A cook’s foundation is of course our ingredients.
Nothing more and nothing less. But there are tools that help us shape these ingredients, work with them and mould them. Knives matter and a lot of mystic has built up around them.
I have a large collection but truthfully regularly use only three. Simply put:
- A large knife for cutting meat and large items generally (17cm blade)
- A small knife for fiddly things (11cm)
- My favourite for general purpose work (13cm)
Knives need to be kept sharp. I have tried most tools to achieve this nirvana: steels, grinding stones, knife sharpeners with two steels set at an angle, wet stones. All work to a point (if you excuse the pun). The best by far though is the electric knife sharpener with fast moving bands of especially made sandpaper. You have to use it with care, it’s really noisy and fast and can refresh a blade in a minute or less. Mine is a Nirey KE-3000 and details can be found here. It’s superb but not cheap.
I use Global knives because I like their feel, the single piece of metal, the grip and the ease of cleaning (‘though do not put them in a dishwasher). But I have owned and tried many others, French, (Sabatier) smarter Japanese makes, Ikea (absolutely fine actually); in the end it is what you can afford and what you’re comfy with. But no matter which you purchase make sure that you keep them sharp.