Knives The Chefs Main Tools of the Trade

When most people think of knives, what comes to mind is usually basic information that's not particularly interesting or beneficial. But there's a lot more to knives than just the basics. Is everything making sense so far? If not, I'm sure that with just a little more reading, all the facts will fall into place. Everyone knows that the very most important tools to a chef are knives. Forget about the cheap, disposable paring knives used by the dozens by restaurant line servers. An executive chef leans more toward the likes of the Denka No Hoto chef knives that run about $430 for a handmade 13" piece of cutlery touted as "among the finest in the world.

" Some chefs get so possessive of their knives, they refuse to allow anyone else to clean them other than themselves, fearing the sought-after, razor-like edge may be marred or damaged. Professional chefs advise investing from at least $250 to $400 for a good set of quality knives that includes a paring, filleting, French, carving, and bread knife, as well as a sharpening steel and a fork. And this is a "starter" set. As a chef gains more experience - and makes more money! - he or she soon begins to covet the hundreds-of-dollars-per-individual-knife cutting instruments. Sharpening steels come as adjuncts to knives, and it is not a one-kind-sharpens-all proposition, either.

Steels must match the type of knife they are to sharpen. Coarser steel is used for butcher knives, for instance, while finer steel works better on paring knives. So along with your knives, you should also keep on hand the proper steels with which to keep them in excellent condition.

Cheap knife sets only mean trouble in the long run, so go ahead, take the leap, and make the investment. When buying, always inspect the blades and look for less alloys (metal mixes) in the composition and more tempered carbon stainless steel, instead. With a poor knife, you spend a lot of time sharpening it because it just won't hold an edge.

Say you're in a hurry (as most chefs are) and don't sharpen it, then use it anyway. You may wind up cutting yourself - badly. One trip to the emergency room, and no one will ever need to warn you again about using dull knives. As one chef said, "A good knife is like a good dog. Treat it well, and it's your friend forever." Mandolines, while not knives, perform much the same function.

These instruments slice, dice, and julienne vegetables, fruits, and meats to the user's specifications - and are totally hand-operated, no electricity required. Food sliced using a mandoline comes out looking neat and uniform and cooks more evenly during deep-fat frying or sautéing. While a professional chef would most likely opt for the $200 variety found at restaurant supply houses, mandolines can be bought for as low as $30, but just like knives, it's best to buy quality over cheapness - which always winds up costing you more in the end. Chefs use many tools besides knives - blenders, mixers, food processors, colanders, all kinds of hand tools such as whisks, spatulas, wooden spoons, and so on, but what struck one professional chef as his second most-needed, on-the-job tool after knives? A good attitude. This chef says that with a good approach to his profession, he is free to thrive on the adrenaline rush of busy nights at work, knowing he's in top form, and always being on the lookout for ways to improve. Now that's some sharp tool! Now you can be a confident expert on knives.

OK, maybe not an expert. But you should have something to bring to the table next time you join a discussion on knives. In the meantime you can find out more by visiting the web site listed below. Keith Londrie II has worked and researched the subject of chefs.

To learn more information, please visit the new site for culinary information at http://define-culinary-arts-program-schools-restaurant-management .info/ .

By: Keith Londrie


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