Without a doubt, a great chef knife needs to be sharp. And by “sharp” I mean it needs to be able to zip through a tomato without any resistance. Time and time again. If it can do this, then it’s sharp enough for your average chef.
Practically any knife you buy today – yes, even at WalMart – will start off this sharp. But it won’t stay that way. Only the good ones – assuming you’re not chopping on glass or metal or something extreme destructive – can retain their sharpness, or more accurately, have their original sharpness revived again and again for many many years. And the quality of the good ones, their strength and resilience, their ability to hold their edge, totally depends on the quality of steel they’re made of.
Steel is an entire subject in and of itself, but suffice it to say, it’s a material that lends itself to a ginormous range of quality and character, and the steel in a cheap knife is light years away from the steel in a more expensive knife and it will not hold up. The edge will fold over and dull too easily and will require much more sharpening. And the sharpening process itself will wear away much more metal, so that you’ll find yourself with either a perpetually dull knife or a knife who’s cutting edge quickly wears away to nothing.
High Quality Steel
So how do you know you’re getting a knife with high quality steel? The short answer is – go with a name brand. Here’s a list to start with: Henckels, Wusthof, Shun, Global, MAC, Messermeister. But, unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated. Because most of these brands have quite a few product lines (try 11 or more for Henckels) that vary enough in quality to make them not the least bit comparable. And to wade through all the styles and models of just these six brands would take a whole website in itself. So the main thing I can do for you here is to 1) give you a warning, and 2) point you to a short list of recommended knives.
First, the Warning: There is NO FREE LUNCH. If you find a brand of knife that’s trumpeting it’s specialness, but is significantly cheaper than brand-name models of similar size and design, let the buyer beware. It’s not humanly possible. (Well, maybe if it’s stolen merchandise. But you don’t want to get into that, do you?) You get what you pay for. You would like to get a lot more data concerning professional chef knives kindly check out the webpage.
Second, the Short List: Below is a list of high performance chef knives made of high quality steel that are worth taking a look at. They range in price from $100 to $190 (but you can sometimes find comparable quality at a slight discount). They’re purposely from a variety of makers, in a variety of styles. Ideally, you should go to a store where you can physically interact with them before you buy.
Whether any of these knives is the perfect one for you, I cannot promise. But what I can guarantee is that each and every one of them will slice a tomato clean and, if maintained properly, keep on doing it year after year. This is a must for a great chef knife.