Professional chefs are fanatical about their knives, and they have to be to do their job properly. They choose the best they can get, and every one of them dreams of owning Japanese chef knives. Why? Because there are none better.
Most of these knives are made after the same style as the Japanese katana, the sword of the samurai. They’re steel forged around a softer, iron core, giving it both flexibility and strength.
Why Choose Japanese Knives
Japanese chef knives are in a variety of sizes, for specific purposes. From slicing sashimi to removing bones, there is a knife for it. Made with a single-bevel edge, these knives cut easier, smoother, and require little to no force. When you’re in a kitchen for 15 hours, anything that can make life easier is sought after.
Using a specific knife for each task gives greater precision and speed, and improves the flavor. Just as the baker needs the right saucepans and bowls, so does the chef need the correct knife.
Types of Knives
There are two primary ways the knives are forged, honyaki and kasumi. Honyaki knives are forged from only a single material, either blue or white steel, though these can be rigid. Kasumi knives are made from two materials, as mentioned above. This type is more durable than the honyaki blades.
There are three main blade styles that every chef should start with: the deba, the yanagiba, and the usuba. Each has its purpose, and they can greatly add to any chef’s knife collection.
The deba knife is heavier, with a short, wide blade. It’s primarily used for removing fish heads and filleting. The yanagiba knife is long, thin, and narrow. Perfect for sashimi and sushi. The usuba knife looks more like a cleaver and is used for vegetables. This knife is used to finely peel and slice for garnishes and salads.
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