day and deboning meat for a casserole the next. No more bringing a heat-and-serve dish to the next family dinner. No, those days are over, and with your chef’s knife in hand, you’ll be well on your way to impressing loved ones with your signature dish.
Below, please take a look at our interactive table of popular chef’s knives that are currently on the market:
|Victorinox Chef’s Knife||$$$|
|Shun Premier Chef's Knife||$$$|
|Shun Classic Chef’s Knife||$$$|
|Wustoff Classic Cook's Knife||$$$|
|Wusthof Ikon Cook’s Knife||$$$|
Best Chef Knife Features: Weight
The weight of the knife is key to the choice of which chef’s knife is right for you. The knife needs to feel right in the cook’s hand, but whether that means a heavy or a light knife depends on personal preference.
Some cooks feel that a heavier chef’s knife uses its force to cut through the foods with more ease. But others claim that a lighter knife allows for better maneuverability. Again, it’s what’s right for the cook that makes the decision. What’s right for Emeril isn’t necessarily what’s right for you; Emeril’s hands won’t be manning the cutting board in your kitchen.
The balance of the knife is important, too. Grip the knife by the handle to determine if it feels weighted toward the back of the handle, or toward the blade. And if you’re buying online, read the description, and especially a few customer reviews, to determine if the balance is well distributed and appropriate.
A knife that’s not balanced makes cooking harder than it needs to be. When your hand comes down on the blade, the knife should be stable, without veering to either side.
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling chef’s knives currently for sale on Amazon:
|1) Victorinox Chef's Knife|
|2) KitchenAid Chef Knife|
|3) Utopia Chef Knife|
|4) Shun Chef’s Knife|
|5) Wusthof Chef’s Knife|
The size of the knife that’s right for you depends on the size of your hands. The most popular sizes range from 6- to 10-inches in size, with the 8-inch knife the most popular selection. The 6-inch knife has the agility of a paring knife, but isn’t up the challenge of slicing through something large. A 10-inch knife has a longer blade that can handle a watermelon with no problem at all, but its very size can also make it feel like it’s too much for the cook to handle. If in doubt, remember that Rambo doesn’t have a cooking show.
The knife, with the weight, balance, and size that’s right for the cook, should feel as if it naturally extends from your hand. You’ll know right away, but make sure that you test it.
Also, you can take a look at some favorite chef’s knives at TheKitchn. Editor and cookbook author Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan offers information on knives and other cooking lore that will help you get the most out of your new knife.
On top of that, be sure to watch Chef Alton Brown break down how to pick the best knife you can utilize while in the kitchen:
What are the Parts of a Knife?
Until you actually decided to go shopping for a chef’s knife, you probably never thought much about the parts of said knife. You are in for a lesson, because while knives may be one of the earliest tools used by humans, there’s a specific, industrial format to their manufacturing.
Here are a few key things to note:
1) The edge, as most know, is the sharp part of the knife that does the cutting.
2)The spine is the top part of the knife, opposite the blade. It adds stability to the cutting motion.
3) The tip is the point of the knife, generally used to cut small things.
4) The tang is the metal piece that the handle attaches to, extending from the blade to the back of the knife. The tang gives the knife the weight it needs so that the knife isn’t unbalanced in the front. Not all knives have this, but if you’re serious about getting a good chef’s knife, you’ll make sure that yours does.
5) The bolster is the thick part where the handle meets the non-cutting edge of the blade. Pay attention to whether your knife has one—the good ones do—because this is what keeps you from slicing off your finger if the knife gets away from you when you’re cutting.
6) The handle is easy to overlook, but because it’s the part that your hand will have most contact with, it’s important that it feel right in your grip. Handles can be wooden, plastic, composite, or stainless steel.
7) The heel is the broadest part of the edge, and is used for the tasks that require strength, such as cutting through a thick rind.
What Knives Are Best for What Purpose?
Although the typical kitchen is likely to have knives for paring, carving knives to carve up meat, and steak knives for your celebratory filet mignon, the chef’s knife is going to do the brunt of the work when it comes to chopping up vegetables that go into a meal.
The chef’s knife chops celery and onions with ease, and is just as versatile for chopping nuts. In addition to the slicing and dicing tasks, the chef’s knife can disjoint your meats, julienne your carrot strips, cut up your chicken, and smash your garlic cloves. After just minimal shopping time, you’ll be referring to manufacturers like Wusthof and Messermeister with ease.
How Should My Knife be Stored?
Your knife can be stored in the tray in your silverware drawer, in a wall-mounted under-cabinet, or a countertop knife block, or in a magnetic knife strip on the wall for easy access. The important tip is that knives should never be kept loose in a drawer. This will dull the edge, and could also hurt the unwitting person who reaches into the drawer without looking first.
How Do I Sharpen My Kitchen Knife?
The recommended means for sharpening your knife is the old-fashioned, tried-and-true whetstone knife sharpener stone.
The sharpening process begins by soaking the stone in water for 10-20 minutes for lubrication. Then, you find the angle of the knife, which is 20-25 degrees for European-style knives, and 15 degrees for a Japanese chef knife.
Holding the knife firmly–starting at the tip of the knife and working toward the heel of the knife–slide the knife across the stone for about 6-12 strokes for each side. Begin on the coarse grit side of the stone, and finish on the fine grit side; this will give your knife the final polish.
Best Kitchen Knives Under 50 Dollars
Determining what the best knife that’s available for purchase is a bit tough, because that’s always somewhat of a personal choice. With that said, according to Amazon.com, we’ll provide you with five of the hottest selling chef’s knives on the market today.
–Non-stick Sushi Chef’s Knife, which sells for less than $10, is praised for its low price, sharp edge, and is lightweight.
–Curious Chef Three-Piece Nylon Knife Set is priced at under $15 and includes a small, medium, and large knife, and can be used by children ages five and older. The knives are better at cutting soft foods such as bananas rather than carrots or tomatoes, so they’re ideal for introducing children to cooking.
–J.A. Henckels International Classic 8-inch Stainless Steel Chef’s Knife moves up the price range to right about $50 (well, give or take a dollar), but it’s ideal for chopping, mincing, and slicing. A Henckels chef knife is a trusted tool in the kitchen, and while some may deem it a bit expensive given the price of its competition, this is one of those items where I think you’ll truly understand the phrase “you get what you pay for” once you get it inside your home.
–Victorinox Swiss Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife is less than $30 and has a high carbon, stainless steel blade that’s excellent for cutting, is rust-resistant, and has a non-slip handle. This Victorinox chef knife is dishwasher safe, slip resistant when in your hand, and was made in Switzerland.
–Farberware Resin 4-Piece Knife Set, priced at less than $15, includes an 8-inch chef’s knife, as well as a utility knife and a paring knife.
Another great chef knife, but one that is no doubt quite expensive (at close to $160) is the Shun Premier Chef’s Knife. This is an 8-inch knife, but also comes in the shorter six inch size. This is a knife you can use for multiple tasks, so whether you are cutting meat for a sandwich or massive dinner feast, or simply slicing up fruit for your children or grandkids, this Shun chef’s knife fits the bill quite nicely. It also comes with Demascus steel with a hand-hammered finish. This makes the nice not only efficient in the kitchen, but quite beautiful to look at when it’s just sitting on a marble countertop, or has the handle sticking out of a knife holder on your counter.
Why this Shun knife is dishwasher safe, we strongly recommend you hand wash and dry this knife.
Just please be safe when doing so.
Best Professional Chef Knife
Okay, so you’re a professional cook, be it your own business or someone else’s, and you want to know what is the best professional cooking knife you can buy, right?
Well, here’s the thing, knives are like many kinds of products that are highly subjective. Like a movie, ten people can see or use the same thing and come away with ten different opinions.
With that said, there are definitely a couple great knives out there for professionals. Here’s my list and why:
1) Global Chef Knife: Why this knife? Well, first off, it’s lightweight, but solid enough in the hand to feel meaningful. Made with molybdenum-vanadium stainless steel, this knife is 8 inches in length. This is a knife that Anthony Bourdain has recommended in his book “Kitchen Confidential,” and while everyone may not value his opinion, you can’t really deny that he’s an experienced chef who tells it like it is when it comes to cooking and the restaurant business. People do seem to feel that this knife can easily slip out of your hand if you get a bit of, say, grease or other substance on your hand. But truthfully, I think that’s the case with most knives, and so long as you keep your hands relatively dry, I think you’ll be fine. This is a good knife.
2) Wusthof Classic Chef Knife: So, here’s the deal. A lot of your enjoyment and satisfaction when it comes to buying a knife will ultimately come down to how you want to grip a knife. If you like having most of your fingers engulfed around the handle of the knife, and your thumb and index finger resting on opposite sides of the top of the blade, well, this Wusthof cook knife just might feel the most comfortable. As always, you’re going to want to try and return your knife to its factory edge once the blade gets a little dull. Be sure to check out some of our knife sharpening reviews, but I’ll say this, if you run this knife 12 or so times over a diamond or sharpening steel—flat, not honing. This Wusthof has a high-carbon, stainless steel blade, as well.
Will you ever really find the best knife in the entire world? No, probably not, that’s just not realistic. There’s no “best of” anything in the world. It’s all a matter of opinion. But I think, through observing the choices above, as well as the videos that have been provided, it should help you a little bit in making your knife buying decision.
You Might Also Enjoy Reading:
- Victorinox Fibrox Chef’s Knife review
- Kyocera Revolution review
- What Are the Best Cooking Knives?
- How to Find the Best Custom Made Knives?
- Zwilling J.A. Henckels Manual Sharpener review
Lastly, for more great kitchen knife reviews, be sure to return to Reliable Knife!
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