Large Chef's Knife
Now, let's talk about the King of the kitchen tools — Universal Large Chef's Knife (also known as French Knife)
For a skilled cook the Chef's knife is not just a matter of steel thing for cutting food. The knife is the Friend and Assistant, is a pride and envy of other lovers of creativity in the kitchen.
In skilled and gentle hands of a true cooking-lover (in the sense of loving the kitchen stuff) this knife can do everything: skin a cucumber or chop it by straw, with a hair thickness (if you respect the concepts of the Korean salads).
The Chef's knives differ by the blade shapes. There are basic types: European and Asian (does not necessarily mean the country of manufacture). Among the Asian knives, we know most Japanese Chef's Knife brand.
European knife is also well known. It has a wedge-shaped blade, wide near the handle and evenly narrowing to the tip. The balance point is closer to the handle, according to Europe cutting technique: sliding movement with the knife's tip permanently pinned to the cutting board. Incidentally, in the therapeutic Chinese cuisine this cutting technique is the only acceptable because it would preserve the natural energy of the product.
Japanese chef's knife (again, as a type, but not necessarily as "Made in Japan") has equally wide blade, breaking into a sharp tip with a steep bend from the blunt side to the cutting edge. This one is optimal for the lovers of chopping-cutting technique (for example, used for vegetables) – the balance point of the Japanese knife is shifted closer to the tip, which reduces the load when chopping. The Japanese successfully produce and use both types of the knife — European and Japanese.
After all, cutting technique is a matter of personal preference for each cook
Often, the "Japanese" knives have peculiar hollows, or even through holes along the tip. This scheme prevents adhesion of the food slices to the knife's blade while cutting. It is, in fact, useful for cutting raw potatoes.
How to choose the Chef's Knife?
Guided (as we settled before) by purely utilitarian approach, the main criteria for us will be comfort and quality.
We wrathfully sweep aside iron-type products with dangled wooden handles that are sold in all kind of markets or shops like "Everything for garden and cottage" ;-).
You'd better go to the store, which specializes in cooking supplies in a price category that you are comfortable with. Take the candidate knife that took your fancy and examine it carefully. Turn the handle to your face, cutting edge up, and keep on the eye-level. If along the tip you see a solid mat lane without any glow, this means that this is good quality blade without distortion and chipping.
Try as the knife rests in your palm
It is important to match the length of the knife’s handle and the size of your own palms, otherwise the knife will be simply uncomfortable. Please pay attention to the handle. If the handle is covered with plastic or other material, make sure that there are no the slightest gaps between the surface and the steel. The reason is simple – the slits will be quickly filled with mud, and you will never be able to completely remove it. Personally, I prefer the whole knife, where the handle is not covered at all. As a surgical instrument. No dirt.
Note the thickness of the unused (not sharpened, top) edge of the knife
Its thickness should not be too large, otherwise it would be embarrassing to work. The thinner the better.
The type of the steel (steel firm, "Damascus", etc.) and the method of manufacture (forged, cast), in principal, matters only for cook-professionals. For all that, the load of a professional cook and amateur cook somewhat different, and therefore the quality of tool for the "pro" must be much higher.
Our demands in an amateur league is not that high. The manufacturers worth attention are: Japan, Germany, Spain. Many might call me a heretic, but for the amateur kitchen, I would have recommended also England brands.
That's all about the knives. The following essay will tell about the rest of the kitchen equipment, such as:
pots, pans, sieves and other funny kitchen cookware
'Large Chef's Knife' on video
Contents of Large Chef's Knife: