How to Keep Your Knives in Good Shape
Every chef is only as good as his or her equipment. Just as an artist will have a very difficult time making great paintings with crayons, a caterer cannot make great food without the proper equipment. The cornerstone of that equipment is the knife. A chef’s knife is the backbone that holds everything together. There are specialised types of knives and equipment, such as paring knifes, melon peelers, and so on. All of these are great and do their jobs well, but they could all be replaced with a quality knife and a talented chef. You can do anything with the right knife. Knives tend to fall into three different categories: German, French, and Japanese. The knives are different and fit each chef differently. Japanese knives are more square but easier to chop with. German knives have large bellies and you can rock them back and forth for quick dicing. French knives are slender and lightweight for a chef who works quickly.
The knife you choose depends on your style, as well as the size of your hands. If your knife is too big or too small, it can be difficult to operate efficiently. So, once you pick the right knife, you should also buy some equipment to help you take care of it.
A knife steel is a tool designed to straighten your knife, as well as to sharpen it somewhat. To sharpen any knife, you need to create friction between your knife and a harder material. The harder material will remove the excess metal and hone the edge. Knife steels are typically made from a harder tool steel, or from a steel set with diamonds. They are not very efficient at sharpening your knives. Instead, they are used to straighten the edge. If you think of your knife’s edge as a blade of grass, eventually it can be bent from repeated use. To straighten the knife edge, you hone it against the knife steel that stands the knife edge up. They are one of the most common and most used pieces of wholesale catering equipment. You should get a quality knife steel when you buy your knife. You will want to hone the edge on the knife steel nearly every day, although the sharpening of your knives can be done less often.
Sometimes, you will need to sharpen your knives. Some chefs send their knives off to sharpening specialists and pay them hundreds of pounds every month to sharpen their knives. That’s just unnecessary. If you buy a quality sharpener, from a good supplier, you can sharpen your own knives. You should preferably buy it at the same time you buy your knife. The biggest concern with chefs sharpening their own knives involves the angle of the sharpening. You have to hone the knife at the perfect angle to ensure you get a good edge. However, most people cannot accomplish that without training. That’s why you should buy a knife sharpener designed for chefs. The whetstone is set at the proper angle for a chef’s knife. You won’t have to do anything except drag your knife through the sharpener a few times to get the proper edge.