Kitchen Knife Must Haves and How to Use Them
Slicing and dicing in the kitchen and find yourself wondering if you’re using the correct knife? Don’t worry, with the plethora of knife selections out there it’s no wonder proper knife use comes into question. Whether you’ve been gifted your first fancy knife set, or you’re just interested in what the chef essentials are, we’ve got you covered. Chef Christophe from Christophe’s To Go will also show you some helpful tips to make you feel like a pro.
These Essential Knives are Your Culinary BFFs:
** Chef Knife:** Sometimes referred to as a “French Knife”, this knife is your #1 essential tool in the kitchen. Chef knives are used for most chopping, slicing, and dicing. The sizes of this knife range from as large as 12 inches or smaller (10”, 8”, and 6”), with the 8 inch size being the most recommended to use. The small versions of this knife are typically called mini chef’s knives. You’ll recognize these knives by their broad blades that are curved towards to the tip, which allows the knife to rock up and down in movement for mincing. It’s encouraged to not use a chef knife for carving poultry, butchering meat, or to use on large vegetables for removing skin. ** Serrated Knife: Also known as a bread knife, **these knives are super handy for those tough products that need slicing- like crusty bread (hard on the outside but soft on the inside), citrus fruits, layer cake, melons, and much more. The “teeth” of a serrated knife act as a saw, allowing your slicing to be fluid and swift. Try using a serrated knife next time you cut tomatoes and see the difference it makes. **Paring Knife: **Paring knives are excellent for tasks needing precision and delicacy, like peeling fruits and veggies, coring an apple, deveining shrimp, slicing garlic cloves- the list goes on. These knives can be mistaken for mini chef knives, which is inaccurate, but understandable considering the similar appearance only smaller. The major difference is the ability to hold a paring knife aloft in your hand. This creates a helpful extension of your hand, creating versatility and control. **Carving Knife: **The thin, long blade of a carving knife allows for exceptional meat slicing. When using this knife, your slices will come out much more thin and precise than any other knife in the kitchen.
Safety and Care Tips
**Pay Attention to Your Blades: **A dull knife in the kitchen is a chef’s worst enemy. ** **Every so often take a look at your knife’s blade to check for any nicks or similar flaws, any indication means it’s time to sharpen your knife. Need to know when it’s time even if the blade looks good? Chef’s say a knife will effortlessly slide off the skin of an onion if the blade is sharp enough. Sharpening can be done a few different ways and can vary by comfort level. Honing is a something you can do at home with less risk than using tricky sharpening tools. This is an item that comes with most knife sets that looks like a thin rod with a handle. Honing realigns the blade and extends the lifetime of your knife. If honing doesn’t sharpen your knives enough, it’s recommended to take it to a professional to get sharpened. For more tips on ways to sharpen your knives click here. Watch Chef Christophe from Christophe’s To Go shows you how to sharpen your knife here.**[Learn How to Cut Properly](http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/knifeskills/ss/knifegrips.htm): **Rocking your knife at a 45° angle, instead of cutting up and down, making sure your knife stays in contact with your cutting board is best practice for cutting. Not only does this create ease and consistency of your cutting, it also extends the life of your knife. What you don’t see when a knife *hits* a cutting board is the damage that occurs to your blade, resulting in a less sharp and useful knife. It’s also recommended to use a wood or plastic cutting board instead of a stone, glass, or acrylic board. Save your fingers and watch [Chef Christophe](https://blog.christophestogo.com/how_it_works/chef_christophe) demonstrate how to properly cut an onion in this video. **Hand-wash Only: **These tools should be treated with care and washed by hand. Throwing them in the dishwasher could result in the blades getting warped or damaged. Best method to clean is by soapy warm water by hand. Make sure the blade is positioned away from you in the sink. Also take note of the material of the blade. Some materials, like carbon steel, require hand drying instead of airing out on a rack. The special material will rust or become splotchy if not dried properly. Need more tips? Check out more [Christophe’s To Go videos](https://blog.christophestogo.com/media/videos), including the ones in this blog post, with [Chef Christophe.](https://blog.christophestogo.com/how_it_works/chef_christophe) Any questions or need advice? Comment below or shoot us an email at [firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto:email@example.com)! Written by: Alison Sherman