I am constantly asked by my students what type of chef’s knife to buy, how to take care of them and how to sharpen. Stay tuned for my video series on knife skills but until then here are a few guidelines.
Buy a knife that feels good in your hand. There are a large variety of weights, lengths and prices for a good knife and I recommend you try to hold a number of them with different stats before you chose one that will be right for you. For beginners a smaller chef’s knife is best such as a six, seven or eight inch blade. I believe that many people are not used to knives in general and are especially intimidated by large knives. That said, it is much easier to chop with a larger blade such as a ten or twelve inch but this is purely a personal taste issue. The knife should have a nice weight to it but not be too heavy for you. A knife is something that you use constantly when preparing any meal so be sure it is the weight you are comfortable with. In a good kitchen ware store you can try different knives and ask the person to assist you in choosing a good fit.
As fas as which brand to buy this is a difficult question to answer as there are so many choices from a number of countries (including here in the US) that are superb. A general idea of what to look for is balance, weight, size and comfort. Japan, Germany, France and the U.S. all make terrific knives and the price for a good chef’s knife starts at about $95 and can go up to $300.
Hers is a photo of my three favorite knives, custom made for me in Japan with my name on them in Japanese, can’t get any better than that. They are worth about $550 altogether which is not necessary to spend on knives I just happen to really love them.
Always wash your knives by hand, dry and store after each use. I don’t recommend placing a knife in the dishwasher.
All you need is a chef’s knife, paring and bread knife and you are good to go and remember sharpness is the key.