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How to Buy a Chef's Knife and How to Use It

How to Buy a Chef's Knife and How to Use It

Chef Danielle Turner | Chef's Blade

Here are three tips to help you cut to the chase as you’re choosing a chef’s knife:

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Note how the blade is all one piece and the handle is riveted to each side. (photo by D.T.)

1. Make sure the blade extends the entire length of the knife, including through the handle. Plastic or wooden handles attached to a metal blade can break over time.

2. Don’t be afraid to cop a feel before you buy. Hold several knives and see what weight and blade length feel best to you.

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The top is a standard chef's knife. The middle knife is made by Global, known for their sleek all stainless look. It's much lighter than the standard knife. The bottom knife is a Wustof Santoku, made famous by Rachael Ray before she designed her own brand

3. Buy the best knife you can afford. A top of the line chef’s knife can cost upwards of $100, but mid-range knives by lesser-known manufacturers can work just as well — provided they meet the criteria in Tip #1.

And once you choose your knife, here are some tips to use it:

1. Always cut on a cutting board. Smooth, slippery surfaces, like marble, metal, or glass, can damage your knife’s blade or cause it to slip as you’re cutting.

2. Place a damp paper towel underneath your cutting board to keep it from moving while you chop.

3. NEVER put knives in a sink full of water. Water, especially sudsy water will hide the knife and an unsuspecting dishwasher can cut themselves if they don’t know the knife is there.

4. NEVER try to catch a falling knife. A wise person once said, “a falling knife has no handle,” meaning it’s more likely you’ll grab the blade instead of the handle in your attempt to catch it. If you drop your knife, take one big step back, put your hands in the air and no one will get hurt.

5. Dull knives are dangerous. You are far more likely to cut yourself by trying to force a dull blade through your food than with a nice, sharp blade. If you’re unskilled at using the whetstone to keep your blade razor-sharp, leave it to the professionals. Many kitchen supply stores will sharpen your blades while you shop.

Safe chopping!

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