A chef's knife, aka cook's knife is the kind of knife that most of us are using in everyday kitchen life for cutting, chopping, slicing etc. Most knives are made of Stainless steel as it has to work in wet enviroment . High Carbon Stainless Steel have the toughness and the ability to hold an edge and do not discolor.
The Blade is the most important part of the knife. This is forged from a single piece of steel, before being ground and polished.
Titanium blades are more flexible than steel, they work best for tasks such as boning and filleting and will holds its edge longer.
Plastic blades are used when you want to prevent vegetables and such from becoming discolored . Plastic blades are not very sharp, hence, they require some force when cutting.
Your choice for a good chef knife should be assessed by urability, balance and a comfortable grip for your hands. A good sharp knife is our basic and important kitchen tool.
Chef's knives blade length are avilable between 12 cm to 36 cm . A longer knife will cut better. A professional user will use a knife in the length of around 20 cm.
Kitchen knives divided to several types which are best suitable for special food or for cutting:-
Chef/cook knife is an all purpose knife. For domestic use, 21cm (8") blade length is highly recommended.
Bread knife is for cutting bread. The serrations on the blade makes it ideal for cutting bread but it will leave crumbs.
Carving knife is very popular for cutting meat chunks, larger fruits and vegetables. For domestic use, 18cm - 20 cm is recomended.
Utility knife with a plain edge is our little helper, especially for cutting fruit and vegetables, mincing onions and herbs as well as slicing cheese and trimming fat off meats. For domestic use, 14 cm (6") is recommended.
Cleaver is a rectangular knife that is in use for cutting meat. Cleaver, with heavy blade enable us to cut through bones. For domestic use, 15 cm is recommended.
Tourne Knife is a peeling knife with a pointed tip that curves downward, in used for decorative and tournיe cuts , slice soft fruits, or even peel a tomato skin. 3/5 - 4 cm blade length is highly recommended.
Cheese knife , designed especially for slicing soft cheese. It has holes in the blade to prevent the cheese from sticking. For domestic use, 15 cm is recommended.
Slicer knife , in use for slicing cooked meat. The blade is long with a round or pointed tip and it is flexible or rigid.
Cutting techniques for chef's knife:-
Hold your knife and grip it around its bolster. The bolster is both your knife's balance point and a finger guard. Only your last three fingers should rest on the handle. Your thumb and index finger should be on opposite sides of the blade. When you hold a knife around its balance point, it works as an extension of your hand. Hence your arm doesn't tire and you have excellent control.
Whether it's dices or slices, your other hand has to stabilizes the food you are cutting, guides the knife, and determines the size of your cut.
Make certain that your fingers are curled inward and your thumb is tucked underneath. The side of the blade should rest against your knuckles, but NEVER the edge itself. Remember to take it slowly at first. It is all about technique and practice.
The most common cutting techniques are chopping,dicing and mincing.
Dicing - all the square shaped cuts end up the same size. Trim and peel vegetables as needed. Then square the sides. Cut into slices of desired thickness. Stack the slices and cut these slices equal to the thickness of the previous cuts, ending up with stick shaped pieces. Holding the sticks together with your guiding hand, make crosswise cuts through the sticks.
Shredding - this technique means to cut into thin strips and usually applies to leafy vegetables such as cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters through the core. Cut out the core of each quarter. Place a cabbage quarter on the cutting board with the flat side down and cut thin shreds using the downward, forward slicing stroke. Due to the size of the cabbage, it is not always possible to keep the knife tip on the board. Be sure that the fingers of your guiding hand are curled, holding the cabbage with thumb tucked underneath and at a safe distance from the knife blade.
Mincing - slice or dice the ingredient into small pieces, then using the tip of the knife as a pivot, move only the lower blade in a chopping motion, from side to side across the ingredient until it is finely minced.
Chopping - Raise the entire knife off the table, and keeping the tip of the knife up, bring the heel of the blade down forcefully.
Knives can be cleaned in a dishwasher but there is a danger that the edge can become damaged by banging against other items in the basket. We would recommend that, to preserve your knives, you wash them with warm water and detergent, then rinse and dry with a towel.
Do not cut frozen chunks, its like cutting an iron.
Always keep your knife sharp. A good knife is a sharp knife. A dull knife can be dangerous because you will apply much more pressure than you would with a sharp knife and your hand will be much more likely to slip.
A sharpening stone will provide you with total control over sharpness. To test for the sharpness, the skin of a tomato is the best indicator.