Chefs Kitchen Knives
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Any kitchen worker worth his or her salt knows the value of having a top quality set of chef's knives, and that each knife has its own role in preparing food. Chef's knives do not have to be used exclusively by chefs, however, and anyone who hopes to be adventurous and well-prepared in their home kitchen can benefit just as much from a good set of knives.
What functions can be carried out by chef's knives?
Everyone is aware that knives come in different shapes and sizes, but the untrained chef faced with a chopping, slicing, or peeling job will often immediately reach for the wrong type of knife. Skilled chefs are aware that they can make their job a lot more simple and safe by being aware of the right knife for the right purpose.
It is possible to get hold of all-purpose chef's knives capable of good performance in a variety of kitchen tasks. These are very useful for speed and convenience, but they should be complemented with a range of other knives suitable for specific techniques. Well-prepared cooks will have an army of knives at their disposal, from thin, curved filleting and boning knifes, to wide-bladed vegetable choppers and meat cleavers.
What are chef's knives made from?
Almost all chef's knifes have blades made from stainless steel, which is the ideal material for metal that comes into contact with food as it is resistant to corrosion in water. It also has excellent anti-bacterial qualities, making it a hygienic option. Some knifes (most notably Global knives) will extend the stainless steel into the handle, while others with have handles made of wood, bone, or fibrox nylon. These materials are largely used to improve grip, but they can have aesthetic advantages as well.
Chefs knives are also available with a variety of colour-coded handles, making them ideal for a busy kitchen where different knives need to be used for raw and cooked meats, for example. When cooking for people with dietary needs or requests, these can also help ensure that different knives are used to prepare such food groups as fruit and veg, fish and dairy.
Looking after chef's knives
Since they are bound to be heavily used, it is worth taking some steps to make sure that chef's knives stay in tip-top condition. Washing and drying knives by hand is recommended to prevent water impurities staining the blades, although most of them are safe for dishwasher use. Cutting food on a wooden or plastic board is preferable to a harder surface like metal, which could blunt the knife over time. It also cannot be emphasised enough how most longer chef's knives will last if they are used for their intended purpose.
Perhaps the most important thing of all when it comes to knife care is to buy a good quality knife rack. Leaving knives on surfaces or in drawers can cause injuries, and can also affect the quality of the knife. A wooden rack will prevent these problems, but it is vital to dry knives thoroughly before putting them in the rack to prevent mould build-up.