A chef’s knife is an indispensable tool for any chef. This knife has versatile use, allowing you to chop veggies, slice fruits, and carve meats. It’s suitable for use on fresh and frozen foods, providing a clean, accurate cut.
Knives present a risk in the kitchen. Learning how to use a chef knife safely is a priority task for any chef. Learning how to use a chef’s knife properly is a vital skill. It takes years of practice to master knife control at the top-level.
This post unpacks everything you need to know about using a chef’s knife safely. We’ll also look at the best knives’ features and characteristics and make a recommendation on our choice for the best chef knife available.
What are the Features of the Best Chef’s Knife?
A chef is only as good as their tools. When selecting your knife, we recommend looking for the following characteristics in your new blade.
Materials – The best quality chef’s knife features design and construction with premium materials like Japanese steel, stainless steel, Damascus steel, or ceramic. Each material offers a different cutting experience.
Size and Dimensions – The chef knife dimensions and blade size make a difference in its performance in the kitchen. According to world-class chefs, the best size is between 6.5-inches to 10-inches for your blade.
Weight – The weight of the blade plays a significant role in the effectiveness of your cut. Lighter blades are suitable for finer chopping tasks, while the heavier blades provide you with more cutting power and leverage for cutting meats and frozen foods.
Balance – Your chef’s knife should offer a good balance and feel in your hand. Blades that have a weighting to the knife’s tip or hilt can cause inaccurate cuts and slips with the knife.
Handles – Look for models featuring ergonomic handles for a comfortable grip. Most chef’s knives come with squared edges on the handles for superior control of the blade. The handles should also feature design and construction with hygienic materials that are dishwasher safe.
Grind and Edge – Look for models featuring a 15-degree edge and a 50/50 symmetrical grind. This setup offers you the best versatile use in the kitchen and a hardened edge that stays sharp in the most demanding conditions.
Styling –The styling of the knife makes a difference in its performance. Look at the styling difference between German and Japanese knives, and you’ll notice a subtle difference in the blade shape and the length of the knife. Select the styling that suits your chopping technique.
How Do You Use a Chef Knife?
How do you chop with a chef’s knife? Follow this step-by-step guide to how to hold a chef knife to chop vegetables like the pros.
What to Do with the Hand Holding the Knife?
The thumb and index finger grip the knife blade just after the end of the handle. This grip gives you the best control, making the knife an extension of your forearm for precision cutting.
If you’re mincing or finely chopping vegetables, hold the handle with your primary hand, and rest the non-knife hand onto the blade’s spine. Use the non-knife hand to assist in the rocking motion of the blade while you chop.
Always ensure you keep the knife’s tip in contact with the cutting surface to prevent slipping and missed cuts.
Rock the blade up and down to achieve the desired sizing of herbs and veggies.
If you’re cutting fruit or large squash, cut them in half before you start. This method prevents the fruit or squash from moving around while you chop.
We recommend avoiding the use of gloves when chopping. Gloves reduce the contact sensation between your skin and the knife. As a result, chefs who wear gloves find it harder to slice thin cuts, and they are more at risk of injury in the kitchen.
What to Do with Your Free Non-Knife Hand?
- Curl your fingers to prevent chopping your fingertips
- Hold the thumb and the pinkie finger behind the others
- Rest the side of the knife blade against your knuckles
- Use the non-knife hand to gauge the thickness of your cuts
How do You use a Knife Safely?
Here are a few knife safety tips to remember in the kitchen. Make sure you follow these do’s and don’ts to keep you safe.
- Learn how to handle knives correctly through a YouTube tutorial
- Always ensure you’re using a sharp knife
- Cut on a cutting board or stable surface
- Handle your knives carefully when cleaning
- Always carry a knife with the tip of the blade facing the floor
- Store knives on a knife bar or in a chefs block
- Always cut downward using a rocking motion from the tip to the hilt of the blade
- Don’t saw through the food with your chef’s knife
- Leave knives lying around on the counter
- Never attempt to catch a falling knife
- Don’t use knives as can openers
- Don’t carry knives while holding other objects
- Never play around with knives
- Never carry knives in your pockets
What Knives Do Chefs Actually Use?
Chefs use knives with Japanese steel, typically from Japanese or German knifemakers. However, brands like Miyabi and Wüsthof have expensive price tags. Unless you feel like spending $200 or more on your chef’s knife, it’s a better idea to look for a more affordable knife for your kitchen.
The Misen 10″ and 6.8″ chef’s knives are top-quality kitchen instruments. They feature design and construction with stamped Japanese stainless steel for a durable and sharp edge that lasts for years.
The Misen Chef’s Knives come with a lifetime warranty and a free lifetime sharpening service. When your knife starts to dull, send it to Misen, and they’ll sharpen it for free.
Misen uses top-quality AICHI AUS-10 Japanese steel for its knives, ensuring you get the best quality for your kitchen. The blade and handle come with a 50/50 symmetrical grind and rounded edges on the handles for superior control while chopping, dicing, and slicing.
The Misen Chefs knife offers you the best affordable alternative to the leading Japanese and German brands.