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Carve up a Masterpiece in the Kitchen with the Proper Knives

From professional chef to at-home amateur, every cook needs the proper tools of the trade to prepare amazing meals both big and small. The right set of knives can make the world of difference in your day-to-day preparation and can last you a lifetime. Well-made knives not only look and feel great in your hand, they are more safe to use, retain their edge for longer, and can be more cost-effective in the long term.

Your Basic Knives

Not everyone needs a full knife set, so consider arming yourself with a few quality knives to cover the majority of your prepping and cooking. A well-constructed chef’s knife allows you to dice and julienne veggies, and chop meat with ease. Varying in size, a typical chef’s knife is between 6 and 12 inches and has a centre tip to rock over the surface. A small paring knife makes quick work of all your delicate tasks, like peeling and pitting fruit. Paring knives come in a wide range of widths and the length is typically between 3 and 5 inches so there’s one for every small job.

Your Specialty Knives

Once you’ve mastering the uses of your chef’s knife and paring knife, it might be time to round out your collection. Nothing can quite cut soft breads into even slices like the serrated edge of a bread knife. Similar to a chef’s knife, a slicing or carving knife is great for slicing meats, but unlike the narrow tip of a chef’s knife, a carving knife does not narrow. For anyone who prepares a lot of salads, soups, and vegetables, a santoku knife with a hollow edge to reduce friction is ideal for slicing, dicing, and mincing with speed and accuracy. If you’re looking to tackle a variety of preparations from the start, then a knife set is a great investment in your skills and future.

Knife Material and Construction

While knives come in many different shapes and sizes, they are also available in a variety of materials. Stainless steel is a common construction material because it is durable, long-lasting and does not rust, but it will require regular sharpening to keep it optimal. Ceramic knives are lightweight and require the least amount of sharpening, making them a great low-maintenance investment. Knives are constructed as either full tang or half tang designs, which can affect the balance and weight of each knife. Full tang knives have blades that continue the length of the handle, while half tang knives have blades that end where the handle begins. Knives are constructed by either being forged or stamped, and both techniques have their own benefits. Forged knives are formed with layers of steel around a carbon core, the same process used to create samurai swords, and have a durable, sturdy build. While forged knife production tends to be labour-intensive and expensive, stamping is a more cost effective option where the knife is made from a large sheet of stainless steel. Stamped knives are more difficult to sharpen and have more flexibility than their forged counterparts.

Investment and Care

Quality knives are an investment that deserves to be cared for. Many factors contribute to the evaluation of a knife, including materials, construction, durability and longevity, so take the time to figure out what is most important to you. It is best to hand-wash your blades to help prevent bending and dulling that can occur in the dishwasher. Keeping your knives sharp means better performance and fewer accidents, so be sure to sharpen your knives or take them to a professional to keep them in tip-top condition.

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