What Are Chef Knives Used For Exactly?

* This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure here.*

The incredibly versatile Chef’s (also called Cook’s) Knife is the go-to tool of most professional chefs because it can do a whole lot of tasks including chopping vegetables, slicing meat into slivers, disjointing certain poultry parts, mincing herbs, and so many others.

Many ancient cultures used blades for domestic chores. But it’s quite apparent that the design was based on their swords that were only made slightly smaller, a whole lot lighter, and easier to wield.

Based on this observation, the all-purpose Chef’s Knife seemed to have come from Solingen, the European City of Blades that is located in Germany.

In fact, its counterpart in Japan – the Gyuto – was created by local bladesmiths because they saw how efficient the western cook’s blade is.

But not a lot of people focus on where this originated because its most consequential feature is what it can do in the kitchen. And that’s a whole lot of things.

See more: the best chef knives for your kitchen

Construction

Normally chef knives have 8 inches long and 1-inch wide blades but in certain cases, the length of its blade can vary from 6 inches to 14 inches.

The shape of the blade of western chef knives is of two types – German and French. The entire cutting edge of the blade of German-style knives is continuously and deeply curved whereas that of French-style knives is curved up to the tip and straight up to the end.

None of them is considered the best as every chef uses them as per his personal choice.

Uses

Chef knives can be used perfectly for slicing, chopping, mincing, and dicing almost anything.

Though they are considered multipurpose knives still they should not be used for peeling vegetable skin. You can use the knives used for smaller tasks to peel the vegetables.

Techniques to use chef knives

The technique of using chef knives depends on the personal preferences of the user. Most cooks use their thumb and index finger to grip the blade of the knife to control it more precisely.

The rest of the fingers are placed below the bolster of the finger guard of the handle of the knife. This style of the handling chef knife is commonly known as pinch grip.

The chefs who have not undergone culinary training usually hold the handle of the chef knife with all of their four fingers and thumb under all the fingers.

Last Updated on August 12, 2021

  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Knife Knowledge
  4. »
  5. What Are Chef Knives Used For Exactly?

My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.