Food & Drink

The One Knife Every Home Cook Should Have, According to These French Chefs

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Take it from this French culinary college grad: French cooks are critical about correct knife work. In reality, crucial classes at my alma mater concerned mastering the positive artwork of a correct julienne, macedoine, and brunoise. It’s not simply an obsession: Exact knife cuts assist to make sure that meals cooks evenly. They often even make it style higher, they usually end in a pretty-looking dish. 

Knife work isn’t all within the wrist: It actually does assist to have a high-quality knife that’s snug to make use of. It’s additionally useful to have a knife that retains a pointy blade. Realizing that the French take their chopping, dicing, and mincing very severely, I requested two French cooks about their favourite knives. They’ve totally different cooking kinds, so I’ll admit I used to be very interested in what kind they’d select.

I used to be shocked to study that they each selected the identical kind of knife. And I used to be floored to study it wasn’t French-made. J’ai une shock: In keeping with the French cooks I consulted, the most effective knife for any and all kitchen duties is a Japanese-style knife. They each named the santoku knife!

Learn extra: What’s the Difference Between a Chef’s Knife and a Santoku Knife?

The Santoku Knife as an All-Function Knife

Japanese santoku knives appear to be nearly the one factor cooks agree on — and it’s not simply the French. This knife has critical road cred. I’ll even admit that in my first “actual” restaurant job, I obtained laughed out the door for utilizing a giant, clunky 9-inch Western-style knife. “Get a santoku, brah,” was the final consensus from my fellow line cooks. (I did, and I’ve cherished it ever since!)

Santoku interprets to “three virtues,” which means the knife is equally adept at working with meat, fish, and greens. The blade’s profile seems like a gently sloping hill, quite a pointy slant, like Western-style knives. Though Santoku knives are a favourite amongst professional cooks, it’s really an ideal selection for learners, or anybody nervous round a blade — the curved high retains your fingers removed from hazard. And Japanese knives, generally, are likely to have stellar edge retention, so you should utilize them for longer while not having to sharpen them that usually. However don’t take my phrase for it.

“The santoku is superb for greens, chopping, slicing, julienne and brunoise — nothing is an excessive amount of for this knife. It is rather exact and has an excellent grip on the deal with,” Chef Philippe Farinou, the chief chef at Ashford Castle advised me.  

Chef Cédric Vongerichten the chef and proprietor at Wayan is a fan, too. In an electronic mail, he stated, “For the final eight years or so, I’ve been utilizing the Masanobu VG-10, for my multi-purpose and on a regular basis knife. It’s a high-quality Japanese knife and is my favourite, most-used device within the kitchen.” 

What makes it so nice at, you recognize, slicing up meals? In contrast to Western-style knives, it’s proficient at each the vertical “chopping” movement and “choo-choo train-style slicing.” Though it tends to be lighter, thinner, and shorter than most chef’s knives, the santoku is a real workhorse. In the event you take excellent care of your santoku (hand-wash it then dry it instantly, retailer it away from different blades and edges, and sharpen it when crucial), it’ll final for years. You could even discover it’s the one knife you utilize.

Finest for Novices: Henckels Cast Premio 7-Inch Hole Edge, $39.99

This knife is made by Zwilling J.A. Henckels — a German, not Japanese maker. But it surely’s within the conventional santoku model, and the value is attractively low. It is a well-made, strong knife; an ideal choice to take for a take a look at drive and see if the santoku model is an efficient match for you.

Finest On a regular basis Knife: Made In 7-Inch Santoku, $99

This knife, by one in all our favourite cookware corporations, is definitely made in France. (Love a plot twist.) The scalloped edges assist keep that sharp edge for precision cuts, and you may select between two totally different deal with colours. 

Finest Improve: Shun Premier Blonde 7-Inch Santoku, $149.95

Shun blades are hand-hammered in Japan — the ensuing “pebbled” look is additional useful for releasing meals from the blade rapidly. (Which means cleaner cuts and fewer drag.) The deal with is made out of blonde wooden for a easy really feel and genuinely beautiful look. That is a fancy knife for these on the lookout for a particular improve.

Do you’ve gotten a santoku knife? Which one do you’ve gotten and what do you utilize it for?

Rochelle Bilow


Rochelle Bilow is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, the previous social media supervisor at Bon Appétit Journal and Cooking Mild Journal. She has additionally labored as a prepare dinner on a small farm in Central New York, and a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York Metropolis. Join along with her @rochellebilow.

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