What Knives Do Top Chefs Use?

Every chef has their own preferences when it comes to their tools in the kitchen.

And while tastes and needs will vary from kitchen to kitchen, most professional chefs out there have the same views when it comes to certain brands.

In fact, a lot of famous chefs around the world have been seen using the same knife brands in their kitchens.

And in this article, we’re taking a look at how top chefs choose their kitchen knives, as well as some of the best brands out there.

So if you’ve been wondering what knives famous chefs use, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on to learn more.

What Knives Do Famous Professional Chefs Use?

This is a tough question to answer because tastes can vary greatly in the culinary world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any constants out there.

For one, almost all famous chefs agree that the three most essential knives in the kitchen are the chef knife, paring knife, and serrated knife, so you’ll be seeing them use these blades a whole lot.

This is the same whether you’re cooking French cuisine or Japanese cuisine.

Of course, professionals also have their own set of specialized tools so you might see some chefs using carving, slicing, and boning knives, while others can be seen using cleavers, Nakiri, or a Gyutou.

When it comes to brands that professionals use, this will mostly depend on what construction and design they prefer, and it usually falls under two categories: German kitchen cutlery and Japanese kitchen cutlery.

German knives will generally be thicker and heavier, making them more durable and very sharp.

Japanese blades will be thinner and harder, giving them more sharpness and better edge retention, but they will be more susceptible to cracks and chips.

The top brands for German kitchen cutlery are Wusthof and Henckels, which is what most of the top-chefs are seen using, but don’t be surprised to find models by Messermeister and Gude as well.

For Japanese knives, most of the famous chefs will be seen using Shun and Yoshihiro, but Miyabi knives and Syosaku knives are also very popular.

How Do Chefs Choose Their Knives?

In this section, we’ll be taking a look at some of the specific characteristics famous chefs look for when shopping for kitchen cutlery.

Steel

This will probably be the most important material of any blade.

There are so many recipes out there for knife steel, and each of them has its own unique qualities.

Some are very easy to sharpen and have great edge retention, while others won’t be as high-quality but be much more affordable.

Most professionals and famous chefs will have no problem investing money for really high-quality blades, so they usually look for premium knife steels.

One of the best materials out there for blades is high-carbon stainless steel.

The carbon content will make the blade hard enough to have great edge retention but it won’t be too hard that it will be brittle.

There are lots of variations of high-carbon steel, but make sure to look out for AUS10, VG-10, VGMAX, or Bohler M390, as these are widely considered as the most premium choices.

Weight

This varies from chef to chef, so don’t be surprised if some use heavy blades while others use light ones.

While some cooks might find it more comfortable to have heavier models as they can also offer more control, you have to take into consideration the fact that they will usually be working very long hours in the kitchen and would don’t want to strain their arms and wrists or even risk injury.

That being said, most professionals out there are seen using chef knives that weigh anywhere between 5-8 ounces.

Functionality

This refers to the ergonomics and how practical a knife is.

This is a category that also overlaps with weight, as some blades are designed lighter to allow quicker and faster strokes, which is usually needed when doing prep work in a Japanese kitchen.

But there are also heavier blades out there designed to easily glide through heavy ingredients and offer a lot of control, which is a characteristic of German knives.

While weight is a very important factor, there are also other things professionals will consider when shopping for their kitchen tools.

For instance, another thing they look at is the handle.

There are a lot of different handle designs and materials out there that claim to be the most functional and ergonomic, but this is really something that is different for every chef.

Some will prefer octagonal handles while others prefer contoured sleek ones, it all depends on your cutting style as well as what grips feel more natural in your hand.

FAQ’s

1. What Knife Does Gordon Ramsay Use?

Gordon Ramsay is typically seen using German-made knives and brands.

His favorites that he is usually seen using are either made by Wusthof or Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

2. What Is The Difference Between A Chef Knife And A Santoku?

A Santoku is basically the Japanese equivalent to the Western chef knife.

While they are each other’s equivalent, they are also very different from each other.

A Santoku will generally have a thinner, shorter, and sharper blade with an octagonal handle, this is ideal for a lot of Japanese and Asian cuisine as it requires very precise cuts and slices.

They are also lighter to allow faster strokes as compared to German ones.

3. What Brands Do Most Professionals Use?

Professional chefs that prefer Japanese-style designs are usually seen using brands such as Shun, Yoshihiro, Miyabi, and Syosaku.

However, the ones who prefer the German-style designs use brands such as Wusthof, Henckels, Messermeister, and Gude.

Conclusion

And with that, our guide to the knives that famous chefs use comes to an end.

There are so many different chefs out there that hail from different parts of the world and bring their own unique culinary culture and style.

Different cooking styles and techniques will require different types of tools, which is why every chef can be seen using something different.

But what’s most important is that the blade their using is comfortable, functional, and can accomplish all their kitchen tasks, which is something that all of us should consider when looking for kitchen cutlery.

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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.