“WHAT IS THE BEST CHEF KNIFE FOR ME?”
A Guide for A Chef Knife Virgin
The beginning of your cooking experience starts with selecting a quality chef knife. Having a good chef knife gives you the flexibility to perform all different types of kitchen tasks and can cover most of your cutting needs.
With that said, the big question is, “What is the best chef knife for me?”
The answer is “There is no one best chef knife!” Currently, there are several top-quality chef knives out on the market that have different characteristics to fit each individual chef. In order to buy the perfect chef knife for you, you need to understand the different features of chef knives and be aware of your preferences.
Then, the next question will be, “How can I learn about the characteristics of a good chef knife? Should I do research on all those chef knives?”
Absolutely not! It will cost you too much time and effort to simply pick one chef knife. Instead, I can assist you in narrowing down your choices to the four top-rated, best-selling chef knives on the market. These chef knives listed below satisfy the two most important qualities of a good chef knife, a sharp, strong blade and a reasonable price.
The four best chef knives fall into two categories: Traditional European Chef Knives and Modern Japanese Chef Knives.
First, let’s talk about traditional European Chef Knives. European Chef Knives come in two types: German and French. Even though German and French Chef Knives look slightly different (ie., the German Chef Knife has a broad blade, and the French Chef Knife has a straight blade), they share common features, such as a forged design, full-tang, and bolster.
The forged knife is known for its extra strong and sharp blade due to its special heating process. This type of knife tends to have full-tang, which means that the blade extends into the handle as one single piece. One of the advantages is the blade part hardly ever separates from the handle, even after long-term use.
Their heavy bolster, (the collar of metal between the blade and the handle), adds weight to the knife, counterbalancing the weight of the blade. These features of traditional European chef knives make the knives slightly heavy. Some cooks prefer to use these heavier chef knives, claiming that the knife weight makes the chef knife work more than their hands work in chopping.
So, if you are a traditionalist looking for a more classic chef knife, the traditional German and French chef knives would be perfect for you.
Unlike traditional European chef knives, Japanese chef knives have a different manufacturing process and have their own unique features, including extremely sharp edges and a light-weight design. Japanese Chef Knives tend to have a very simple bolster or no bolster and no full-tang.
Also, their manufacturing process distinguishes them from the European forging process. These features create a very light chef knife. Lots of professional chefs and cooks prefer to use these light-weighted knives preventing hand fatigue from long hours of cooking. The Japanese chef knives are well-known for their razor-like, thin edge, around 16 degrees on each side. This is much more angled than the European edge with approximately 20-22 degrees on each side.
If you have outgrown your traditional chef knife and want to try something different and modern, you should look to the two best Japanese cutlery brands on the market, Shun and Global Knives. Shun Knives combine the best features of traditional European and Japanese chef knives, while Global Knives presents a more traditional cutlery with the stunning looks and features of a more modern knife.
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