“The essence of a good kitchen is definitely a good chef knife.”
For some people buying a knife for their homes is the most basic activity You can imagine. They go to the store and pick up the first one they like and can afford. But not for me. I’m searching for the “amazing” chef knife. You know, the knife from Your dreams. It will be with You for many years to come, will cut everything effortlessly, sharpening will be done just once in a while and cooking will be a pure pleasure. The one and only, chef’s right hand.
But why so much drama about the knife if the only thing it does is cutting? Well, there are too many choices out there! Starting from the materials its made from: ceramic, stainless steel or carbon steel. Then different sizes, shapes and colours, very cheap ones (starting with around 10 Euros) and some with price comparable to cost of good Micheline star dinner. It’s easy to get confused! So which one to buy? How to find Your ‘one and only?
Firstly let me give You an overview about the main categories of knives out there. German chef knives, (which deserve a category of their own) produced from high carbon stainless steel. They are easier to sharpen compared with the Japanese knives for example. Also they have a riveted handle which is perfectly matching the palm of your hand. That makes cutting very easy. The best brands are definitely Wusthof and its Wusthof Classic 8″ knife (by the way this is the favorite knife of Gordon Ramsey), Henckel and Mercer.
On other side of the globe there are Japanese knives which are probably the best kitchen knives in the world. Japanese are well known for cutting their food very precisely, especially when it comes to sushi or sashimi. This is the reason why all Japanese knives have a signature thin razor-like edge. The most known brands are Shun, Yoshihiro or Tamahagane. This knifes have a long history that dates back to Samurai era and the production of samurai swords. Best ones are made from up to 63 layers of ‘damascus’ steel. It cuts bones like a butter 🙂
Before I brought my chef knife home I’ve done long and very detailed research (pretty nerdy, I know!). I’ve watched hundreds videos on Youtube and read even more articles online. Some people said that the best knife has to be very sharp and light and others recommended ones with the best grip and the blade from carbon steel.
So how I found my “amazing” chef knife at the end? I’ve asked myself only one question – What kind of food am I cooking the most? This is very important to know if You really want to make the best choice. Why? For instance if You like to cut fresh veggies or fruits but You also like to make sushi, You should go for Japanese knife. On other hand if You prefer more meaty kitchen with hardcore cutting of rough meat with bones then You should definitely go for the German one. Those are simply more durable than Japanese knives.
Other info consists of usually unnecessary marketing ‘blah blah’ which is just making the shopping more confusing. All of the knives mentioned above are so sharp that they can cut a tomato just with their own weight and a slight movement of Your hand. You just need to remember to sharpen those knives properly with correct equipment and you good to go.
My Tamahagane San Tsubame 24cm chef knife has 3 layer stainless steel construction. The outside layers are softer and more stain resistant. They designed to protect the cutting edge which is angled 14-15 degrees. That’s the reason why this knife is awesome at cutting very thin slices of anything You can imagine. My second favourite part of this knife (after the blade of course) is the wooden handle. It looks very elegant and it’s very comfortable to hold. Overall experience is just amazing! No hustle needed and You can just focus on the taste of Your dishes. 🙂
WARNING – this knife does not forgive even the smallest mistake. If You cut Yourself You will bleed, a lot, believe me…