professional chef knives

Professional Chef Knives: How to Find the Best for Your Kitchen

If you are considering purchasing professional chef knives, some background information can prove extremely helpful in making the right choice. What would qualify as a good choice for you? The right choice would consist of the answers to these questions: What exactly is going to be my use for this knife? Does it fit my hand comfortably? Is the knife blade too long? Is it durable, sharp, or heavy enough? How about the price tag; does it seem worth the cost?

When you look through catalogs for professional chef knives, you will most often find descriptions of features and parts of the blade, which sometimes can be little more than technical gibberish to most of us. To remove some of the mystery to these terms, here are a few helpful pointers.

A knife is essentially divided into 3 main parts:

Handle: They can be wood, plastic, laminated wood or steel. Wood is not very hygienic and, in many cases, requires more manual care than other materials. In professional chef knives, all types are marketed by brands. However, chefs prefer the laminated wood kind because they are more hygienic than wood and light, durable, and easy to handle. The steel handles are the most hygienic but tend to slip in wet hands and are heavier which unfortunately can affect the knife’s balance.

Cutting edge: The edge of the knife can be:

  • Flat ground (tapering down from the top of the knife)
  • Hollow ground (beveled at the cutting edge on both or one side – usually the right side, so if you’re left-handed you need to watch out for this.
  • Serrated (great for cutting through tough skin covering soft flesh without bruising.
  • Scalloped (usually found on meat cleavers and some Japanese Santoku knives; the depressions or scallops create air pockets between the flesh and edge of the blade facilitating easy separation of the cut pieces).

Blade: The flat, cutting surface of the knife is distinguished by the material it is made from. A forged blade is made of molten stainless steel and other alloys pounded when red hot, and shaped in a forge.

These are harder and, therefore, sharper and long-lasting. Stamped blades are cut directly from cold-rolled steel. Premium brands like Global market these, but professional chefs do not prefer stamped blades.

What brand of knives do professional chefs use?

Most Professional Chef Knives look for great knife brands with great reviews such as Wusthof, Shun, Henckels, Global, MAC, and Messermeister. These brands have been in operation for decades and have a great track record. The best knife makers are based in Germany and Japan.

What Knives does Gordon Ramsey use?

Chef Gordon Ramsey, a renowned chef, recommends a number of knife sets in his cooking masterclasses. He recommends a flexible chopping knife, a paring knife, a serrated bread knife, a boning knife,  and a honing steel. Mostly he uses Henkles brand knives in his cooking classes.

How much do Professional Chef Knives cost?

The cost of professional kitchen knives can differ significantly depending on various factors including handle quality, type of steel used, how the knife was made or production method, steel quality and the brand. Blade forged by expert forgers in Japan or Germany can be costly. When buying a knife, consider the quality of the knife since a poor quality knife will not last for a long time. If low on budget, buy a multi-purpose knife that can peel, chop, smash, dice, and handle multiple tasks.

Are expensive chef knives worth it?

Choosing the right knife for your kitchen is not an easy task. There are many brands claiming that their brand is the best. Considering all blades are usually sharp when new, are expensive knives worth the money. Costly knives are made of the highest quality of steel by a master forger. Knife sharpness is what matters at the end of the day. You will select a sharp knife over a dull one. The price won’t matter. For a knife to work correctly, you will need to sharpen it when needed.

Is there a knife that never needs sharpening?

Most knives will require sharpening regularly, depending on the intensity of use. However, there are knives in the market today that have been advertised as not needing sharpening. Any knife with regular use will became dull. Makers of ceramic knives claim that the knife is made of hard, chemically-inert, wear-resistant material capable of maintaining sharpness for life.

How often do you sharpen a knife?

Stainless knives typically need sharpening after 2-4 uses with a honing steel. You can hone them after more uses depending on what you are cutting. On the other hand, carbon steel knives require honing after every use.

A term you’ll often encounter when looking for professional chef knives, and one that knife manufacturers love to flaunt is “Rockwell grade.” Don’t be alarmed by this technical-sounding term. It’s just a measure of surface hardness, and all you need to know is that a good knife will have a grade between RC50 to RC63. The hardness of the material ensures that the knife stays sharper longer, but sharpening hard knives will be a bit more difficult. The laminated blades of Japanese knives combine the hardness of stainless steel with softness of high carbon steel and have extremely sharp cutting edges.

When choosing amongst professional chef knives, consider the size of your hands. If you have small hands, then a 5-8″ blade length is ideal. Japanese Santoku knives are all-purpose knives that have short blades. The French or German knives have blades that are longer than 8″.

Keep in mind that buying a knife set is cheaper than purchasing individual knives. Look into the specified use of the knives or you may end up not using it or misusing it. While you’re at it, invest in a good knife sharpening tool like a whetstone or an electric knife sharpener, and you will be all set to enjoy cooking the professional way with high-quality knives from CapitalKnife. Related: