Amateur chefs are considered one of the backbones of the culinary industry. To aspire to be a chef is already an admirable decision, but becoming one is far beyond exceptional. Bringing a great dish on one’s plate is not an easy job since it requires talent, passion, and perseverance.
As you start your career as an amateur chef, cooking is now more than just a hobby. You’ll not only cook for others, but you’ll also need to prove yourself. Some even attempt to build their portfolio through cooking competitions. Just like how an artist chooses his musical instrument, selecting your go-to kitchen tools is a crucial step. It’s something you should never ever overlook.
Now that you’re in the starting line, knives are more than just a part of your daily life. They are now the extension of your talented hands. These tools help you produce the best possible outcome as they get the meal prep done faster with greater precision.
I get it. It’s tempting to buy a knife block or a knife set and skip the careful selection part. These sets often make decision-making more manageable. However, what you don’t know is that sets and blocks usually come with knives that might not become useful on your end. It might seem like a bargain at first, but in the long run, you’ll realize that they just occupy a massive space in your kitchen drawers. Worst, it could be something that could put your starting career in danger.
Equip Yourself With These 5 Essential Knives
Your knives will accompany you every day. It’s your greatest weapon on the battlefield, so you need to be attentive and selective. After all, an appetizing and sumptuous meal is prepared using a great knife. In your first knives as a chef, you should look for knife versatility, durability, and ease of use. I’ve listed five kitchen knives you should invest in to help make your adventure as a chef a beautiful and smooth sailing one.
This isn’t an exaggeration. If you ask any professional Chef what they would pick if they were only allowed to use one knife for the rest of their lives. They’ll choose Chef’s knife instantly. Known for its versatility, Chef’s knives are considered to be an all-rounder in kitchen tools and the go-to of most chefs.
You’ll need a good Chef’s knife in your kitchen, for it is capable of all knife-related tasks. With a general blade length of 8 inches, you can quickly perform basic knife tasks like cutting, slicing, dicing, mincing, and chopping. Expect your meal prep to be more efficient with a good Chef’s knife.
There are 2 main types of Chef’s knives you can use according to your own discretion.
German knives will be the ideal choice if you prefer thicker blades that can efficiently mince garlic and cut through chicken bones.
If you need a lightweight and razor-sharp tool, a Japanese Knife might be perfect. Its blade is thin and straight, ideal for precise tasks like slicing fish and vegetables.
As a chef, you'll always work with meat and poultry. In the delicate removal of meat from the bones, you'll need to use a well-crafted boning knife.
Boning knives come with thin and long blades and a sharp point making piercing meat easier and faster. Its edge is specifically designed to separate meat's ligaments and connective tissues from bones.
You must be aware that you'll need an extremely sharp and tough blade to cut through the raw meat and bones. All these are possible with the help of a boning knife. And if you require a knife to use in fileting a fish, you can rely on your boning knife.
Who would’ve thought that a tiny knife is a valuable and essential part of most chefs’ knife collections? Paring knives are commonly used to prepare fruits and vegetables and should be part of your collection.
With its narrow blades, you can easily change the direction of your hands mid-cut. It’s the ideal knife for peeling and removing seeds. No need to worry about accidental cuts, since even peeling a strawberry is easy peasy with this one. If you’re interested in food decorations, a paring knife can also help you improve your talent. This knife is precise and is expected to give you the best possible outcome.
Scalloped and toothlike edged knives are usually associated with bread slicing. The reason why they are often referred to as bread knives. You might not know that serrated knives are also helpful in slicing citrus fruits. The rough and slick skin of citrus fruits is quite challenging to cut, but it’s a piece of cake when sliced through to the saw-like edges of a serrated knife.
Serrated knives are thinner and more delicate than a Chef’s knife. As an amateur chef, you’ll encounter the need to prepare some pastry. And for lesser crumbs, you’ll need a serrated knife.
If you’re dealing with dense meats, a carving knife is the best tool for the job. Also known as slicing knives, carving knives are considered the longest knives, with 8 to 15 inches blades. Uniform and clean slices of meat are possible with the help of its narrow width and sharp point.
Aside from evenly sized slices of meat, a carving knife is also ideal for slicing cakes. Its long blade can cut a perfect piece in just one glide.
Summing It All Up
The road to becoming a fantastic chef is only attainable if you equip yourself with a good set of knives. And as an amateur chef, you must work with the best tools available.
Now that you’re familiar with the knives I mentioned above, you’re one step ahead with chef’s, boning, paring, serrated, and carving knives. These knives are essential in your journey and will empower you to reach all your culinary aspirations.