I get asked about which knives to buy are best and it’s like being asked which car or outfit to go for. If you spend a few quid you will get good ones but if you get one of those too good to be true value packs in the middle aisle or online for fifty euro’s then do not expect to be passing them onto your kids. Like everything in life quality costs and it is worth investing in a good kit if cooking is your thing and you want to do it properly. People’s homes are full of cheap, bent, broken knives that are better off in the bin. I rarely find a sharp knife if ever asked to show someone something on the spot in their homes.
I was given my first set of knives thirty seven years ago as part of my college training course and I still have them as they were a top brand called Victorinox from Switzerland and they have been looked after following me around the world and hundreds of kitchens. They are made with very high value stainless steel which makes them built to last as is anything that comes out of there or Germany for that matter. French and Japanese knives are good too. I have a few dozen other ones acquired along the way which were given as presents or being thrown out and I had them fixed up.
Now you do not need a drawer full of knives, less is definitely more. I could get by with just three if I had to and I do. A chopping knife or chef’s knife is the one you want to have first. You can do lots of jobs with this to varying degrees. The second one you need is a vegetable or office knife for all the small more intricate work like peeling. Finally your carving knife is a must for all that slicing to be neat and easy to manage.
Of course there are other specific types like for boning meat or fish filleting but most people will not be doing this at home these days or even in professional kitchens for that matter anymore. Most stuff is coming in prepped these days for convenience. What I do recommend as well is a good steel or sharpening device to keep the edge on the blades. I was always told if you give knives a quick sharpening at the end of every day used they will stay good. You have to do it right though and there are plenty of videos now instructing on you on this. You do not have to fly at it like Gordon, slow is actually better. There are various stones available for this too which are easier to work with if you prefer. Either way you do not want to be cutting with a blunt blade.
It is essential the chopping board is big enough so you have the space to work on and made of wood too as it really is the best and is far safer contrary to the modern safety diktats. Always keep a small cloth underneath so it stays in one place and does not slip about on your worktop. You need it at least an inch thick and a foot by two foot in area, when I see the tiny little plastic mats or glass boards slipping around a kitchen worktop I just sigh.
Size matters as you need to be able to do the big jobs as well as the small ones, to be able to work comfortably from left to right or vice versa and be able to do the main chopping in the centre of the board at the right distance for your arm length.
You also need to be at the right height so as not to be reaching up or bending down to do your chopping. For washing just finish by pouring some boiling water from the kettle on the surface each time after a sudsy scrub especially after raw meat or fish and it will be safe as houses.
So now you are fully equipped to produce amazing food but what about the price for all of this. Well do you scrimp on your golf clubs or TV? Thought not, so for all of the above allow five hundred euro’s and you will be passing them onto your kids.
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