10 Essential Things You Should Know About Your Chef’s Knife

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Your chef’s knife is perhaps the most important and beloved tool in your kitchen, so naturally you want to be thoroughly schooled on every aspect of it. To help you out, we rounded up all the top intel on how to buy, care for, store, sharpen, clean, and use a chef’s knife. Remember, this is the tool that will potentially be with you for your entire lifetime, so it’s best to get really well-acquainted, really quick.

Whether it costs $20 or $200, all chef’s knives have the same basic parts and construction. From the point to the butt, take this comprehensive walk through the anatomy of a knife.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

There are plenty of details that distinguish a chef’s knife and a santoku knife, such as size, angle, and geometry. But they also have a lot in common and, for many, they are basically interchangeable. There is one big thing that distinguishes them, however, and the only way to find it out is to give them both a try.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Technically, if it’s well-maintained, a chef’s knife should last a lifetime. But occasionally things happen to them that cause their permanent retirement. Here’s everything you need to look for in a damaged knife to determine its worthiness.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

There are several things to consider when buying a new knife such as cost, frequency of use, and how experienced you are. But there is one very important consideration that will make or break your knife-buying situation every time. Do you know what it is?

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Buying a new knife is a big decision — some would argue it’s even an investment — so when it comes to that final moment, how can you be sure you’ve found the right knife for you? Here are six questions to ask yourself before you take the plunge.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Your chef’s knife can last your lifetime and beyond — if you take care of it, that is. Here our knife experts weigh in on the five most important things to do to be sure that you’re handling, cleaning, and storing your knife properly.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

It’s likely that more than any tool in your kitchen, your chef’s knife is the one that will get the most use. So it’s important that you know how to use it and avoid these all-too-common mistakes.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

More than anything, knowing how to keep your knives sharp is a kitchen skill well worth developing. Sure, you can take them to a pro, but that’s not always convenient or in the budget. Even better, once you learn a few important steps, sharpening your knives isn’t that difficult or complicated. In fact, it can be a very soothing and meditative task.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

It’s quite straightforward: There’s a wrong way to store your knives and there’s a right way to store you knives. Here we look at three common knife storage solutions — the knife block, the magnetic strip, and the drawer insert — and help you decide which one is best for you.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

You can have the best knife in the world, but you’re still going to need something to cut on. Are all cutting surfaces created equal? What is the most important thing to consider? We finally set the record straight on which is the best kind of cutting board: plastic, wood, or bamboo.