If you’ve ever had to chop vegetables with a blunt knife, you’ll know the importance of having a decent kitchen knife. Not only that, you’ll want one that lasts you a long time. A professional kitchen knife can be more expensive, but the benefits certainly outweigh the price. Whether you’re scoring meat or dicing your favourite vegetable, you’ll need the best tool for the job.
Of course, you could look for the perfect knife block set and have the best of them all. But what is the most vital knife to have in the kitchen? What are some handy accessories? And what’s the best choice between the Damascus steel knife and the Santoku knife? That’s what we’ll guide you through here.
The most vital kitchen knives to own
Every kitchen needs primary tools; a good pan, a good pot, a decent cutting board - the list could go on. But there are primary everyday kitchen knives you need too, and they’re deceptively the smallest of the bunch. With a chef knife set, you’ll always have two knives - a paring knife and a utility knife. But what’s the difference?
We’ll begin with the paring knife - made for precise peeling, coring, mincing herbs, hulling strawberries, scoring meat, and more. The small 8-10 centimetre design ensures meticulous cutting and slicing for every occasion and is known as a ‘must-have’ in the kitchen.
The utility knife is longer than the paring knife and is used mainly for slicing tender pieces of meat, cutting sandwiches, or slicing fruit. It’s known as the ‘knife-of-all-trades’ and, like the paring knife, is an everyday go-to in the kitchen.
Any knife block set will contain both of these knives, so if you’re purchasing a set, you’ll have both departments. Keep in mind the quality of the tools are crucial too. When purchasing a knife that you’re guaranteed to use each and every day, you want to ensure that it will last a long time with easy sharpening methods and without rusting. For the perfect set of everyday knives in your kitchen, view our collection here.
Why Damascus Steel knives are popular
Damascus steel is either produced by forge-welding different types of steel and then twisting and manipulating the metal, or by flattening and folding a single type of steel to create the layers you see on the knife. The refolding of steel provides the added benefit of evening out all impurities. Damascus blades are sharpened with a whetstone, but a drawcard for this particular knife is that they hold their edge. Because Damascus steel knives are made from the inner core of high carbon and coated by softer stainless steel, the blade holds its edge while the stainless steel prevents the blade from chipping. While many years ago, the Damascus steel was designed for swords, today the techniques are used primarily for aesthetic reasons. The blades are famous for the swirl patterns created by the unique processing methods. Who doesn’t want a gorgeous knife in their kitchen? With the chip-proof blade, sharp edge, and beautiful design, a Damascus steel knife will bring a gorgeous and useful centrepiece to your kitchen.
Santoku Knife: a Japanese art
The Santoku knife is a step up from your standard chef’s knife. The thinner blade is designed for precise and refined slicing, and the knives are perfectly balanced in weight. Compared to a chef’s knife, the Santoku knife is lighter, allowing for less pressure on the wrist. One of the best benefits of a Santoku knife is the Granton edge which prevents food from sticking to the knife while slicing.
Let’s talk bevel. Bevel is the ground surface that produces the knife's edge. While chef’s knives can be found in single-bevel, the Santoku knife can be in single and double bevels. A single bevel Santoku knife can be sharpened up to 15 degrees on one side, allowing for the famous Japanese wafer-thin slices, while a double-bevel chef’s knife can only be sharpened to 30 degrees.
The absence of a tip aids in faster and more efficient slicing with the Santoku knife. Chef’s knives require ‘the rocking method’ when slicing food while one can slice food with a single downward cut using the Santoku knife. Most Santoku knives make use of an ergonomic handle, providing maximum comfort and the strongest grip.
Making the Choice
Deciding on the perfect kitchen knife for your collection can be confusing, but it depends on what you value in your kitchen. While the Santoku knife is beautiful, the Damascus steel knife has a unique beauty of its own. If you want to slice a fruit so thin you can see the blade through it, the Santoku knife is your go-to. Of course, your everyday paring and utility knives are a definite ‘must-have’ in the kitchen, and you can get the perfect pair plus a chef’s knife in our collection here.