We examined the sharpness and edge sturdiness of eight 18-21cm chef’s knives, then gave them to our consultants within the take a look at lab kitchen for hands-on evaluation.
With their lengthy, curved blades and distinguished factors, chef’s knives are versatile instruments that can be utilized for varied kitchen duties, together with jointing and slicing meat, dicing greens, and chopping herbs and nuts. What they’re not good for is precision work comparable to peeling, slicing, and deseeding small fruit and greens. (See Sorts of knives for data on different frequent knives.)
What to search for in a chef’s knife
You’ll typically see celeb cooks utilizing a rocking movement when chopping herbs. They couldn’t do that if the blade weren’t sloped. So search for a protracted, beneficiant curve that may allow you to roll the knife all the best way from hilt to tip and again.
Typically, the deal with and blade of a chef’s knife are equally weighted, placing the centre of gravity the place the 2 meet. If the blade is just too heavy, you may not have a lot management when making small, intricate actions. If the blade is just too mild, you would possibly really feel unsafe when attempting to cut by bone, robust cuts of meat or laborious greens.
This comes all the way down to choice, the dimensions of your hand, and whether or not you’re left- or right-handed. If you happen to’re going to be utilizing a knife for even a couple of minutes at a time, you’ll desire a relaxed grip, so search for a non-slip deal with. If in case you have small arms, go for a thinner deal with. Strive the knife out within the retailer to verify it feels snug.
The tang, or shank, is the steel bit that extends from the blade into the deal with. A full-tang knife may have been solid from a single piece of steel (see How knives are made). If you happen to choose the texture of a picket or plastic grip, search for a protracted tang that runs all through the deal with – that may join the deal with and blade extra securely and fairly seemingly present higher steadiness.
How knives are made
Blades are both solid or stamped.
Solid knives are constituted of a single piece of metal that’s been heated, moulded, hardened, tempered, after which floor to a leading edge. They typically have a heavier blade, which is sweet for slicing harder meals. However they’re additionally typically the most costly. Few fashionable knives are really solid, however the warmth remedy that every one good knives undergo in the direction of the tip of their manufacturing signifies that forging makes no sensible distinction.
Stamped knives are machine-stamped out of a bit of metal, then floor, polished, and honed. One-piece seamless knives are additionally stamped, however the blade and deal with are all steel, in a single piece. Stamped knives are sometimes lighter than solid knives.
We’ve targeted on Western-style chef’s knives – their broad, curved blades swimsuit a variety of slicing methods and may usually face up to a good quantity of abuse – however you would possibly choose a Japanese-style mannequin. They’ve a straighter edge and are good for fast slicing. In addition they are usually thinner and lighter, in addition to extra delicate.
Then there’s the matter of the metal. Japanese knives are sometimes constituted of more durable metal. This permits for a really sharp, skinny edge. The draw back is that skinny edges chip extra simply (see Sharpening and steeling). As a result of Western-style knives are usually constituted of softer metal, they’re much less prone to chip however they gained’t keep sharp as lengthy.