Friday, December 30, 2011


A chef's most important tool is a knife.  There are many kinds of knives, each with their own special job:

boning knife - for boning say a chicken
chef's knife - for pretty much every job
filet knife - fileting fish, fine cutting
paring knife - fine cutting, small cuts
carving knife - for carving meats
sashimi knife - for cutting thin pieces of fresh fish

Left to right: paring knife, boning knife, chef knife, carving knife, filet knife, serrated knife.

There are many more kinds of knives but the above knives can all be found in my collection.

The other most important knife is a SHARP knife.  I know, I know, most people are afraid of a sharp knife, they think they will cut themselves.  Well I have news for you, you are more likely to cut yourself with a dull knife than a sharp knife.  Why you say?  Think about cutting into a lemon, a dull knife will slip off that thick rind, a sharp knife will grab and cut right away, quickly and cleanly.  Even if you cut yourself with a sharp knife, it's a clean fine cut that heals cleanly and quickly, a cut from a dull knife results in an ugly cut that will leave a scar and take a long time to heal.  Then there is the tomato, ever tried to saw through a tomato with a dull knife...a sharp knife will leave a clean cut, no damage to the fruit whatsoever.  A sharp knife makes a lot of work go faster and believe it or not, less tears from cutting an onion.

I'm sure most people wonder how to keep their knives sharp or how to take those dull 'knives' in their drawers sharp.  There are places to take your knives to bring back the edge if they are really bad, I go to a place called Knife (  Those guys love a sharp knife.  

In November I took a knife sharpening class, just to see how much better I can do with sharpening my knives.  So here's the scoop:  buy yourselves 2 sharpening stones a 1000 grit and a 4000 grit, you can buy these online from Lee Valley or when you drop in at Knife you can buy your stones there, they may seem expensive but will last you pretty much forever, so it's a great investment.

Left to right: 1000 grit and 4000 grit

Wet your Whetstone, 1000 grit, take 3 pennies and lay the knife on an angle and that will determine the angle to sharpen:

Sharpen following the curve of the blade, if you are right handed 70% of the sharpening should be on the right side.

For the other side of the knife, use 2 pennies to determine the angle:

Polish using the 4000 stone the same way as above.  VOILA!  If you just polish with the 4000 stone once or twice a week you will never have a dull knife and a sharp knife makes life so much easier.

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