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Chef's Knife Disclaimer
Your chef's knife is arguably the most important tool you will buy for your kitchen, not to mention the most important knife. A good chef's knife can be used to accomplish almost any cutting task in the kitchen. Because of this is is highly recommended that you don't skimp on your chef's knife. Most chefs would argue that it is better to buy a single chef's knife of high quality than spend the same amount on a knife set of mediocre quality. A good chef's knife will last you for a decade or more so cutting cost and hurting quality just does not make sense.
Details of a Chef's Knife
A chef's knife is normally between 6 and 10 inches long, with the most popular being 8 inches. The top of the chef's knife is flat to allow you to put pressure on it and to more easily rock it for cutting herbs. It has a plain blade (our discussion of plain vs serrated blade types
) and it is important to have a hefty and balanced knife blade on your chef's knife. The blade of a chef's knife is wide and gently curved, allowing for easy rocking of the blade during cutting.
Use of a Chef's Knife
A Chef's Knife is used for chopping, mincing, and dicing vegetables, meat, and herbs. It can also be used to crush garlic or spices against the board and even do julienne cuts. The back of your chef's knife can also be used to break chicken or turkey bones or smash peppercorns. A good chef's knife can be used for almost any cutting task in the kitchen. It is normally used in a rocking motion.
Our Recommended Knives
8" Wusthof Classic Chef's Knife
Wusthof knives are generally regarded as one of the top knife manufacturers and the Wusthof Classic Chef's Knife is one of their most popular knives.
Henckels Twin Four Star II 8" Chef's Knife
This is the chef's knife I use at home 90% of the time for the last 8 years. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Shun Classic 8" Chef's Knife
Shun is a leading Japanese manufacturer of knives and they are being quickly adopted in America because of their high quality and balance.
While these are all on the expensive side I truly believe that your chef's knife is not the knife to go cheap on. I'd rather spend the extra money on the chef's knife and recoup the money with a less-expensive paring or slicing knife, where the drop off in quality is less, or in the case of certain knives, non-existent.
The Bread Knife