Having the proper tools will save you time in the kitchen; having the proper knife allows you to prep your meals with less time and energy.
A chef’s knife is your best partner in meal prep: the right match will make chopping, dicing, slicing, and mincing effortless.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing your knife
In the market, chef’s knives range from 6 to 14 inches in length. Most favour the 8-inch variety for its versatility. Chef’s knives of longer lengths can easily handle jobs with bigger volumes such as slicing through squashes and watermelons. The smaller, 6-inch variety gives you the agility of smaller knives, and does the job all the same, keeping in mind that you may need to work harder when handling larger foods.
You might prefer the heavier knives for its ability to cut through food with more power. You might prefer lighter weights for agility. Trust your own senses - only you can tell what works. The important part to consider is how much weight can you and your wrist handle comfortably to accomplish the task. A heavy knife may not be ideal if you have to work with it for long periods.
Gently grip the knife by its handle. Do you feel that the knife carries most of its weight on the blade or on the handle? If yes, then move on. An unbalanced knife can make your task harder in the kitchen. Extremely heavy knife handles will strain your wrists. Knives with heavier blades make for an unstable experience. Both cases make it difficult for you to control your knife.
Ideally, the handle must slightly outweigh your blade. Again, this depends on you - how does the knife feel in your hand?
Think you found a match? Put your new chef’s knife to test with these simple tasks:
- Slice carrots into matchstick slices
- Chop any leafy herb
- Dice an onion
For more precise control and a more comfortable hold, grip the blade with your thumb and index finger, and wrap your three fingers around the handle. When mincing or chopping foods with a chef’s knife, you do not necessarily need to lift your knife - just make a rocking motion with the tip of your knife staying close to the board.
Watch this simple guide on how to hold your knife from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.