One of the most important tools in the armoury of a professional chef is his or her knives. Without a good quality knife a chef is unable to work effectively.
Of course just about everything that a chef does involves cutting. And for this reason most professional chefs own a wide range of the highest quality knives.
To the uninitiated a knife might just seem like a knife. However to a professional chef they are anything but. There is a wide range of different styles of knife and each knife has its own uses.
Not only is there a very wide range of different types of knife but there are even different types of edge and blade.
Boning knives, paring knives, carving knives and fillet knives are just a very small selection of the different types of knives that may well be used by a chef every day.
And those are only the common knives. Santoku knives, Kiritsuke knives, Kurouchi knives, Nakiri knives, Sujihiki knives, Wa-Gyutos and more are some of the more esoteric types of knife used by various chefs around the world.
And then of course there’s the edge. Serrated edges, straight edges, Granton hedges, concave, convex edges, the list goes on.
And that doesn’t even begin to consider the material that is used in the knife blade.
As you’re beginning to see kitchen knives are not as simple as you might think. Also not as simple as you might think is sharpening a quality knife.
Of course your average home cook simply buys a manual or electric knife sharpener and get stuck into sharpening their knife. Most home cooks will ruin a quality knife in no time by doing this. Electric sharpeners, for example, if used wrongly, can ruin a fine edge of the knife blade very quickly by overheating it.
A professional chef knows that an expensive knife is a work of art and that sharpening it properly is a skill that is possessed by very few. It is a hard skill to learn and one which takes many years to perfect.
So for this reason many professional chefs send their knives out to a professional knife sharpening service every six months or so for professional sharpening. It’s easier that way than spending the time and effort required learning to do it yourself.
Of course it’s not cheap to send your knife collection to a professional knife sharpening service. However for a professional chef who relies on the quality of his knife edge every single day it is well worth the price.
For the average home cook it may not be. It’s still possible to sharpen a knife yourself, provided you have a quality knife sharpener and are prepared to put in a little work into learning how to use it. But don’t expect to buy a knife sharpener today and have knives that you can shave with tomorrow.
Take some time learning about how to sharpen a knife, research a little about how to find the best knife sharpener, (try here http://knifesharpenersguide.com/best-knife-sharpener), learn a little more about the difference between sharpening and honing a knife (here) and you’re well on your way.
But if you’re a professional chef it’s probably better just to send your knives out to sharpening service. Stick to what you know best, cooking.