With the right kitchen tools, a cook at home can feel like a professionally trained chef and create meals to match. Chef knives are indispensable cutlery items that let you chop, slice and dice like a trained chef. Williams-Sonoma has an excellent selection of different materials and blade styles, letting you equip your kitchen with the right tools to prepare your dishes perfectly.
Chef’s knives have long, sharp blades that are ideal for cutting and slicing a variety of ingredients, including meat, vegetables, fruits and herbs. The blade on this style of knife is broader than slicing or utility knives, making it practical for preparing different ingredients. Because of its versatile design, a chef’s knife makes an excellent first addition to your cutlery drawer or block. It is a fantastic multi-purpose cook’s tool that can perform a variety of culinary tasks.
Most chef’s knives are comprised of stainless-steel blades. This material is both durable and strong, offering years of heavy use. High-carbon stainless-steel can make an excellent choice for home chefs who regularly work with tough ingredients. The extra carbon in the alloy offers additional durability and helps maintain a sharp blade. Knife handles are made of a variety of materials. Popular options include wood, stainless-steel, molded resin and nylon.
Although chef’s knives share similar blade designs, there are a variety of cutting edge options to choose from. Straight edges are flat and sharp, which is handy for slicing meats and hard vegetables. Serrated edges have wavy-looking teeth, which are useful for slicing delicate ingredients such as fruit. Hollow edges, also known as Granton edges, have hollowed out sections along the blade. These prevent ingredients from sticking to the metal as you slice.
Because most chef’s knives are made of materials such as stainless-steel, they are very easy to care for. To maintain your blade’s sharpness, carefully hand wash the cutlery in warm, soapy water, and stick to mild dish soaps. Harsh detergents can wear away at the blade, causing it to dull over time. If your blade loses its sharpness, you can restore it to its former glory with a sharpening tool such as a honing steel, electric sharpener or whetstone. Williams-Sonoma offers a large collection of sharpening tools to help you maintain your cutlery.
Proper storage can help you prevent injury and extend the lifespan of your blade. Knife blocks are popular choices, as they are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. A block makes an attractive addition to your countertop and offers easy access to the tools that you use most often. This option also keeps blades from rubbing against one another, which prevents dulling. If you store your knives in a drawer, consider choosing a knife organizer or knife roll to keep inside your drawers. These types of storage options keep your blades safe and secure while they are not in use. A magnetic strip can work well around your food preparation area, as it offers instant access to your chef’s knife. This option also works well in small spaces, as it takes up much less space than other knife storage options. If your space is severely limited, choose a chef's knife with a sheath. A sheath covers the blade while it is not in use, making it safer to store in a drawer or utensil holder.
When choosing a chef’s knife, you should also be sure to select the right accessories to go with it. Choosing a cutting board is just as important as choosing the knife itself, as the material can affect your blade’s lifespan. Chopping on stone and other hard materials causes the blade to dull over time, so softer materials make better options for sharp kitchen knives such as chef’s knives. Wood is a popular option, as it can endure regular chopping and slicing without dulling knives. Wood-fiber composite and synthetic materials are also excellent choices for maintaining sharp blades.