If you love to cook in your kitchen, you need to have all those vital tools in order to help you cook better – and stay safer. I know when I was in Culinary School one of the number 1 rules was that our knives always had to be sharpened. Each student had their own knife kit and in that kit, you had every knife known to man. Kitchen Boning knives, Chef knife, Paring knife, Bread Knife, Utility Knife, etc. Most of the time we used the Boning, Chef, and Paring knife the most. In fact, even now at home, these 3 kitchen knives are the ones I use more than any other knife. I’ll explain what each knife is for another article. But, they are considered the 3 most important kitchen knives to own. But, even when working in professional kitchens, it was always important to have a sharp knife available. There are 2 main reasons behind this!
1- A sharp knife works much better than a dull one. A dull knife takes a lot more brute force to cut through food. Even if its really soft like a cucumber or a tomato, ultimately a dull knife can do damage to the food, not make the cuts you are trying to make, or it could crush the surrounding cells of the cut in the food which can lead to bruising and discoloration as well as quicker wilting. A dull knife, essentially, slows you down. It can make prep work take way longer than it should!
2- Having a dull knife is really just an accident waiting to happen. A sharp blade is predictable. You know that if you have a tomato and the knife is sharp, once you put the blade against it and make your cut – it will cut through the tomato. Simple as could be. But, a dull knife is so much more unpredictable. The dull blade can slip to the side, it can rock back and forth. A dull blade WILL – take it from me, it WILL cut you eventually. Dull blades are unsafe in any setting; professional kitchens or home kitchens. Its only a matter of time before you cut yourself with an uncontrollable dull knife!
Sharpening Your Kitchen Knives At Home
Some home cooks don’t even realize you can actually sharpen your own kitchen knives at home. There are a few different products. Some people really like water stones. This is a good option for those times when you have a few minutes to mess around with the stone. But, when I need something quick and easy, I really prefer a sharpening steel. These are not necessarily for sharpening dull knives, but rather honing your knife blades. Nonetheless, this is what I use more often than a stone. Another option is a knife hone. These work like the sharpening steels. But, instead of a long and narrow rod, you have a sort of “block” that you can run your blade through. Likewise, you can also find electric knife sharpeners. Similar to the manual block sharpener, this one is electric, rather than manual. Within the block is a motorized wheel that spins and in turn hones and sharpens your blade.
The BEST Water stones For Kitchen Knives
If you are interested in the water stones, let me tell you, they can get expensive. However, they also tend to last longer than anything else I mentioned above and they can make your kitchen knives last for longer. Water stones that I have tried and really like:
– King Two Sided Sharpening Stone: This one is really nice because you don’t have to just rely on one side. The one side is a sharpening side, it has 1000 grit for making your blade nice and sharp. The other side, on the other hand, is 6000 grit and is perfect for honing your blade. Therefore you don’t need 2 different products, its 2 in 1 which is pretty nice financially, but also storage wise as well. By the way, this one also has a cool stand.
– Mighty Dreams Premium Knife Sharpening Stone: Now this one, is a little more expensive than the one above. But, it comes with more things so that’s why! This one has a double sided 1000/6000 grit feature like the one above. It also has a bamboo base, an angle guide, an instruction manual and an ebook with everything you could or would ever need to know about knife sharpening (I still have the book!)
The Best Brand Of Kitchen Knives
Another important aspect of knives in your kitchen is making sure you buy quality knives! It doesn’t matter how much you sharpen a crappy knife, its still going to be a crappy knife. Sorry! In Culinary school, we had a choice of buying a few different brands of knives for our kits. I cant remember all the different names, but I do remember one name because its the one I chose – Wusthof. Have fun saying that! This is a classic German knife from a classic German company. If you really want to know how good these knives are consider this: I graduated from Culinary School when I was 17. I am now 35. I went through many different jobs over the years, different restaurants, different food spots, etc. And still. To this day. ALL my knives from Wusthof are whole. The blades are still sharp. All the handle fasteners are still in place. The tang still looks amazing. The tip, edge, and spine, as well as the bolster, are all still intact. If its a quality brand you want, then you should definitely consider looking at Wusthof for all of your kitchen knives (Boning knives, Chef knife, Paring knife, Bread Knife, Utility Knife, etc.). These kitchen knives tend to cost different prices, depending on the knife classification and if you are buying them in singles or as a set. For a top of the line, single Chef knife with fantastic reviews, you’re looking at around $30-40 at the low and $150 on the high. You can see those kitchen knives, by clicking the links for a side by side comparison.
Now on the other hand, if you want a set, the best reviews, the best quality, then you are looking at around; $150 to $300. But, don’t take my word for it when it comes to Wusthof. No matter what brand you buy or what type you buy, you need to make sure that its a quality knife brand, with plenty of positive reviews, and that they offer a warranty. A few other brands to consider if you want to look at more options:
Victorinox: Victorinox is a knife manufacturer based in the town of Ibach, in the Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland. It is well known for its Swiss Army knives. The Swiss Army knives made by Victorinox are all made of highest quality Swedish steel from Sandvik.
Dalstrong: Dalstrong is a family run company with a simple mission: To greatly exceed the expectations of our cherished customers, or in other words, to be the best damn knife company you’ve never heard of!
Zyliss: Since 1948, Zyliss has been creating tools and gadgets to meet the growing need of consumers worldwide. Behind every Zyliss kitchen tool is the “design to delight” principle. A belief that all Zyliss products should not only do a brilliant job, simply and efficiently, but also make our customers smile every time they use them.
Shun: Incredibly sharp edges and unmatched aesthetics set Shun knives apart from every other kitchen knife on the market today. In the great tradition of Seki’s sword smiths, every knife is handmade by highly skilled specialists and requires at least 100 handcrafted steps to complete.
I tend to stick with what I know which is why all the knives in my kitchen, even the steak knives are Wusthof!
Chef Knife Sizes
Chef knives, in general, come in 3 different sizes. From an 8 inch, to a 10 inch to a 12 inch. I’m not even really sure why they sell 12-inch Chef knives, to be honest. Its sort of a waste. Though most of these magazines like Bon Appetit are going to tell you that a 12 inch is a waste of time (which it is!) and a 10 inch is for commercial kitchens, I disagree. I find that 8 or 10-inch Chef knives can be used in the kitchen of a home – or a professional kitchen. However, its the mere weight, length, and of course control that matters and that is why an 8 OR a 10 inch works well.
Where Should I Keep My Knives?
If you have a block for your kitchen knives, right on! But, if you don’t have one, don’t have space for one, or you just cant find one you like, you do have another option. Its the option I chose. Its a magnetic knife bar. These are really cool because you can hang them up anywhere in the kitchen. I have mine closer to the island and the stove/cook top just because, hello, convenience! But, you can place it anywhere in the kitchen. If you have kids, please please please keep it up higher than you normally would. In fact, talk to your kids about knives, why they are beneficial, how they work and why safety is so important when it comes to kitchen knives.
Knife magnets come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and more importantly – materials. You can find plastic ones, wood, stainless steel, etc. I really love the wood ones. They match my kitchen, they are pretty when it comes to aesthetics, and they do what I need them to do – hold my kitchen knives! Here are a few different ones to check out that I really love – the last one is closest to the one I have. It comes in Walnut and it matches my wood floors fantastically well.
RSVP 10 Inch Stainless Steel Knife Bar: You can place pretty much anything metal on these, from kitchen knives to scissors to other tools for the kitchen. This is by far the cheapest option but it has had some really good reviews.
Ouddy Knife Bar: This one comes in either 15 or 13 inches long. I like the one above because its stainless steel. The cover on this one is Aluminum so its not as shiny or silvery, but nonetheless its a good bar to consider. Right now this one is on sale but its regularly between $20 and $30.
Modern Innovations: This one is 16 inches long and it is stainless steel as well, however, this one has a satin finish, rather than shiny. Its super easy to install, it comes with all the buts and screws you need to attach it to your wall and you also have an alternative option, if you live in an apartment, to NOT use the screws, but instead use Velcro to Velcro it to the wall.
WoodSom 16 Inch Walnut Strip: This one is made out of a walnut wood which makes it super attractive when you hang it on your walls. Its also finished with an oil which protects it from food, liquid and oil splashes – one of the main reasons I bought it! Its also supposed to come in maple, but I could never find it! I like the walnut better anyway, but I still would have liked to see the Maple!