Happy Friday Everyone! Today’s Kitchen Tip Friday’s post is from Michael Samsel, co-founder of Stylish Home. Michael shares his tips for selecting the best cutlery for your kitchen and one of my favorite kitchen tools–The Chef’s Knife. Every kitchen must have good quality knives.
Enjoy today’s post!
When you love to shop for kitchen gadgets, there’s no better mission than selecting new kitchen knives. Oh, the money you can spend, the attention – the trophy nature of the whole thing. But can’t the inexpensive “Chef’s Knife” found on sale, online do just the same thing… for a fraction of the price? Well, let’s discuss just that.
A Knife for Every Budget
The price variation from the most expensive of chef knives to a more common economical one is truly astounding. Take for example the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Damascus Chef Knife. With a suggested retail price of $1,400 and sale priced at $999, I didn’t think I need look much further to know this is the “best of class” comparable. The J.A. Henckels International Forged 8” Synergy Chef Knife, on the other hand, can be found on sale for $31. While there are cheaper knives, you would think the Henckels brand would be judicious in determining minimum quality… thus our point of reference. The difference here is 3,200%! This very expensive knife costs 32 times that of the same brand’s more modest version. If you were buying a car, this would definitely be the Ferrari – and even then, their top-of-the-line model.
But first, what on earth is a Damascus chef knife? Well, it so happens Damascus steel is the secret sauce of knife blades going back to the middle ages. It was alleged to be the strongest, sharpest, most shatterproof, and most resilient blade known to man – the stuff of legend. And they are still trying to discern what processes and minerals were combined to make it. The actual method is said to be lost, but a process called crucible forging is said to mimic it and this is what Henckels Damascus Knife is all about. And, I will take them at their word that this is a truly great knife.
Like the Damascus knife, the Synergy knife is a “full tang” knife meaning it is entirely constructed from a single piece of steel all the way through the handle. Looking at the full range of stainless steel qualities, it is not generally preferred because its softer versions while offering more overall strength will not hold an edge. And the harder versions will better hold an edge but can be weak overall and prone to shattering or chipping.
Tried and True High Carbon Steel
A high carbon steel blade is the most commonly used blade type by professionals as it holds an edge and is strong. A good one will be in the $100 price range. But unlike the mystery of Damascus steel, don’t look for them to cut gun barrels in two, or split a hair!
For Value, Buy a Set
Often times your best value comes in the form of a knife set. Your cost per knife can go down significantly, and if you direct your attention to the chef knife, taking cues from this discussion, the chances are the entire set will be of suitable and comparable quality.
Michael Samsel is a writer on the subjects of home design and green home practices. A co-founder of StylishHome.com, its “good design” mission emphasizes individual design personality, the eclectic and hand-made, and a commitment to green home pursuits.