I am opening this discussion with the note that I am a kitchen equipment testing nut. I buy kitchen tools just to test them. Many, I never use more than once. The reason for gathering the tool is pure evaluation and to observe the tool’s operation. I will disregard any discussion on items that fit into this category as I attempt to keep myself on the topic of basic goodies that make your life easier in the kitchen. I am going to start with the knife and cutting board.
I have several types of kitchen knives that I find super useful. My absolute favorite is a 6″Chef. Let’s talk knives.
- 6″Chef knife… my ultimate favorite go to blade is a 6″Chef. I selected a very special model blade with a very deep heel (or wide heel) to the knife. I had always used shop blades in the various restaurants I have worked. Many of the knives were bought from chef supply catalogs in packages of several blades; after a few hours performing my preparation duties while smashing my knuckles into the cutting board, my hands hurt and I might have even started getting abrasions on my knuckles. This is not necessary in my line of work. There are many different knife choices and I can assure you that there are knives available for most hands.
I bought myself a nice Lamson Sharp 6″ Chef (WEBSITE ). The blade holds a nice edge…I have thousands of hours working with that knife and for all practical purposes it looks new. My knife is dishwasher safe, and is not overly heavy, which is important. A 6″Chef is great for small work and general purpose cutting. I prepare many little salads and cut meat and veggies for two meals and this is a perfect utility blade to reach for when chopping small amounts. Thus my point is that selecting a knife for each purpose that you perform is important to you. Making sure that the knife fits your grip and mimics the need of the cut operation that you are repeating regularly makes life easier. There are many choices of 6″Chef blades on the market. I selected Lamson Sharp and I like it. Let me know what you enjoy using?
2. 10″Chef knife… I like my 10″Chef knife and have owned it for many years too. I selected a Victorinox blade. It is not an expensive blade but again it is comfortable in my hands and performs a nice large chop action while holding a decent edge. As you see, I do not buy sets of blades. Rather I buy individual blades that meet my specification as basic ware that enhances my enjoyment of work in the kitchen. The Victorinox blade was the first knife I selected when I visited the Smokey Mountain Knife Works in Tennessee. I grabbed the Fibrox handle and it was comfortable in my hand. I found a cutting board there and pretended I was chopping something and it really moved well with my wrist. I placed it to the side and picked it as a keeper among all that I compared. WEBSITE
This brings me to another point. Testing is part of selecting. I will not buy a blade that I am not allowed to at minimum, simulate the cutting action. Performance, feel and operation (integrity of the tool, i.e. how well does it hold an edge) is part of what I regard. Comparing blades is next. I will not look at pricing until last. I am concerned primarily with how the knife and my body feel together since I will be using this knife for many hours over its life span. I ask lots of it as far as fit and use.
3. 8″ Bread Knife… I have a nice Victorinox 8″ bread knife. I use it regularly that I bake my own breads in the house. There is no substitute for this blade in my drawer. If you bake bread goods this is a well suited size knife to cut and enjoy the bread at home. There are many brands of bread knives. Select one that you can afford and keep it close you will use it often. WEBSITE
4. 4″Paring Knives…I have a host of Victorinox 4″ Paring knives. I am not pleased with these blades ( WEBSITE ). I use them but I find the handle to be a bit thin for my grip and I let the blade twist in my hand while doing more intricate work and often leave a tag on my skin from nicking myself with the blade. I will be shopping for replacements when I get to the knife shops again. Paring knives are mini work horse blades and you might want to consider buying a few of that model that you like….you will use them often.
These are the basic knives that get you by most situations. Later I will introduce my specialty blades but here we chat only basics. Other cooking professionals might argue that you need a carving knife and a boning knife…I suggest that they are specialty blades.
I will continue the kitchen equipment basics in PART 2 of this blog