I Purchased a Good Set of Kitchen Knives and Now I Feel Like a Real Chef
Real talk- I cook every day except on weekends. It relaxes me and gives my day structure. I’m a consultant and curator for our e-commerce site so I spend a lot of hours on the computer. When 4 pm comes I shut my laptop off, turn CNN International on and start dinner.
My knife situation was worse than bad – it was embarrassing to myself. I’ve got an old chef’s knife that’s never seen a sharpener, a paring knife, and a set of decent steak knives. Most of my slicing and dicing is done with one of those.
No excuses, I know better; the women in my family all use excellent knives and I know how much they’ve paid for them. But honestly, I wasn’t looking to spend a huge chunk of my salary for kitchen tools. I just wanted to stop feeling bad, and have the best Japanese knife set I could afford that made meal prep easier and more fun. Maybe I couldn’t be Salt Bae but I’d get darn close.
So I researched for a few days, took my birthday money and invested in a beautiful set of Japanese Damascus Kitchen Knives.
I recalled the famous Japanese Ginzu knives that would slice through paper. Plus these had been mentioned as the best kitchen knives of 2019. I figured I couldn’t go wrong.
Whether you spend lots of time in your kitchen or are taking your first steps into the world of cooking, investing in a good quality knife set is a must.
What Defines a Good Set of Knives?
A good knife set should include anywhere between 3 – 8 knives. All knives should be comfortable to hold, offer a firm grip, and be razor-sharp. A knife set that has all these qualities will enhance your cooking experience.
Sets can cost anywhere between $50 dollars to the high hundreds. However, for everyday cooking, you won’t need to spend more than $200.
All sets include three or more of the following: chef’s knife, Santoku knife, paring knife, serrated paring knife, utility knife, carving knife, bread knife, or peeling knife. The sets with fewer knives are ideal for people looking to add or refresh their current collection, whereas the larger sets are good for those needing a brand new and complete kit.
If you already have a good set and just want to add to, many companies allow you to purchase a single knife.
What are the different knives for?
Needless to say, there are many knives on the market. They come in different shapes and sizes with a range of varying uses. Some are specialty knives with just one purpose, such as cheese knives or clam shuckers. For daily, domestic use, you should have at least some of the following in your kitchen:
Chef’s knife: This multi-purpose knife has a large blade that can range in size from 15cm – 36cm. One of the best Damascus chefs knifes on the market, it’s versatile and is ideal for everything from chopping hard root vegetables to cracking open crustaceans.
Santoku knife: The Santoku knife originated in Japan. Its tip curves downwards and the blade is thinner. It is a general-purpose knife and best used for dicing, chopping, and mincing.
Paring knife: This small knife is ideal for small food tasks such as peeling, coring, and making fine slices. Blades can range from 7cm – 11cm.
Serrated paring knife: A serrated paring knife looks very similar to a paring knife; the key difference is its serrated edge. It’s great for cutting small tomatoes and citrus fruits, too.
Utility knife: A smaller version of a chef’s knife; usually the blade is less than 15cm in length and is thinner. It’s ideal for cutting chicken breasts or small vegetables.
Carving knife: Usually, this knife has a long, thin blade. It is the best type of knife for carving joints of meat and poultry in one slice.
Bread knife: With a sharp serrated edge, this knife cuts through crusty bread with ease. It works well for cutting fruits with fibrous skins, like pineapples.
Peeling knife: A peeling knife looks a little like a paring knife but has a blade that curves inwards. It works best for peeling tough skins on fruit and vegetables.
How Should You Take Care of Your Knives
Maintenance is everything and will prolong the life of your knives. Get into the habit of cleaning them properly, keeping them razor-sharp, and storing them safely.
To clean your knives: Some brands will say that their knives are dishwasher safe, but if you want to ensure the longevity of your knives, don’t put them in the dishwasher. You need nothing more than dishwashing liquid and water to clean knives effectively. Be careful and wipe them down gently.
To sharpen your knives: A sharp knife is not only safer, but it is also easier to use. Sharpening your knives regularly means the knife is less likely to slip when cutting and less effort will be needed to cut through foods.
- Manual sharpeners are a great option for those with a smaller budget who are willing to sharpen more regularly.
- If you want to spend more an electric sharpener is also an option
- Sharpening stones (whetstones) are the best tools for sharpening knives as they produce razor-sharp results, but it’s time-consuming and requires practice.
What is the best way to store knives?
Loosely putting your knives in the cutlery drawer is not only dangerous but increases your chances of blunting and damaging your knives. There are a number of different ways to store your knives, and some sets even come with storage options:
Knife blocks: Some knife sets will come with a knife block as standard. Sets with wooden blocks tend to be pricier. Alternatively, you can buy universal knife blocks. Blocks are a good option if you have little space in the kitchen. Just note: they can be difficult to clean.
Magnetic strips: These are horizontal magnetic strips that sit on the wall above your countertop. They securely hold your knives to the wall and there’s no real risk of blunting the knives.
Sheaths: Some knife sets will include sheaths for all knives. This means that the knives can be easily stored in the cutlery drawer, which is an advantage if you have a very small kitchen.
Excellent knives are one of the smartest purchases you can make. This set has one of the best chef’s knife under $50 dollars that you can buy. They’re also the perfect gift for housewarmings and brides.