How to Choose the Best Chef's Knife for Your Kitchen

By
Mar 7, 2013
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how to choose the best chefs knife

Welcome to our first installment of PrimalPal TV. We're going to be making more of these short videos to share tips and tricks with you to live an awesome paleo lifestyle. Please watch the video and give us some reviews on YouTube. You can also subscribe to our channel to be updated when the next video is released.  We have some great topics in the works that you won't want to miss.

We're still experimenting with our equipment so if you have any tips feel free to let us know. We like to learn new things.

Speaking of new things... let's talk knives!

Imagine you're stranded in an imaginary kitchen.

You're allowed to have one kitchen tool in your possession. What would it be?

My answer would be an 8-inch chef's knife. Hands down. It's a workhorse and a must have for any aspiring paleo chef.

Watch Our Chef's Knife Review of the Wusthof 8-inch Chef's Knife

In this episode of PrimalPal TV:

0:22 - I make a confession about how old our previous chef's knife is.
1:01 - Find out how long a good chef's knife should last.
1:30 - How a quality chef's knife is put together.
1:37 - A key feature you must look for before purchasing your chef's knife.
2:05 - The most important selection criteria for buying a new chef's knife.
2:14 - How to hold your chef's knife properly... in most situations.
3:10 - The difference between honing and sharpening a knife.
3:30 - How often should you sharpen your chef's knife.
3:40 - How to properly use the honing steel. It's not the same as sharpening.

Choosing a Chef's Knife 101

Hey, this is Chris with PrimalPal. Today I'm going to talk to you about the most important tool that every aspiring paleo chef should have in their kitchen. And that is the 8-inch chef's knife.

So recently we decided to go ahead and invest in a new chef's knife. We were using one that we've had since college and it was starting to get pretty dull and hard to use.

In fact, I've noticed myself getting some pretty bad knife handling tactics and there were a few times where I thought I might potentially lose a finger. But because the knife was so dull I didn't have to worry about that. Moving forward I'm going to have to be a little bit more careful with handling the knife.

The chef's knife that we decided on was the Wusthof Classic 8-inch Chef's Knife. What we were told, and what we researched, is that this chef's knife, if taken care of properly and maintained over time, will actually last you for the rest of your life.

It's a very high quality knife and it is an investment. But if it's going to last you the rest of your life, then I think that's a good investment.

It's also going to make your life a lot easier in the kitchen. I already notice that I can get through preparation for certain dishes a lot quicker and easier with a nice, sharp, quality knife. Not to mention it just feels really cool in your hand versus some of the cheaper chef's knives that don't have that nice weight to them.

There are a few areas of the knife that I think it's good for you to understand how your chef's knife is put together. Of course there is the blade. On the Wusthof Classic the blade has a full tang. That means it goes all the way through the handle. This is for maintaining good balance and to evenly distribute the weight throughout the knife as you're using it.

The parts of the blade are called the spine, the edge (where you cut things) and then you have the bolster.This is important when you're holding the knife and we'll go over that in just a second.

Overall, you're looking for that full tang, the nice three rivets in the handle and that it feels good in your hand. That's one of the most important parts of choosing a chef's knife, how it feels in your hand. The Wusthof Classic 8-inch feels great.

The proper way to hold your chef's knife.

When you're holding your knife what you want to do is hold it right around the bolster with your pointer finger on one side of the blade and your thumb on the other. That's the proper way to hold your knife.

What the bolster is going to do is protect your fingers and it's also going to put the center of gravity on the right spot in your hand. So when you're using the knife for chopping, slicing and dicing it's going to feel really nice in your hand and be easy to handle and control.

Honing and sharpening your chef's knife.

Another education piece that I picked up was how to use the honing steel, also called the chef's steel. I like the term honing steel because it really tells you what it's meant to be used for.

It's important to note that it is not a sharpening tool. Which was news to me! I thought the honing steel actually sharpened your knife. It actually just helps you maintain your blade and keep it straight over the course of normal use.

When you sharpen a knife what you actually do is you grind down the knife and take off the old edge. By doing this you actually form a brand new edge on the knife. So there is a big difference between honing and actually sharpening a chef's knife.

You should use the honing steel every two or three times you use the knife. With sharpening, you should only have to do it once or twice a year if you own a quality knife like the Wusthof Classic.

The proper way to use the honing steel is to lay the blade flat against the handle with the edge facing away from you and swipe it down the length of the honing still a couple of times on each side of the blade. No more is required.

Every two or three times you use your knife use the honing steel and you'll keep your blade nice and straight. You'll get a lot of use out of the knife before you have to get it sharpened.

If you are going to get your knife sharpened take it to the local cutlery dealer or kitchen store because they'll usually have all the equipment needed to sharpen the knife and if you're only going to need to do this once or twice a year there is really no need for you to buy that equipment for yourself.

All-in-all we are very happy with the new chef's knife so far. It's already making my life a lot easier. I suggest that if your going to be serious about starting to do more cooking in the kitchen then go ahead and invest in a nice, quality 8-inch chef's knife. It's the workhorse of the kitchen and it will pretty much do whatever you need it to do.

Have some fun in the kitchen and we'll talk to you again real soon.

Share this post with your friends so you can all pick out an awesome chef's knife!

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