What Is A Chef’s Knife Used For In The Kitchen?

What Is A Chef’s Knife Used For In The Kitchen?

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A good knife is every cook’s reliable tool.

It helps in preparing food ingredients through cutting, slicing, mincing and more.

One of the most popular and reliable types of knife in the world are chef’s knives. Originally, a chef’s knife is designed to cut and disjoint large cuts of beef.

I recently wrote a post about the different types of Japanese kitchen knives and when researching that topic, I found out that they have a very similar knife to the traditional Western chefs knife called the gyuto knife.

In fact, I will be writing an article about gyuto vs chef knife very soon so keep your eyes peeled!

Today, they’re primarily designed to be a general utility knife for most western cooks and households.

A modern chef’s knife is used to perform different kitchen tasks such as:

  • Mincing
  • Slicing
  • Disjointing large cuts
  • Chopping and more

They’re multi-purpose, rather than excelling in just one particular task.

Length of Chef’s Knives

The blades of chef’s knives generally have 8 inches by 1 ½ inches. Individual models may range from 6 to 14 inches in length.

Types of Blades of a Chef’s Knife

The blades of a chef’s knife are commonly differentiated to the German style and French style. Neither one is superior to the other; the choice will be based on personal preference.

Essentially, German profiles have more of an arc throughout the entire length of the blade, and French blades are generally flatter and can be summed up as:

French Style Blade

A French style blade has an edge that is straighter until the edge and curves up to the top.

German Style Blade

The German style blade is more continuously curved along the edge.

What You Can do With a Chef’s Knife

The most important knife you could have in your kitchen is the classic chef’s knife.

Choosing a good chef’s knife is a good investment for your home. It can be used for most cutting chores and you will find yourself using it for most tasks.

I use mine probably more than I should do, but the point is; it is the go to blade of both amateur and pro chefs.

The blade of a chef’s knife is widely triangular and tapers to a center tip. This center tip makes the blade gently sloped until the both sides of the knife meet at a pointy tip.

The shape of the blade allows for rocking back and forth on the tip or fulcrum when chopping, mincing and dicing. If you watch many professionals using their knives, you will see a style of cutting they do, whereby they are rocking and slicing. This gives you a very high amount of control and will help you to maintain uniformity.

This blade structure makes it also a perfect knife for cutting meat, poultry, fish and vegetables.

How to Choose a Good Chef’s Knife

When choosing a chef’s knife, 8 inches to 10 inches in length is recommended. This length may feel slightly longer than the usual chef’s knife people comfortably use at first.

Why Choose A Longer Knife Than Usual?

Well basically, the longer edge a knife has; the more versatile and efficient it is.

As the old saying goes:

It is better to have something & not need it, than to need something & not have it…

The more blade it has, the more purpose the knife can do and the bigger the blade to slice throughout the food, the safer it is.

Which Type of Metal for Chef Knives Is Best?

Stainless

Stainless steels don’t rust so it takes less effort to maintain them. The disadvantage of stainless steel is it’s not that much sharper compared to other types of blade.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is very tough and has a great edge. It disadvantage, however, is it tends to easily discolor when used for cutting tomatoes, citrus fruits and any other acidic food.

If they are not used for a long time, they tend to rust. Extra care should be given to carbon steel blades to avoid any discoloration. Make sure that they are clean and dry after every use.

Titanium

Titanium is more flexible compared to other types of blade so it a better choice for filleting and boning. It is much lighter than steel and more resistant to wear.

High carbon stainless steel

This might be the best kind of blade. It is a combination of carbon and stainless steel. It is tough and doesn’t discolor.

The carbon adds strength to the stainless steel but it also costs more. But remember, a good knife is a good investment. So you might consider buying a chef’s knife with this kind of blade.

What are Chef’s Knives Not Used for?

Even though chef’s knives do almost every cutting task in the kitchen, they should not be used for some other cutting purposes such as the following:

  • Carving or butchering chicken
  • Removing the skin of large vegetables such as squash
  • Puncturing a hole in cans – (seriously, I have seen people do this before :/)

The blade of a chef’s knife is broad and not suitable to use for cutting tasks that a small knife can do.

Summary

A knife is one of the most important tools you should have in your kitchen to make your cutting chores convenient, easy and safe.

Investing in a good knife will save you a lot of money in the long run. One of the best knives in the world is the chef’s knife. It was originally made to cut and disjoint large pieces of meat.

Today, it is used for almost every cutting task in the kitchen in most western houses.

Chef’s knives are usually 8 by 1 1/5 inches in diameter with a blade designed for every cutting task. It is recommended to choose a chef’s knife with 6 to 14 inches in length.

There are many types of blades that a chef’s knife is made of – namely,the stainless steel, high carbon stainless steel, titanium and carbon steel.

Among these types of blades, the high carbon stainless steel is the best choice because of its durability, toughness and it doesn’t discolor.

Stainless steel blades are tough but are not quite sharp, while carbon steel have great edge but they are easily discolored when they come in touch with any acidic ingredients.

A chef’s knife may be said to be the “king of the kitchen” but there are some cutting tasks that should not be done using a chef’s knife, specifically butchering or carving poultry, removing the skin of large vegetables and cutting a hole or tin of the can.

The blade of the chef’s knife is not suitable for these kinds of cutting.

Caring for a chef’s knife depends on the type of blade. Stainless steel requires less caring for than carbon blades.

To maintain the sharpness of the blade, it is recommended to clean or wash the knife right after every use and dry it out to keep away the residues that may cause rust.