The Best Chef’s Knife for Pro-Level Slicing and Dicing

Bon Appétit

Moritaka knives check all of Alfiero’s boxes and then some. He notes that they’re particularly easy to sharpen because of their 50/50 grind and large bevels—i.e., because the blade is sharpened at the same angle on both sides and the bevel’s degree is a rather large one, it’s a cinch to figure out the right angle at which to sharpen each side whenever your blade starts to dull.

“They are carbon steel,” notes Alfiero, “so they do need a little bit more care.” Like the Mac knife, you’ll want to fully dry a Moritaka before putting it away to prevent corrosion. Alfiero also cautions against stashing these knives in a drawer with, say, spoons fresh out of the dishwasher—any residual water may turn into steam, creating a humid environment that may discolor the knife’s carbon steel blade.

Specs

Blade Length: 8.25 inches
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Material: Hand-forged Aogami Super blue steel
Style: Hybrid, double-bevel


What’s the difference between Western- and Japanese-style knives?

Western-style knives

Also called German-style knives, these are double-beveled (meaning both sides are angled inward, meeting at the blade’s edge) and originated in Western Europe. German knives’ curved blades lend themselves to a rocking motion in which the tip of the blade does not leave the cutting board. The blades are also typically thicker than those of Japanese knives, and most are beveled at the same angle on both sides, which makes them easier to sharpen. That’s particularly advantageous because these knives are typically made of a softer steel than their Japanese counterparts, which makes them less brittle and more durable—but also means you’ll need to sharpen them more often. They also tend to be more heavy duty, which some people think makes them feel more stable, but is really a point of personal preference.

Japanese-style knives

Traditional Japanese knives are mostly single bevel (one side is straight while the other is angled), feature thin blades made of carbon steel, and are often used by professional restaurant chefs. They’re ideal for people who value sharpness and precision due to their lightweight nature and hard blades, which hold their edge for longer and require less frequent sharpening. The straighter shape of that edge means these knives lend themselves to an up-and-down slicing motion rather than the rocking technique you’d use with a Western-style knife.

Then there are Western-style Japanese knives like the ones featured here: These are double bevel, made of a more durable steel that’s simpler to maintain, and versatile. Some hybrid knives, though not the ones featured here, have asymmetrical edges, sharpened to two different angles, which contributes to the sharp blade. Two common shapes in the U.S. are the gyuto (which means “beef sword”) and the shorter santoku knife.

Alfiero likes and uses both single and double bevels, but his chef’s knives, paring knives, and butchering knives are all 50:50. “It’s just easier to maintain and sharpen,” he says. He also notes that it can be harder to learn to cut straight with a single bevel, particularly for vegetables: “You always have that angle pushing you backwards. Your knife kind of wants to go with that big hard bevel, so I prefer 50:50 for that stuff.”


How do you sharpen a chef’s knife?

Once you’ve found your perfect chef’s knife, show it the respect worthy of a prized kitchen tool. You can get your knives professionally sharpened, of course, but we’re of the opinion that you should only do so once a year, max—think of a professional sharpening as a haircut, whereas sharpening at home is more of a trim. A professional sharpener will remove more steel from the cutting edge than you would at home, which can affect the longevity of your knife. What tools do you need to maintain that new knife’s sharp edge at home, you might ask? Two things: A honing rod and a knife sharpener. And no, they are not interchangeable.

What is a honing rod?

A honing rod is used to keep an already-sharp knife in tip top shape by aligning the existing edge of your blade. Step right this way for more about honing rods.

What is a knife sharpener?

A knife sharpener—ideally a whetstone—is used to remove some of the blade’s steel through friction to create a new, sharper cutting edge.

Chef’sChoice Professional Electric Knife Sharpener

Looking to brush up on your knife skills? Head right this way. And if you’re looking to expand your kitchen knife collection even further, check out our favorite nakiri knives and bread knife.


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Author:Sarah Jampel, Alaina Chou | Website:www.bonappetit.com

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