Kitchen Knife Qualities

There are many varieties of kitchen knives required for efficient work in a kitchen or culinary environment – these range from 3” acutely pointed knives for detailed display work with fruits and vegetables to large 12 inch or greater gyutos, chef’s knives and cleavers.

Each knife for optimum performance requires it’s dimensions and qualities be engineered for the task. A chef’s knife will be a general purpose tool with a relatively fine point for addressing stems and trimming of vegetables while having sufficient belly for quick rocking chops of small quantities of food while being durable enough to break down chickens and primal cuts of meat.

In comparison, a slicer will be lighter in the hand with a finer terminal edge, sharpened to a more acute degree with a slimmer spine and smaller handle profile where less leverage is needed and precision and speed of handling is desired. A lighter tool designed for repeated pull cuts or peeling operations like a nakiri will perform tasks that a chef’s knife will not do so safely, and vice versa.

The required properties for optimal performance will vary based on the designed purpose of the knife – from blade steel, spine thickness, degree of edge angle, thickness of the blade at the terminal point behind the sharpening bevel, handle configuration and blade shape all play a role in building high performance into a knife.