What Is a Chef's Knife Used For?

Learn about the many uses of this versatile Knife.

By Team Made In
Oct 18, 2022
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Any chef, whether in a restaurant kitchen or cooking from home, should have more than one knife. Most kitchen knives have very specific uses that are echoed in the unique designs of their blades. Serrated knives, like our Bread Knife, are great for slicing through crusty bread. Our Paring Knife is useful for small tasks like hulling a strawberry. But what about the knife that’s heralded as a nearly all-purpose blade?

Chef Knives can be used for almost anything, from breaking down a chicken, to prepping watermelon for a picnic. Here, we’ll tell you what sets a Chef Knife apart from other knives, as well as what it’s best suited for and how to care for it. Follow along to find out what makes this knife unique and why you need one in your knife block.

What Is a Chef Knife?

Chef Knives originally hail from Thiers, France, the knifemaking capital of the world. We still proudly produce our Chef Knives there to this day, where they are forged with care by fifth-generation bladesmiths. The standard size for these multi-purpose kitchen knives is eight inches, but they can also be found in a smaller six inch or larger ten inch variation.

How Do You Cut with a Chef Knife?

The most prominent features of the Chef Knife are their sharp pointed tip and slightly curved blade. This shape, which differs from the straight blade of a Japanese-style knife like a Nakiri or Santoku, is best suited to the rocking method of cutting. The rocking method gets its name because the design of the Chef Knife makes it easy to rock the Knife back and forth from tip to heel. This allows you to easily reduce ingredients to small pieces without having to remove the blade of your Knife from your cutting board, which cuts down on prep time.

What is a Chef Knife Used For?

Our Chef Knife might be the most multipurpose of our many knives. They can be used for small tasks like mincing herbs or julienning carrots, as well as larger ones like spatchcocking a chicken or slicing a ham. You can even use a Chef Knife for carving meats and separating meat from the bone if you don’t have a Carving Knife.

When in doubt, the Chef Knife is almost always up to the task. A few instances when you might opt to use a different Knife are slicing bread, peeling fruits or vegetables, and cutting onions. While a Chef Knife will work perfectly well for onions, we prefer a Santoku for vegetables with a high water content (like cucumbers or peppers), since the fluted blade keeps them from getting stuck.

How Do You Care for a Chef Knife?

In order to keep your Chef Knife in the best shape possible, it’s important to hone and sharpen it. If you’re using your Chef Knife almost every day, we recommend that you hone it at least seasonally, or four times a year. Sharpening can be done once, maybe twice a year. This is because sharpening your blade removes some of the steel, whereas honing simply pushes it back into place. For more information on honing and sharpening, watch the video above to see knife expert Sergio Menchaca demonstrate how to do both, or check out our full guide to caring for Knives.

Ready to Shop?

Like all of our Knives, our Chef Knife is full-tang and fully forged. This means that it’s hammered from one rod of stainless steel that runs from the tip of the blade through the handle. This makes for an exceptionally sturdy and balanced Knife that has an appropriate weight, no weak spots, and won’t snap at the handle. If you don’t have one of these essential tools, now is the time to buy one.

The 8” Chef Knife with Blue Carapace Handle was our very first Limited-Edition knife released way back in 2019. With a limited quantity made, once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. Get on our waitlist, and you’ll be notified once they’re available on Thursday, October 20 at 10 am ET.