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My Food Blog

Why you should own a Chef's Knife

Posted by Ireno Alcala on June 12, 2011 at 12:11 AM

Whoever designed and patented the Chef’s knife or the French knife became very rich. Why? Because it’s the most used utensil in the kitchen. The shape, the length, the blade…what more can I say. From cutting meat, making vegetable salad, designing garnishing or paring the core of an apple, it can function the specialties of other knives. You can even peel potatoes without looking for a potato peeler. From the handle to the tip, the flexibility of this knife is beyond compare. No doubt it’s the most sought after by kitchen personnel, from the chef to the mess man.

Let me refresh my mind about kinds of knives, from largest to smallest or vice versa. As an apprentice onboard ship in 2001, I’ve been cut, bruised and victimized by these knives accidentally while peeling vegetables, like potatoes; cutting pork or beef bones, even lamb carcass. So, how can I forget this set of dangerous tool in the kitchen?

Kinds of Knife

Bread knife - as the name indicates is used mainly on breads and cakes, cutting or slicing.

Cleaver knife - used to cut bony parts of meat. Chinese cleaver knife is the multi-purpose knife in Asia, especially in China but it‘s slimmer than the carbon-steel versions that are used to cut hard bones of cow’s meat or even lamb carcass onboard ship.

French or chef’s knife - This is the chef’s choice. Not too large, not too small. It can perform any task in the galley.

Boning knife - is used to de-bone meats.

Fork knife - My Greek cook used to puncture or prick the meat to let its juice out when baking.

Salad or table knife - as its name indicate is used when eating salads or cutting meat and other dishes into small parts. It is a part of prepared utensils in table setting.

Steak knife - is an optional knife to the dining table. I will change the setting of table knives into steak knives whenever I prepare beef steak as a meal.

Paring knife - is usually used when peeling fruits and vegetables. I became accustomed of this when peeling potatoes or apples.

Did I miss something? Well, help me out if I've forgotten something.


How To Use Knives

Kitchen knives can be fatal when used dangerously. To use it, you must know first the uses of it in the kitchen or galley. You will never make errors or commit accidents if you know how to use it properly. Let me just focus on chef’s knife.

  • Grasp the knife’s handle by putting your thumb at the front of the handle encircled by your forefinger and middle finger. The ring finger and the pinky will act as support encircled near the rear of the handle. It’s just like grasping a baseball. The first three fingers have the most leverage or force. It will also guide you how to infuse force on the meat or vegetable you’re cutting.

You’re other hand will help you grasp the thing you’re about to cut. You’ll not handle the meat or vegetable with protruding fingers. You’ll just put you’re hand (usually left) in closed position, only the knuckles will touch the meat or vegetables you’ll cut.

  • Backward sliding motion is the appropriate cutting direction of a knife. You will set the tip of the knife at an angle beneath the thing you’re about to cut then proceed the cutting motion, in and out, always going backward.

“Be careful with your hands,” my chief officer said. Well, I always remember what he said. It’s too painful to loose a finger or my whole hand.


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1 Comment

Reply mark2011
9:46 AM on October 27, 2011 
If you are looking for an every day carry knife, to use at work or play, we have a full line up of automatic switchblade knives,they come out the side, or out the front. Automatic knives are not allowed in all states, so please check your state and local knife laws before you start your knife collection!

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