Some believe that the heavier the knife, the easier it will be to cut foods. On the other hand, others deem a lighter chef knife easier to handle, maneuver and therefore less tiresome.
The part of a knife between the handle and blade, which not only serves to better balance the knife, but also acts as a barrier to prevent users’ hands from accidentally sliding onto the blade. However, Japanese style knives lack this feature.
Ceramic vs. steel
Ceramic blades are extremely hard, have a razor-sharp edge, do not rust, are stain resistant and are non-porous. The downside is, if the knife accidentally falls, chances are, it will shatter. Also, it cannot be used to cut frozen foods or debone meat as it will bend. On the other hand, steel blades are more affordable, easier to maintain, are dishwasher-friendly, yet can easily carry bacteria unlike the safer ceramic models.
Chef Titti Qvarnström
Who she is: A Swedish national, she is the second Nordic woman to date to receive a Michelin star, as co-owner and head chef of Bloom in the Park restaurant in Malmö.
Brand of choice: Kockkniv Classic from Morakniv Sweden
Reason: This brand offers the best fitting handle, allowing for extreme precision. It is a unique handmade kitchen knife inspired by the Japanese craft with materials from Scandinavia, the blades are made of fine carbon steel from Sweden and Germany. The shaft is formed from various exclusive pieces of wood and each shaft has a unique pattern.
Use: An all-round decent knife that has a solid blade and a firm grip allowing it to cope with a diverse range of foods.
Chef Joe Barza
Who he is: Native of Lebanon, Joe Barza is a chef, TV personality, culinary consultant and founder of various concept eateries.
Brand of choice: GLOBAL made in Japan
Reason: They are made using some of the best available material and have quite a modern design. What I like about this brand is that the knives are relatively light, yet extremely efficient admittedly somewhat pricey.
Use: Depends on the type of ingredient. A Japanese blade is ideal for the preparation of sushi and sashimi. Curved knives are specifically used for deboning meat and the bigger-sized knives are primarily used for chopping various vegetables.
A hammer grip is used to cut through something large and hard, but does not offer the user full control. Pinch grip offers complete control and is perfect for precision chopping. A point grip offers the user the highest level of control and precision, similar to a surgeon’s scalpel. The thumb grip knives are ideal for fast and accurate cutting.
Chef Youssef Akiki
Who he is: A well-known Lebanese chef who has worked alongside Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon and specializes in gluten and lactose free pastry.
Brand of choice: Myabi, merges rich Japanese tradition with expert German engineering
Reason: The most important element is to feel at one with the instrument, as it will become an extension of yourself. Therefore, it needs to be light so as not to exert any kind of pressure during use. What I like about Japanese knives is that they are individually handmade and use the finest Damascus steel.
Use: Also, when considering buying a set of knives, you will need to take into account the three types of food you will be working with and these are meat (red or white) and vegetables.
Chef Þráinn Freyr Vigfússon
Who he is: Co-founder of Sumac Grill, this Icelandic chef offers customers Nordic cuisine with a Middle Eastern infusions.
Brand of choice: Shun knives (Classic 7 in.) Japan’s largest blade producer
Reason: Offers users a nice grip and the knife is not too heavy, so it works quite well across the board. This might explain why I have been using the same knife for 13 years and counting.
Use: A multi-purpose knife that can be used for mincing, slicing and chopping vegetables, slicing meat…
Ideally, if the knife’s weight is tipping to the front or back, odds are it will require more control, which will prove to be more challenging to use.
An 8-inch chef’s knife is, generally speaking, the standard length. However, the rule dictates that the shorter the blade, the more agile the knife.
Chef Mikko Kosonen
Who he is: A Finnish chef who has prepared Nordic cuisine for ambassadors, politicians and royalty across the world, receiving numerous accolades for his masterful creations.
Brand of choice: Victorino by Swiss-brand Victorinox.
Reason: This high-end quality knife is easy to sharpen and works well for precision fish cutting.
Use: Primarily sea food.