One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “What should I look for when buying a knife?” That’s a loaded question; let me offer a few tips. First of all, most good knives are made of high-carbon stainless steel. There are other metals used less frequently, but they are not as strong, and often rust. The different parts of a knife include the handle, rivets, (not always used in more modern, one piece knives), the bolster (where the blade meets the handle), heel, spine, cutting edge, and tip. The most widely used knife in professional kitchens today is a Chef’s Knife. It’s between 8” and 10” inches long, and can be used for just about any type of cutting, chopping, or slicing.
When shopping for a knife, try to find a store with many different brands so you have a wide variety to examine. Ask you store clerk to remove the knives you are interested in so you can hold them in your hand. Never purchase a knife without holding it first. Notice how the knife feels; is it balanced and comfortable? Is the blade curved enough so that you can rock it on a cutting surface? Is the handle textured so that it will remain stable in your hand? All of these things should be taken into consideration when getting ready to make your purchase. A few good brands to consider are: Shun, Henckel, Al Mar, Global, Victorinox, Wusthof, and Cutco.
Just because a knife is expensive doesn’t mean it’s good. Remember, most knives are made of the same type of steel. When buying a knife be sure to pick up a Steel to maintain the edge, and a sharpening stone. Take care of your knives by keeping them clean, sharp, and dry and they should last a lifetime.
Chef Chuck Kerber