A chef knife, also commonly called a cook’s knife, is a multipurpose kitchen knife that can chop vegetables, meats, and fish. The name itself indicates its intended use. It is the most essential and most universal of all knives, and it’s usually the largest actual knife in any given collection. These knives come in various sizes and shapes, depending on the culture region where they come from.
The following guide will help you better understand chef knives by looking at their parts, parts names, and how they are used in the kitchen when adequately sharpened.
The handle of a chef knife is usually made from wood or plastic, and the blade is made from soft carbon steel. There are different types of handles – Western, Eastern European, French or German style, etc. The type of handle that should be used depends on the grip that fits the user best. The handle has to fit your hand comfortably, and it has to feel right. For example, a Western-style knife has a square-shaped end and is used by holding it in an icepick grip.
On the other hand, a French chef knife has a round end, and the user holds it in an overhand grip when cutting. Eastern Europe handle types usually have rounded ends and are held with both hands. The knife itself is generally heavier than a Japanese chef knife.
A full tang is the best choice for a good chef’s knife, meaning that the metal from which the blade is made continues all the way through and forms the end of the handle as well. This provides strength to the entire construction. However, if you want quality without spending too much money, you can also purchase a knife with a half-tang handle.
As the name states, this blade only has the metal connected to the top of the handle. The most significant advantage is that it usually costs less for this type of construction, making it very popular among people looking for chef knives on a budget. Heads up, though, the half-tang is not as strong and sturdy but still gets the job done.
The cutting edge
The cutting edge is one of two parts that make up the blade of a chef knife. When it comes to sharpness, the general rule is – all other things being equal – the finer, thinner, and smaller toothier (meaning with an edge made up of minor points), the cutting edge, the finer, and more delicate will be what it is used to cut. On the other hand, a thicker blade with larger teeth can handle more complex objects and materials.
The heel is usually left blunt for safety reasons. The heel can also have a “choil” which terminates the ground edge to form a straight, unsharpened section that can be gripped to allow more precise sharpening near the heel.
The spine is the dull back of the blade. Sometimes there are markings for measurements on this part of the blade. (https://www.originalknives.no) The area between the heel and gradually curves downwards towards the tip is called “belly.” It allows for certain rocking chopping motions.
The tip or point
The tip or point of the chef knife may vary in shape, depending on its intended use. A pointed tip is suitable for small precision cuts, while a “spear” tip provides better leverage when cutting hard materials like winter squash.(https://www.originalknives.no/suncraft/) The following are other common shapes – drop points, clip points, and sheep’s footpoints. (https://www.originalknives.no/slipesteiner/)
Now that you’ve read this, hopefully, you have a good understanding of chef knives and their various parts. For more information on the different kitchen knives available, please visit our Guide to Kitchen Knives.