How to Choose the Best Chef Knife for a Beginner Cook
If you’ve been around here long, you know that me + hard recipes and lots of time in the kitchen just isn’t me. In fact I avoid recipes that even require me to need a fancy chef knife. But I also realize I’m missing out by not having a good chef knife and not using one. I know they can make your life easier (and I’m all about easy in the kitchen!) I figured I’m not the only one that seems overwhelmed when deciding on what kind of chef knife to get, or them money you should spend – so here are some helpful tips:
Get a Knife that Fits You
A knife that feels great in one cook’s hand might feel unwieldy and awkward in another’s. It’s important to remember that one size does not fit all when it comes to knives. You need to find one that makes dicing, slicing, chopping, and mincing not only easy but comfortable. You should find a store that will let you pick up the knife and, if you’re lucky, try it out to be sure it’s the right fit. Once you’ve found that store, here are a few pro tips to help you with your selection.
It’s best to shop for a chef knife in person because it’s important to try it out before you purchase something you’re going to use pretty much every day.
What to Look For
Chef knives are made for professionals, so you can only fail if you choose to purchase a $5 knife sold on the streets. Before engaging in research, you should check more reviews here and see what the most popular products share.
You want a knife that looks (and, more importantly, feels) exactly the way you want it to. You’re likely going to be using this knife every day, remember. It needs to fit you like a glove. You need to take these things into consideration:
* Type of steel.
Some people prefer a smaller knife, while others go for longer ones. It’s important to see how the knife feels in your hand. It should be comfortable at all costs.
Bon Appetit recommends an 8-inch knife as the standard for most cooks, due to its having the best ratio of usable knife mass to cutting surface. You can, however, go for a larger knife if 8-inches feels too small and/or lightweight for you, or if you’re going to be cooking in small, tight spaces. When it comes to knives, bigger isn’t always better. Neither is smaller, as it’s down to a personal choice.
There are two basic types of chef knives:
Japanese style knives are lighter, with blades that are made of thin, extremely hard and sharp steel. But because they’re so hard, they can also tend to be brittle, which leaves them more open to chipping should you accidentally meet something hard, like a bone.
By contrast, Western-style knives are heavier and have thicker blades. This can feel more comfortable to some cooks. It also means that the knife can tolerate more wear-and-tear.
Type of Steel
Cooks that are knife-savvy will discuss at length the various types of steel used in knife blades, but there are essentially two kinds:
* Carbon steel.
* Stainless steel.
While carbon steel, at its best, is sharper than stainless steel and will retain its edge longer, it is also more work to maintain. You need to dry it and oil it after each use, much like a cast-iron pan, or it will to rust and get discolored.
Stainless steel, on the other hand, is easy to take care of and, in most cases, is good enough for everyday use. So, unless you’re ready to make the commitment to a carbon steel knife, stainless steel is the best choice for beginners. It also helps you create food art out of simple groceries.
You can judge the balance of the knife by gripping the handle in your palm. If it feels like it’s uncomfortably heavy either toward the back of the handle or the front of the blade, it’s not the right knife for you. Find one that feels even in your hand; an unbalanced knife will cause you to work harder and bring on fatigue faster.
You also need to look for side-to-side balance. If it feels unstable when you bring weight down on the knife, it’s not balanced properly. Move on to another knife.
What Ultimately Makes the Best Chef Knife: Brands
There are many different brands of knives, both Japanese and Western. It can become truly confusing, when you’re in the store, to even begin to know where to start. So, what do you do?
Remember, your chef knife is going to be the most-used such tool in your kitchen; you’ll likely turn to it every day for a multitude of tasks. It’s better to invest in a quality knife to start with, rather than trying to save a few dollars because you’re a “beginner.” In the long run, you will find that the initial expense of a quality knife will be worth it.
After reading this and you just want to know what specific knife to get? Chefs and users together agree that the best chef knife is the Zelite Infinity Alpha-Royal Series knife, which holds an 8-inch blade. This is a kitchen tool that can last a lifetime and well worth the investment for what it will do for you in the kitchen!
Want some easy recipes that would require the use of a good knife? Check these out: