“A kitchen without a knife is not a kitchen.”
—Masaharu Morimoto, Iron Chef and restaurateur
It's hard to imagine running a restaurant kitchen without good chef's knives, serrators and other slicing and carving knives. That's why most cooks have their own, and care for and maintain them with almost fanatical devotion. Here are some tips for taking care of the cook's best friends.
Care and Maintenance
Following a few care and maintenance steps will help prolong the life of your knife and ensure excellent performance.
- Don't leave your knives in the kitchen sink.
Not only is it dangerous for whoever washes the dishes, it's also bad for your knives -- the blade can get scratched, or worse, the tip can bend or break. As soon as you're finished using your knife, wash it, dry it and put it away in safe place.
- Don't store your knives in the utensil drawer.
Throwing your knives in any drawer, mixed in with other utensils, is one of the worst things you can do. The blade can easily get scratched and dented from being jostled around in the drawer every time you open it. If you don't have any other place to store your knives at least use a knife sheath to guard the blade.
- Always wash your knives by hand.
The dishwasher might be convenient, but there's a high risk that the blade will get dinged during the wash cycle. Wash your knives by hand and the blade will thank you.
- Don't leave your knives to dry in the dish rack.
You run the risk of dulling the blade when the knife shares space with other utensils in the utensil bin. Dry your knife immediately after washing, to prevent any mold or mildew from forming, and put it away.
- Sharpen the blade.
It's like a tune-up for the knife. There are many ways to do this: using a honing steel, a knife stone, or even send it out to a professional.
- Always cut on cutting boards.
Don't cut on your countertop -- just don't do it. Marble, granite or any solid surface is too hard for the blade. Stick with wood cutting boards, they're the gentlest.
Storing Your Knives
There are three basic ways to store knives. Wall-mounted magnetic strips, drawer inserts and countertop knife blocks.
You should always consider the safest knife storage option for your home. If you need to keep knives away from children or even pets, keeping them in a drawer is likely your best option.
When you think of knife storage you probably picture a classic knife block. This is probably the most popular method of knife storage, especially since many knife sets are sold in their own block.
One thing to remember: the knife block that came with your cutlery set will limit you to only those knives.If you have a large or varied collection of knives, consider a knife block with a center that allows for multiple knife sizes.
If you have the space, a magnetic knife strip mounted on the wall above your counter is a great way to store your knives. It looks stylish and it saves counter space, too. Plus, you'll be able to see each blade. That means you won't need to remember which blade went where in a drawer or block slot.
Basically, use it, wash it, dry it, store it. If you follow those steps, your knife will prove to be worth every penny.