Choosing a good knife is something we all must learn to do, after all, if we properly choose one within our budgets and also take good care of it, it could last in our kitchens for many many years.
Amigos, today I invited my friend Lucas to share some great tips for choosing a great chef knife on a budget. You’re going to love his tips and thank him for preventing you from spending too much money.
Thanks, Lucas, take it away!
The chef knife is a hallmark of the cooking world, praised by both professionals and cooking enthusiasts as one of the best kitchen tools. It is a versatile knife capable of handling a variety of kitchen tasks, such as chopping and mincing vegetables, as well as cutting through thick pieces of meat. Even though it is quite big and seems intimidating, in reality, it has a very easy learning curve and it is quite satisfying to use. Therefore, every cooking enthusiast should have one in their collection. Since there are many types of chef knives on the market, the purpose of this article is to make your choice easier. Here is how to make the best chef knife choice on a budget.
Composition of a Chef’s Knife
Every knife buyer on a budget should have prior knowledge of the tool’s composition and various other specificities. It is worth noting that these features might differ in localized versions (Germany, Japan, etc.) but they share most of them regardless of origin.
The first thing to take into consideration is how the handle feels in your hand once you grasp it. Ideally, you should not struggle too much to hold it, and it should not slip out of your hand when it is wet.
Another way to determine if you have made a wise purchasing choice is seeing whether or not the knife came sharp right out of the box. To do this, you have to test it. Grab a sheet of paper and slice it with your knife. Or, better it, grab a few vegetables and start chopping. If the cuts run in swift, clean motions with gentle curves, you can safely assume that the knife is sufficiently sharp.
The bulky and heavyweight part of the knife where the blade and the handle are connected is called the bolster – or shank, collar and shoulder, depending on the region. The bolster’s purpose is ensuring safety to the user, as well as providing stability and strength while cutting. While there are some varieties on the market with shorter bolsters, the consensus amongst cooking experts and aficionados is that knives with standard sized bolsters are technically superior. As an example, the Kuma Multi-purpose, deemed by many as one of the best chef knives in 2018, has a thick bolster with a great design both from a practical and safety standpoint.
Finally, it is worth mentioning a few things about the heel. This is the broadest part of the edge, designed for cooking tasks that necessitate great force, like cutting through tendons or hard produce, such as squashes. Ideally, the heel should not be too curved, nor impede the rocking motion.
Explore Different Stores
The next step you have to take in order to find the perfect chef knife is exploring different cookware or cutlery stores that provide a wide variety of kitchen products. While you can easily simplify this process by looking for them online, if you are on a budget, it is best to go to a store yourself, so you can test them as much as possible. By taking a methodical and careful approach, you will drastically reduce the chances of making an unwise purchase.
Once there, look for a store employee that is willing to guide you and give competent advice. Remember, you are on a budget, so it is best to avoid the salespeople who tell you tell you directly what knife to buy. All you have to do now is select a few chef knives and carefully at their perks, characteristics, size, and materials. Which takes us to the next entry…
Factors that You Should be Aware of
Similar to a cellphone, a good chef knife should feel like a natural extension of your hand once you grasp it. Test several knives and determine which one feels the most natural. If you feel unsafe using it, move on to the next item. Start air chopping and see how your body is reacting to its physical characteristics.
But before testing a knife, there are a few general features and characteristics that you should be aware of. Familiarizing yourself with these concepts will aid you in making the best possible purchase decision:
- Size. The most popular chef knives are those that measure about 20 centimeters due to their versatility and easy learning curve. While longer knives (those from the 25 centimeters variety) might be better at cutting from a quantitative standpoint, most people, including professional chefs, agree that they feel a tad ‘’unnatural’’ or even unsafe. Still, when it comes to the perfect size, your leverage might vary – for example, 15-centimeter chef knives provide superior agility and momentum, but are not suited for high volume products, such as watermelons.
- Balance is another important factor to take into consideration. The best way to judge if the knife provides the best possible balance is by gripping the handle tightly. If the weight falls either towards the back of the handle or the blade, there is a high chance that the balance is off, and the knife is not suited to your hands.
- Weight. As we have mentioned above, the chef knife’s best perk is arguably its versatility, and this advantage could not have been achieved without having an ergonomic design. However, this highly depends on the weight of the knife and if it is suited for your situation. Therefore, you should try several knives to see how your hand reacts to their weight. Ideally, the knife should allow for flawless, speedy cutting motions without compromising precision and stability.
In order to make the best decision when it comes to purchasing the best chef knife, there are several factors to take into consideration. Analyzing the size, weight, and balance, as well as having prior knowledge about the general characteristics will help you pick up the best knife even when you are on a budget. Make sure to give this article a thorough read, and you will get all the information that you need.
Article by Lucas Ferguson
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