Shopping for a chef’s knife is no easy task, and this is true whether you’re an experienced and seasoned professional or a beginner home cook.
This is because of the sheer amount of options available and all the characteristics and factors one has to consider when buying.
But we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’re showing you how to choose a chef knife with a couple of tried, tested, and proven tips!
Read on to learn more.
1. Find The Right Store
There’s nothing wrong with buying a knife online.
It’s convenient, and it gives you options that are probably more varied than what you’d find at a knife store.
That being said, it still might be better for you to find a local cutlery or cookware store that offers a wide and varied selection for you to choose from.
This is because shopping at a physical store gives you the opportunity to actually hold and feel the products in your hand before buying, which can give you a more accurate opinion.
On top of that, you can also consult salespeople at the store who can actually help you find the right size, weight, and materials for your needs in the kitchen.
2. Learn The Anatomy Of A Chef Knife
“This is a very important step in choosing a chef knife” – said Andy Wang, a professional chef and owner of Knives-Sensei.com, and it should actually be done before you even head to the store.
Knowing where the bolster, handle, tang, edge, spine, and heel of a knife is can really help you in examining the product.
The first thing you’d want to inspect is the blade, which has four parts, the spine, edge, bolster, and heel.
The spine is the top end of the blade, which is the part that your gripping hand comes in contact with, so it’s important that it’s smooth to avoid irritating or hurting your gripping hand.
The edge is the sharp end of the blade and should be sharp right out of the box, you can test this by trying to slice through paper.
The bolster is the thick part of the knife where the blade and handle meet, this part is usually where you grip the blade and has to be thick and sturdy to allow you to have a balanced and steady grip on your chef knife.
Lastly, the heel is the thickest part of the edge, which doesn’t exist on Japanese-style chef knives but is present on Western-style ones.
It’s important that this part is much heavier and thicker than the rest of the edge to allow you to cut and slice through heavy ingredients.
Once you’ve inspected the blade and it meets your standards, you would then have to check the handle.
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to the material, shape, and weight of their knife handle, which is why it’s very important to test a chef knife before buying it.
And we’ll talk about exactly that in our next tip.
3. Test The Knife
This is one of the most important steps in your journey for finding the right chef knife for you.
This is because every cook and chef has different preferences and needs when it comes to kitchen tools, and the only way to determine if it’s the right knife for you is to hold it and try it out yourself.
Once you find a model that grabs your attention, it would be best to grip the handle as you would if you were slicing in the kitchen.
Assess how it feels in your hand, if your fingers fit right, and if you can go through the slicing and cutting motion with ease.
And if you can, try cutting and slicing some ingredients to really get a feel of the blade and if it would suit your needs in the kitchen.
It would be best if you could try mincing, slicing, dicing, and carving a variety of ingredients if they’re available to you.
4. Know Your Materials
Another thing that you need to consider is the materials used in making the knife.
Obviously, you would first want to look at the steel that makes up the blade.
Most chefs and knife enthusiasts out there would say that high-carbon stainless steel would be the best material for blades as it is hard enough to retain its edge for a very long time, but not too hard that it will make the blade brittle.
On top of that, since it’s stainless steel, it will be resistant to corrosion.
There are lots of different varieties of high-carbon steel, but arguably some of the best ones out there in the market today would be AUS-8, AUS-10, VG-MAX, 4116 Krupp, and 1055, so make sure to keep an eye out for these materials.
Next, check out the handle.
You would want one made out of a synthetic materials such as PP, santroprene, or PakkaWood as these materials can be made into ergonomic shapes while also being very durable.
Wooden handles are a good option too, but make sure that it is made out of good wood that is treated properly, else you might risk water damage or having the handle rot.
With that, our quick and comprehensive guide to buying a chef knife comes to an end.
Of course, there may be some other factors you’d need to consider when shopping, but we made sure to tackle the most important ones in this article.
And now that you’re armed with all this information, you are more than ready to head out and buy yourself just the right chef knife for you!