Splurge on Your Chef’s Knife
By Payton [Kitchen & Cuisine]
“…THEY ONLY NEED ONE. WHY? BECA– — USE THEY HAVE TO BUY KNIVES THAT STAND UP TO THE DEMANDS OF AN INDUSTRIAL KITCHEN, AND THEY GET WHAT THEY PAY FOR.”
Ask any professional chef what their most important tool is, and you will almost always hear the same thing: their knife. Chances are good the word “indispensible” will come up in the same sentence. Chefs tend to wax a bit poetic about their knives. They like to say it is an extension of their own hand. Or that their relationship with their knife is like a violinist’s with her violin. In other words, a chef’s knife is his defining instrument.
Yet this tool is largely forgotten by home cooks. While $400 blenders and stand mixers fly off the shelves, most people are still reaching for the $25 knives. This can seem like a sound financial choice. After all, how much of a difference could there possibly be between that knife and the $200 one? It turns out the answer is, a lot.
“These knives can be sharpened to a finer edge and retain it longer than their low-quality counterparts.”
The best way to prove it is by comparing the knife collections of chefs and home cooks. Most non-professionals have a whole kitchen drawer (or two) dedicated to the various knives they have accumulated over the years. The total number can be dozens or more: each of a different size, shape, color, age, and material.
A professional chef will usually have about four knives total, and three of them are for special uses. The filet knife, cleaver, and paring knife are important for specific kitchen jobs but not much else. They are the pasta rollers of the knife world. The chef’s knife, however, is the everyday tool of the trade. And even though chefs use it all day, for all kinds of kitchen tasks, they only need one. Why? Because they have to buy knives that stand up to the demands of an industrial kitchen, and they get what they pay for.
“A good chef’s knife is designed to perform under pressure.”
A good chef’s knife is designed to perform under pressure. It has ergonomic and sturdy construction as well as durable, high-quality materials. These knives can be sharpened to a finer edge and retain it longer than their low-quality counterparts. Superior knives do come at a price – some several hundred dollars – but the benefits are no comparison.
A well cared-for premium knife can last a lifetime, and be an absolute joy to work with the whole way. A cheap knife will be uncomfortable in your hand, have mediocre results, and dull quickly. You will be buying a new one again in no time at all (your knife drawer is a testament to this fact). In the end, buying a $30 knife every year or so is not as economical as home cooks seem to think.
“Ergonomic and sturdy construction as well as durable, high-quality materials.”
Instead of going the “bargain” route yet again, make your next knife a keeper. There are many sizes and styles of chef’s knives, so do some research first to find out what would work best in your kitchen. If you are going to make an investment, it should be for something you love. Get the best knife you can afford, treat it well, and you will never regret the purchase. Take a hint from the professionals: if you can splurge on anything in the kitchen, make it your chef’s knife. VIGOROUS
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