Chefs know that having the best set of knives is essential for their careers in culinary. They are advised to consider knives as investments, no matter how long it takes to build a truly great set that can accompany them throughout their career. The options for chefs vary, ranging from affordable ones to types like survival knives from Japan.
Before making that purchase, make sure you have surveyed both economic and extravagant types to see which blades merit the considerable cost. This information will prove beneficial whether you’re a kitchen novice or a world-class chef.
Knowing What Chef Knife to Buy
Finding the best, sharp chef knife is crucial as it is an essential tool in the kitchen. Having a great knife can make life easier for all kitchen tasks, such as slicing, chopping, and mincing.
Experts state that the best chef knives are the higher-end ones, while mid-priced knives work better for home cooks. Also, they seem to be an extension of a chef’s hand, given the level of comfort it accords. On top of that, the best knives are supposed to be balanced and light. They shouldn’t tire a chef’s hand quickly.
Another thing to consider is that chef knives are not made of cheaper materials, like heavy-metal hidden tangs or plastics that quickly get damaged. Also, just because a knife is longer, it has better performance than shorter ones.
There are blades with more than 10 inches that are no longer ideal for those starting to train. Even a large chef’s knife can be tough to handle for seasoned chefs. Lastly, another way to go about it is by origin. The chef knives most worth buying are German-style and Japanese-style ones.
Best Chef Knives: German and Japanese
Considering that the best chef knives are German and Japanese, it is essential to note their differences. We detailed them below so that you can further narrow them down to one choice.
The similarities and differences between these two quality knives depend on five factors: steel type, shape, weight, angle, and thickness.
German Chef Knives
Typical of knives that are Western in style, German-style knives have curved shapes. They are perfect for that back-and-forth rhythm and action needed in chopping several ingredients.
German-style knives also have higher weights than other chef’s knives, in fact, it can weigh as much as 9.6 ounces. Since they’re made of softer steel and thicker blades, they are sturdier and better suited for very robust tasks in the kitchen, such as cutting through bones.
However, in spite of this advantage, German knives need frequent sharpening, as they’re more susceptible to dulling.
Japanese Chef Knives
As a stark contrast to German knives, Japanese-style ones are lightweight. They also have thinner blades, harder steel, and have a straighter shape.
If one needs to make clean slices and ensure precise work, the qualities above make Japanese knives the best choice. The smaller angle that it has also gives it a sharper edge.
Traditional Japanese knives have also evolved to be double-bevel, which means it has two angled slides. This is to accommodate the needs of the Western market, though there are still single-bevel ones that have one angled side leading to the edge combined with one more straight side.
Like the German-style chef knife, Japanese-style knives also have disadvantages. For one, maintaining the sharper edge for a more extended period is a challenge, considering its harder steel. It is also more prone to cracking and chipping.
Moreover, Japanese-style knives are found to be generally more expensive than German-made brands. Given the characteristics above, they are also not ideal for chopping hard ingredients in the kitchen.
Still, Japanese-style knives are top-notch because of the hard, brittle steel it comes with. The design really paves the way for slicing delicate things like fish. After all, cooking in Japan is more meticulous and particular.
Choosing the Right Chef Knife for Your Needs
Knowing the best types of knives for chefs has hopefully helped you make the right choice for your purchase. At the end of the day, it is essential to pick one that will really best suit your needs or the tasks you need to accomplish.
Another thing to consider, beyond the two choices, is comfort. The size and shape of your hand will help you determine this, too. Also, learning the different uses of knives can help in decision-making.
On another note, regardless of the type of knife you buy, it is vital to sharpen it regularly and store it properly to serve you well for a long time. Some may argue that the difference between these top choices is not too noticeable because they have adapted to the needs of their users. Some German knives now have a more acute angle, while some Japanese knives have new alloys that increase durability.