Standards You Should Look For In A Chef Knife

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Two things stand out in a good chef’s knife. One is the sharpness of the blade; second is the hardness of the metal – usually steel. The price factor also counts, but this is in knives meant for home and not personal use. Professional chefs don’t much think about the cost factor. The food business all over the world has grown exponentially and the cost of a chef’s knife hardly matters: the profits from the food industry are enormous. Also these knives are used to cut and chop and mince both vegetables and meat.

Steel’s The Best

Steel is typically the metal with which chef’s knives are made. It is the standard metal and is an alloy that comprises of iron, some 10% to 20% of chromium, some nickel and a little bit of carbon. These kinds of knives are generally made of 420 stainless – which is a high-chromium type of stainless steel.

High Carbon Steel

The best knives are made from high carbon steel. It is a top grade alloy that contains some carbon and is made in such a way that it represents the best of carbon and ordinary steel. Knife blades made from this steel don’t get discolored or stained. Also, their edges stay sharp for a long time. Most expensive brands of knives, the ones all professional chefs use, are fashioned from top grade alloys. Often they include some other metals like cobalt, vanadium and molybdenum, and other elements meant to increase their strength and cutting capability.

Good Handles

Wooden handles are considered the best for these knives. They make for a good grip to begin with; users find them very attractive. But the owner has to take special care of it for they have to be cleaned completely after use and sometimes moistened with a mineral oil. Also, most wooden handles are not water-resistance. They may crack or get warped after being exposed to water for long periods. Hand-washing them is the best way out. 

Japanese Knives Dominate

What’s the significant difference between the German knives that have been used and trusted for so many centuries and the Japanese chef knife that have now begun to dominate the scene?  Experts explain it in one word — everything!  They say, look at a German chef’s knife and a Japanese one – the Gyuto. Both appear to be similar but give them a closer look and you’ll notice the difference. The biggest difference is the thickness: A German chef’s knife would seem to be a sword compared to the Japanese saber!

What’s It’s Made Of

To begin with, Japanese knives are flat while the German ones have a curve in their belly. For the uninitiated, carbon steel is a mixture of carbon and iron. It may have other alloys included in its manufacture. Both Japanese and German knives are made from the metal-mixes. However, both types of knives are vulnerable to stains and rust. So a chef must ensure that the knife is properly dried, cleaned and lubricated after every time it is used.