This is an important subject to me. Knives. Everyone has them, but they aren’t all the same. I can cook in an old pan, a beat up pot, a rusty BBQ with one wheel, or an oven with no oven rack (not really), but I really really struggle without my knives! In m eyes, one of the most important investments on your culinary journey.
What type do I need and why do I need it? Well there are a thousand(or more) different options out there. Of course the Japanese have knives specific to how they prep food, the French have theirs, the Germans have theirs, and so on and so on. We don’t have time for that here. Your basic, basic, basic, if you had to only get 2 knives, are as follows in order of importance:
1) 8” Chef’s knife
2) Paring knife
3) Bread knife (bonus if you really want but not absolutely necessary to start).
You can add a filet knife, a 9-10” carving knife, a santoku, cleaver etc after the basics but those first 2 can do everything you need.
I personally have two 8” chef knives, a 3.5” paring knife, a bread knife, a 7” santoku, a 10” carving knife (an old beater). I use the first two 85% of the time. The others were acquired over the past number of years. Yeah, yeah. Why TWO chef’s knives. Well I had a good chef’s knife, but have been after Japanese knives for a very long time. I had the opportunity to get a great deal on the Miyabi chef’s knife in the pic above and I couldn’t pass it up. I honestly use it the most. It has an amazing edge and slices tomato like it was warm butter. I use the German chef knife (Zwilling Pro) for all of the tough jobs like cutting against bone, through pits, or hard root veggies. I don’t need it, but it saves wear and tear on my prized Miyabi.
The paring knife is of the same brand and style as my chef’s knife. Miyabi. This little thing is like a razor. It can peel the skin off of a tomato as easily as it can skin an apple. It’s an awesome little knife for small jobs. As I said above, if you can part with the money to get a paring knife, do so. The chef’s knife can peel an apple, no problem. But it is like trying to stab a pea with a salad fork. A little too big for the job.
The 7” santoku is a new addition (Zwilling Pro Blonde – thank you Zwilling!). It’s great for almost everything the chef’s knife is good at but I use it for slicing softer “wet” veggies that tend to stick to the blade. The granton (hollowed edge) doesn’t allow complete contact with the sliced food and thus sticks less. Makes prep that much quicker and easier. I have had potatoes stick to my Miyabi like glue. Not this blade. The curve of this blade is a lot less than the chef’s knife though, so this is not as good for chopping herbs and onion in a rocking technique. That said, it is an awesome slicer. I love it. It has definitely proven its worth.
I will continue to discuss knives as I add to my collection. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or email. I will try to respond to everything. So if you have any or all of the knives listed above, go sharpen them! If you don’t and can spare a little (or a lot depending on your taste) money, go get yourself a present. You won’t be sorry that you did.2