Damascus Steel Chef's Knife - ⓘ
Chef’s knives are the most widely used types of knives by home cooks and professional chefs around the world. Among these Damascus chef’s knives hold a special place – not only because of their good looks but also because of their sharpness and durability.
No knife or culinary enthusiast should ever miss a chef’s knife. This is the type of blade that you can use for the preparation of any food or ingredient – slicing meat or vegetables, dicing onions and carrots, mincing garlic, crushing and chopping spices, cutting fruit.
Whatever the task at hand, you can almost certainly accomplish it well wit a chef’s knife.
Characteristic features of a chef’s knife are defined by length, shape, and design of the blade, the purpose of use, and other specific features.
It is one of the larger knives, usually measuring around 7.5 to 9 inches in length, although you can also find shorter or longer blades ranging from 6 to even 12 inches.
Another characteristic of a chef knife is that it has a rather ample blade, usually around 1.5 inches in diameter or even wider.
Unlike the various types of special-purpose knives, the chef’s knife is designed in a way it can get in touch with different ingredients in various ways and easily disassemble them.
The broad blade of the chef’s knife is not only particularly strong in the cutting process but also ensures that the knife can be guided comfortably and safely close to the knuckles. This way, you can break even the finest herbs into tiny pieces or dissect meat into gossamer tenderloins.
The slightly curved blade of this knife is perfectly designed for slicing. A somewhat rounded edge allows you to divide your ingredients in a single, fluid motion.
Cooking knives are available in different price ranges. Cheaper knives are usually made of stamped steel, and the more expensive ones are made from forged steel.
Upper range and custom handmade chef’s knives can reach prices even up to $5.000, while you can get cheap knives in just about any store for even as low as $20. Of course, there is a big difference in quality between these price ranges.
The significant advantage of Damascus steel chef’s knives is that they are already available at reasonable prices. In our store, you can buy high-quality Damascus steel chef’s knives for very affordable prices.
Western Chef's Knives - German vs French Type of Blade
There are many dimensions, materials, and grip designs of modern chef’s knives. However, small differences in the shape of the blades make them fall either under the category of French or German types of chef knives.
What makes the difference is the shape of the blade:
- a German-style knife has an evenly curved blade from the heel to the tip of the blade,
- while French-style knives have a more straight edge and curve up only at the tip.
Both types are considered ‘western’ types of chef’s knives.
Santoku Knife - An Eastern Equivalent to a Chef's Knife
Additionally, in Japan and Asia, an equivalent to the western chef knife is a notorious Santoku knife.
The main difference between a Santoku and western versions of chef knives is the shape of the blade.
While still being slightly curved, the blade of Santoku is more straightforward when compared to German or French chef knives. Also, the spine of the blade of the Santoku is curved down at the tip of the blade.
Depending on the model, the Santoku blade tends to be a bit smaller, thinner, and lighter. Many models also have small ‘pockets’ at the cutting edge, which prevent food from sticking to the blade.
But the most significant difference between western and eastern chef knife is the way it handles. While German and French chef knives should be moved back and forward in a more of a slicing motion, the Japanese version of a chef’s knife should typically be used in more of a chopping motion.
Japanese and European Chef's Knives in Comparison
Both professionals and hobby chefs are still debating how much Japanese or European Chef’s Knives are preferable. Both cultures have a long tradition of blacksmithing and have produced high quality, stable, and sharp knives for home cooks as well as professional chefs for decades.
While in Japan, the Santoku stands above all for the outstanding art of cutting, the German and French Chef’s knives also have a long and firm tradition.
For which of the two knife cultures you decide, your personal preference and the experience that you have made with both types of knives will probably be a deciding factor.
European Types of Chef's Knives
European Chef’s Knives are characterized mainly by the U-cut of the blade. This predestines for the liquid, graceful weighing cut, which ensures rapid processing of, especially softer ingredients.
Besides, the blades are considered very robust. Due to this robustness, the handling of the knives is also very uncomplicated. The cutting technique is almost irrelevant with European knives as they have very sturdy cutting edges.
Japanese Type of a Chef's Knife
Japanese Chef’s Knives, on the other hand, are generally considered to be very sharp, sharper than their European equivalent. This is mainly due to the V-cut of the edge, which makes the blades more efficient.
However, this particular sharpening, in conjunction with the manufacture of the blade, also provides for more significant challenges in handling the Japanese knives.
Chopping and pruning cuts should be avoided with Japanese knives as much as possible. The blades react very sensitively, resulting in a break or at least a rapid wear.
Also, if hard cutting pads are used, such as stone boards, the blades will not hold an edge for long. With the increasing sharpness of the Japanese blade, increased sensitivity of the same goes hand in hand.
Which One to Choose? ( Western Model or a Santoku )
If you are thinking of buying your first Damascus knife, but can’t decide which one, then getting a Chef’s knife is your best option. Whether you decide on a classic model or a Santoku, once you start using it, it will become the one knife that you will use the most.
There are many designs available in our store, and since this is one of the most popular types of knives, we make sure always to have plenty to offer.
If you are in doubt about which model will suit your needs best, here’s our word of advice:
- If you are a ‘meat’ person and often cook with meat, then a western version of a Damascus Chef’s Knife is a slightly better choice. Having a more definite point at the tip gives you a bit extra maneuvering space when working with meat, as it usually requires more slicing.
- If you are a vegetarian or you like to cook ‘Asian style food,’ then getting a Damascus Santoku Knife is the right choice for you. Chopping and cutting fresh vegetables is a pleasure with this type of knife, and it will add a touch of the eastern spirit to your cooking experience.
On our site, we offer a variety of Damascus steel Chef’s knives and Santokus. You can get both types at the best-discounted prices.
What is the Price of High Grade Damascus Chef's Knives?
Many chef’s knives are already available for very affordable prices. Whether you buy individual blades or opt for a knife set, both can be purchased at a budget.
However, one must be aware that with the low price also the quality suffers. Very cheap knives wear out quickly, are often poorly processed, and cause more frustration in the kitchen instead of bringing pleasure in cooking.
A better quality chef’s knives are available from about $60 to $100. Upwards, the price range is open. Higher-end knives usually move in a price range between $100 to $500.
Professional chef’s knives are usually more expensive than $200, and some custom made or special steel consumer blades can even reach the prices above $5000. The highest priced Damascus Chef’s Knife costs a round 80.000 EUR.
Several factors determine the final price. Not only the materials used but also the degree of manual work that has gone into production is crucial.
Damascus kitchen knives are generally more expensive than stainless steel kitchen knives because of their elaborate production.
If the sharpening of the blade is carried out personally by the blacksmith master, this also affects the price of the chef’s knife.
What to Look for When Buying a Chef's Knife?
Before you go out and buy any chef’s knife, you should inform yourself what to look for when purchasing such a knife.
The mindless purchase of inferior goods eventually leads to more frustration and thus wasted money. If you pay attention to a few small things, you can make sure already at the purchase that you will enjoy your chef’s knife for a long time.
First, consider the handle of the knife. The materials used here already play an important role when it comes to how efficiently you can work with the knife and how long it will last.
Often either wood, plastic, or composite materials are used for the handle of cooking knives. Pay attention to the use of high-quality materials. The handle should be made in one piece with no chipping or cracks. Also, the handle should be ergonomically shaped. This means that it is comfortable to hold and is easy to guide when cutting.
The ergonomics of the grip brings the following advantages:
- The handle is comfortable in hand. If you cover the knife with your hand, the handle in the palm of your hand does not hurt. It optimally adapts to the contour of your palm.
- The knife is also pleasant to use in the long term. Even if you use the knife persistently, no signs of fatigue occur in your hand.
Also, the weight of the knife plays a role in this and should not be underestimated. The blade should not be too heavy, but also not too light. It should be just right.
Finally, you should pay attention to the processing of the handle and blade. The entire knife must appear as one piece. There must be no grooves or holes. When cutting food, leftovers can stick inside, which can cause mold and harmful bacteria to develop.
Besides, you should carefully examine the blade of the knife. The length and height of the blade should be tailored to your needs. This means that the knife is suitable in length and width to allow the desired ingredient to be cut. But it also should fit well into your hand. While big knives fit well in big hands, people with small hands should instead resort to smaller kitchen knives.
Also, the knife should have a glossy surface. This indicates that the chef’s knife was not only honed but also polished. This ensures that the blade is optimally protected against rust and moisture damage.
The materials used play a significant role in buying the right knife. Handle, and the blade should only be made of high quality, durable materials. The quality of the materials used determines how long you will enjoy the chosen chef’s knife.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Anyone who wants to put together his kitchen equipment or upgrade it stands in front of a decision whether he should get one or more chef’s knives, or will rely only on individual special knives.
The advantages of chef’s knives are their universal applications. The same knife can be used for different ingredients and applications, making a change of tools unnecessary. This can be a considerable relief, especially after a stressful working day. Also, chef’s knives are available in different lengths and widths so that everyone will find the right knife for their hands and their needs. Besides, they do not have to be expensive – the chef’s knives are already available at an affordable price and are, therefore, easy on the budget.
However, the chef’s knife as a universal tool can also be a disadvantage. A knife that is used for different ingredients wears out faster. Not only that, the various structures can attack the cutting surfaces, but the blade is also used more frequently. With that in mind, cheap models require more intensive care because they become dull faster and must be re-sharpened more regularly.
- Universal tool – suitable for different ingredients
- no knife change necessary
- already cheap to buy
- available in different versions
- faster wear due to different usage
- cheap models dull faster
How to Use a Chef's Knife?
If you want to learn a proper way of using a chef’s knife, take a look at this short video which explains some of the essential cutting and slicing techniques. Next time when you hold your knife in hand, try to follow the advice given in the video. From here on, only the practice makes perfect.
To enjoy your chef’s knives for as long as possible, you should pay particular attention to two aspects: careful handling and proper care. Both factors inevitably interact and can hardly be separated from each other. If these two aspects are respected, your chef’s knife should stay sharp for a long time.
First, you should pay attention to the careful handling of the chef’s knife. This includes making sure to use a suitable cutting pad. The pad must not be too hard. Otherwise, the blade will wear out quickly. Avoid cutting boards made of stone or glass. These materials damage the blade the most. It is best to use wooden or plastic boards that are tough, but do not dull the knife that much.
Also, make sure you make soft, not too abrupt cuts. Hard chopping or strong levering can ruin the blade of the chef’s knife.
The right care is also crucial so that the knife stays sharp for a long time. Always clean your chef’s knife by hand. In the dishwasher, the blades are severely worn, and many cleaners are too hot for sensitive blades. Rinse the knife in warm but not too hot water and use a mild detergent. Afterward, the knife should be adequately dried. For this, we recommend rubbing with a soft cloth and then draining, so that also the handle dries thoroughly.
If you want to sharpen your knife, you have three options: the sharpening steel, the sharpening rod, or the sharpening stone (whetstone). All three variants have their advantages and disadvantages. The most recommendable is sharpening with the whetstone because it achieves the most efficient results due to its differently grained sides. Especially for Damascus chef’s knives, it is recommended to sharpen them on a whetstone to achieve the best possible result.
If you want to take care of your knives optimally, then you should bring them to a professional knife sharpener every six months.
In addition to proper care and careful handling of a chef’s knife, adequate storage is one of the factors that determine the longevity of such a knife.
One thing is sure: If you want to enjoy your chef’s knife for a long time, you should not keep it in a drawer with other knives or other cutlery. In a drawer, the cutlery rubs against each other, resulting in wear and damage of the blades. The rash storage of the knives in a full cutlery drawer also makes high-quality chef’s knives dull and brittle.
To properly store a kitchen knife, there are different options available.
In case you don’t want to move away from storage in the drawer, you can opt for blade covers. These covers are slipped over the blade after cleaning and prevent the blades from rubbing against other pieces of cutlery.
Another popular storage option is the classic knife block. These knife blocks were initially made only of wood, which was gentle on the blade and prevented a grind when inserting or pulling out. Nowadays, you can also get knife blocks made of plastic or glass. The advantage of all blocks is that each knife is stored individually and is quickly available with just one pull. Also, a high-quality knife block can be quite decorative.
Professional chefs, who often cook in different locations, prefer knife bags. These are flexible fabric bags that have slots for each professional chef’s knife. In such bags, multiple knives can be stored. The bag rolls up easily or folds and ties with the help of a tape or string. So not only do you always have your knives together, but you can easily take the collection everywhere with you. Many combine the knife bags with individual blade covers.
A fourth variant is the increasingly popular magnetic strips. These are fastened to the wall above the stove or near the kitchen worktop. With the help of magnetic attraction, you can attach your chef’s knife with the blade to this bar and thus always have your knife collection in view. Such strips avoid that the blades rub against each other. It is essential that you always fold the knife over the back of the blade and never over the cutting edge when attaching and removing it from a magnetic strip.