Professional chefs and cooking aficionados can often make do with substandard cooking conditions and equipment, but not in the case of their knives. It has been said that a chef’s knives are the extension of their hands, and no decent chef will ever prepare, cook or present a dish that will mar the reputation of their skills. Many chefs actually bring their own knives with them wherever they cook for these reasons.
Many chefs are known to have an impressive arsenal of kitchen knives, some even with their own signature knives designed by them. However, those that do not will still have their own choice selections, and although they may vary in some ways or another, they will always focus on having the basics. So how do chefs go about choosing which knife to add to their toolkit?
What Do Chefs Consider in Choosing a Knife?
Chefs will have their own tastes when it comes to choosing a knife, but all of them will have some kind of standards and will look at basically the same elements when making their choice.
For one, professional chefs will always go for well-made knives. This is their first criteria, and probably the most important. After all, if you want a great knife that will serve its purpose for the longest possible time, start by picking a quality knife. Most quality knives are those manufactured in Germany or Japan, although there are also many manufacturers from other countries who make great knives.
Some chefs will also focus on the grip. Chefs will look for a knife that feels comfortable in their hands and allows them to work for hours without feeling uncomfortable. The grip is also important for safety reasons – the better you hold the knife, the lesser chances of it slipping and cutting your fingers.
Most chefs will also choose full-tang knives, meaning the blade goes all the way to the end of the handle. This is actually one criterion of a good knife – that is, it is made from one solid piece of metal. The metal should also be solidly attached to the handle and shows no potential for separating.
One question that is normally asked of chefs is whether they prefer knives made of iron or stainless steel, and the answers usually vary. However, all chefs are in agreement that iron knives are sharper than stainless steel knives, and will remain sharp longer. In as much, they also agree that stainless steel knives require less maintenance which makes them more convenient. Top of the line stainless steel knives can be just as sharp as iron knives provided that they are well-cared for.
How Chefs Take Care of Knives
Being one of their most important tools, chefs will always make it a point to take care of their knives as best as they possibly can. How do they go about it?
The first step is making sure that their knives don’t get damaged in the first place. You would never see a chef cut and slice food on a granite or steel countertop.
After every use, chefs will also meticulously clean their knives and dry them with a towel. They may spend time sharpening their knives before putting them in the knife block or knife sheaths. When it comes to sharpening their knives, most chefs will prefer a sharpening stone over other alternatives, and such a stone is always part of their knife kit.
Knives are indeed important tools of the trade for any chef. Like any other tradesmen, chefs will religiously care for their knives as much as they can – which is one lesson that any aspiring cook should always bear in mind.