A chef’s knife is a type of knife that never misses in most of the knife sets. It is so because a chef’s knife is versatile and multipurpose – used to chop, slice, dice, and cut most kitchen ingredients. The Chef’s knife features a blade of 8 to 12 inches. There are mainly three types of blade shape in western Chef’s knives, French and German. Its blade can be forged or stamped depending on the manufacturer.
Since the Chef’s knife is versatile and used often, it is a good idea to know how to use a chef’s knife. Once you learn how to use your Chef’s knife, this allows you to have uniform chops in the same fashion, which gives an excellent presentation on your dining table. Knowing how this works starts from holding the knife well. In this article, I bring you how to hold and use your Chef’s knife effectively.
What is a chef’s knife used for?
You can use the Chef’s knife for many activities in your kitchen because it is a multipurpose knife.
- First and foremost, you can use the Chef’s knife to carve your meats, and separating it from the bone. With a high-quality chef’s knife, you do not need to buy electric carvers.
- Secondly, the Chef’s knife can slice fruits and vegetables such as onions and tomatoes. More especially the large fruits and vegetables which the paring blade cannot manage. However, even with the smaller fruits or veggies, this knife cannot fail. To do the slicing, for example, the tomatoes, place them on the cutting board and first cut off the little behind parts. Then push your chef’s knife down and forward to do the slicing in a circular motion.
- Besides slicing, due to the heel and the weight presented by this knife, you can also use it with ease to chop your vegetables such as carrots, onions, greens, and through bone. Unlike slicing, you need to drift your fingers close to the knife’s bolster to have uniform cuts while chopping.
- Additionally, the Chef’s knife can mince kitchen ingredients such as mint, onions, and herbs into smaller pieces.
Wondering how to use your Chef’s knife? Here is the guide
The importance of learning how to use your Chef’s knife is to help you improve on your speed and technique while in the kitchen trying to bring that meal to the table. Poor knife skills such as improper knife handling, opposing hand position, and chopping motion can lead to cutting yourself. This can also bring cuts to your cutting board and delay to deliver food to your people.
Firstly, let’s learn how to hold your Chef’s knife: Improper griping of your knife increases fatigue as there is no proper balancing while you cut through your ingredient. The proper way is to grab your knife, let the fingers be curled below the bolster near the heel tending towards the tang. Then the thumb plus the index finger rests on the top side of the bolster. Feel that the knife is well balanced and comfortable in your hand before you start chopping or slicing. With practice, this kind of grip will become familiar to you.
Starting to cut
With the knife hand holding the Chef’s knife, the remaining work is for the non-knife hand or sometimes called the guiding hand. With your vegetables already on your cutting board, let the non-knife hand, hold them. However, be cautious as you move your knife hand around to protect the non-knife hand from any accidental cuts.
Let the fingers hold the vegetables or meat in a curled inward position. Rest the knife-edge on them, start slicing slowly in a circular motion from the tip to the bottom. Gently increase the speed gradually until when you master the grip and perfect at a higher rate. While chopping or slicing, make sure your cutting board does not slide off your countertop to pour away what you have cut.
Caring for your blade before and after use
To have your knife last longer after use, you need to take good care of it.
Cleaning: During cleaning, some knives are okay with dishwashing, but the aggressive pressures that come with using the dishwasher may be harmful to your chef’s knife. Always avoid dishwashing if possible. Instead, opt to do hand washing. Plus, hand washing your knife helps you clean the handle very well. After washing the knife, dry it well using a kitchen towel, and then it is ready for storage.
Sharpening and honing: After use, it would be good to hone and sharpen your knife following our guide. Keeping a dull blade may disturb you on your next kitchen duties.
Cutting board: When buying cutting boards, go for a material that will not dull your chef’s knives fast. Consider having softer cutting boards such as plastic, wood than going for glasses, which is hard.
Storage: After proper cleaning and sharpening, store your knife well. You can store in a drawer with protection from the knife guard or magnetic strips or blocks to protect the edges from losing their sharpness.
Due to its versatility and multipurpose nature, the Chef’s is a workhorse in the kitchen. Want to Dice, Slice, chop, peel, or smash? this is the knife you will be using the most for such tasks. Hence knowing how to use it properly is important. To properly learn how to use your kitchen chef’s knife, you need practice by doing all kinds of activities. These include chopping, slicing, mincing, and they require some different techniques which we hope we have covered in this brief write up.
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