The Most Important Kitchen Tool
Of all the equipment I have in my kitchen, the one tool I could never live without is my knife.
If you've ever endured chopping veggies with a dull blade, a knife that's too heavy, or doesn't fit your grip right, then you're in for a treat when you discover your perfect knife! Suddenly, prepping vegetables for a stir fry goes from being a dreaded chore to a therapeutic end of day exercise.
So how do you find the right kitchen knife for you? Well, there are several factors that weigh in, and my first piece of advice is to try out and test it in a kitchen store.
Weight: When testing it out in your hand, think about the weight of the knife. Choose the weight that feels right to you. Some chefs will argue that a heavier knife falls better and therefore cuts faster whereas others will say a lighter knife allows for more flexibility in the cut.
Balance: Grab the handle of the knife and hold it as though you are using it. Does the blade or handle feel heavier than the other? Is there a pull to a certain side? A good knife should feel evenly balanced both from the front and back and from side-to-side.
Size: For a chef's knife, a 6-8-inch knife is the most popular. A longer blade can cut more at one time but can be harder to maneuver. Handle size is also important. If you have smaller hands like I do, you'll want a knife with a smaller handle so it fits comfortably.
Style: I prefer Japanese-style blades to French blades. My favorite is a 6-inch Nakiri Vegetable Cleaver made by Kyocera. The ceramic blade stays sharp for years and the weight is just right. It's so versatile that I use it for everything! The only caveat is that it can break if dropped on a hard surface, so use it with care. Another blade shape I like is a Santoku.
Cleaning: When cleaning a knife, never drop it into a sink full of soapy water. Instead, wash and dry it right away and then put it in a knife sheath to protect the blade's edge and tender fingers.
Now that you know what to look for in a knife, you'll never again dread cutting veggies. Have fun seeking out your "one true love" chef's knife!
Happy cooking and joyful eating!