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KNIFE 101: HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BLADE FOR YOUR KITCHEN

Posted on 16/12/22

Without a knife, it can be incredibly hard to do any basic cooking task. There are many different types of kitchen knives around, from the cheapest you can get in the supermarket to the highest quality Japanese knives like Santoku knives.

This means choosing the right one can be hard, even if you do understand what you're looking for. If you are a chef or just somebody who delights in high-quality cookery then choosing the right blade is like an Olympic runner choosing the right shoes; it's integral. That’s why we have come up with a 101 to the best cutting-edge blades you can buy and the varieties they come in.

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WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A BLADE?

Firstly, we need to consider what your preferences are when it comes to blades. Do you prefer using a bigger weightier knife or a smaller lighter one? What material do you prefer your blade to be made with? For example, we at Katto use Japanese steel called AUS-10 and there are many reasons for this. The main reason is that Japanese steel is of such high quality, that it offers the perfect balance between a hard blade which means a sharper blade, and ease of care. This paired with the fact that the Japanese have been making steel and blades for centuries, dating back to the fourth century AD, shows us that this steel is a great choice. Another reason we use this steel is for the romance of owning a Japanese blade. Who doesn’t want to have a modern-day Samurai sword in their kitchen?

This could be something like the 7.5 Santoku, which is lighter and slightly more agile than our chef's knives but can still perform a huge variety of tasks. These knives are deeply rooted in Japanese history and have become a staple in kitchens worldwide, The term ‘santoku’ means' three virtues’ or ‘three uses’ which refers to their ability to perform three key kitchen functions - cutting, dicing, and mincing. This could be the perfect gift for an expert cook or someone who really wants to develop their culinary skills.

WHAT WILL YOU USE THE BLADE FOR?

At first glance, this might seem like an obvious question, but when you consider all the factors, there’s a lot to consider. The casual, at-home cook, might use a knife to cut everyday food but a chef or a real cooking enthusiast, will use a knife for all manner of things from the light butchery and filleting a large fish to dicing vegetables and cracking through crab and lobster claws. 

You need something that’s going to carry the versatility needed in order to handle these demanding tasks. This is where something like a chef's knife comes in. Now as we mentioned, all our knives are made with that amazing AUS-10 steel, but the chef knife comes with a versatility and poise that is rarely seen in others like it. Due to its larger size, it's slightly more robust and can handle virtually anything placed in front of it.

One of our favourites is the 8.5 chefs' knife. The perfect all-rounder is capable of everything from vegetable and meat preparation to carving.

Each features an 8.5'' Japanese AUS-10 steel blade and hand-carved handle in either walnut, beech, or rosewood. They have a perfectly straight blade that tapers down to a finely pointed tip; whilst the robust heel of the chef knife can be used for these weightier tasks. This would be the perfect gift for a chef. Maybe you have a friend who has just graduated culinary school and needs a good knife or a veteran chef who deserves a present - this would be a great addition to any chef's arsenal.

THE MAINTENANCE OF YOUR BLADE 

If your blade isn’t maintained, sharpened, and kept well then it simply won't last as long or perform as well. So, how do you sharpen your blade? Let us introduce you to a chef's best friend: a sharpening stone. These are undoubtedly the best way to sharpen your blades at home. Using a double-sided method, each side provides a certain level of grit which will give you an amazing finish without much in the way of effort.

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