I persuaded personal chef Lana Cullison, far beneath whom I was privileged to work during World on the Square, to write a post for me on the subject of choosing and caring for a Chef Knife.
ME: Lana, I was greatly impressed with how well your knife sliced through
my flesh the vegetables during prep work. Tell me something about professional kitchen knives.
LANA: When choosing a knife for kitchen use, choose one that will last, holds an edge, and fits well in your hand. The workhorse of knives in any kitchen should be the Chef Knife whose carbon stainless steel blade ranges from 4 to 12 inches in length on the average. It is designed to cut through fruits and vegetables with ease and make you look good doing it.
ME: Yes, red has always been my color.
LANA: The beauty of the knife is in the glint of the blade and the sound of the cool metal gliding through vegetable fibers as a hushed swoosh and tap, tap, tap as it dances across the cutting board. But the tool is not for the timid.
ME: Okay, now you’re scaring me. Speaking of things that scare me, I’m guessing a good knife is going to be pricey, yes?
LANA: The initial cost is justified by the workmanship involved in forging its blade impervious to rust and stains and to a hardness that holds a razor sharp edge. The handle is bolstered to the blade and houses the tang which runs from the spine of the blade. This swordlike structure gives the knife added strength and durability and the nature of the handle gives it character be it wood, steel, or hardened plastic.
ME: Swordlike, eh? I like the sound of that! So now we know what to look for and what to expect. How do we care for our kitchen sword?
LANA: This high performance tool never goes in the dishwasher, demands respect in its storage and transport, and requires skilled honing to maintain its keen edge between culinary tasks.
ME: Respect? I saw how you brought it to the kitchen: wrapped in aluminum foil!
LANA: That is a safety tip. The point and edge are protected with foil which is a buffer between the edge and the material you then place it in. Foil is to protect the towel in which holds the knife, otherwise the knife will cut through cloth or paper.
ME: Yeesh! How do you store it at home?
LANA: The knife is stored in a block at home or carried in a tool bag in a sheath (foil, cardboard or plastic).
ME: Any Thou-Shalt-Nots?
LANA: Dishwashers and not honing the edge regularly with a steel dulls a knife.
ME: Understood. Thank you so much for visiting me here today!
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Ask a professional to explain the important features and care of a tool important in his or her work.