Learning how to cook does not only mean knowing how to follow a recipe.
You also have to learn your way around the kitchen, including the things you will find in the drawers and cupboards.
A knife is the primary tool of all domestic and professional cooks. In fact, some consider it as the extension of a cook’s hand.
Knowing the parts of a chef knife must be the first thing that any aspiring cook needs to understand.
You will also have an idea of how to care for the knife if you know its parts and functions.
Parts of a Chef Knife
Let’s break down the different parts of a chef’s knife and their importance, starting from the top.
This needlelike part is the one that decreases to a point, as it is aptly named. This part is vital when you need to stab something, start a hole, or hold something in place.
This tip is usually used for intricate and delicate cuts. It is also ideal for rapid chopping of food that is easy to cut or for slicing large products.
You may also use the tip to produce a focal point for a different cutting technique.
The edge is the part of the knife that does most of the works. There are different ways to sharpen an edge, depending on its intended purpose, which we will discuss further later.
The part found on the other side of the blade is called the spine. It can also be the middle part of the knife if you are using a double-edged tool.
It is the thickest portion of the knife that lends strength to the blade. The spine thickness will also affect the knife’s balance.
The lower portion of the blade close to the bolster is called the heel.
You will also find blades where they blended the heel straight into the extended bolster.
This setup adds more protection and versatility, as it gives you more strength to do heavy cutting jobs.
The bolster is the crosspiece placed in-between the blade and handle for safety measures.
It will add strength to the knife while protecting your hands from slipping straight into the cutting edge.
The downside of having a bolster is the challenge of sharpening the edge.
The handle, or sometimes called scales, comes in various types of materials, which we will discuss later.
The handle’s design is vital to the knife’s comfortability. It can have finger grooves or clean and straight design.
You may find a single piece of injection-molded handle or two pieces of scales fitted into the tang.
The tang is the unsharpened portion of the blade where you attach the handles.
A full tang handle means that the metal extends to the same size as the scales. Whereas, a partial tang is only halfway through the length of the handle.
Full tang knives give you the stability that will allow you to apply more pressure to the blade. The exposed tang is covered by the scales on each side, creating the knife’s handle.
9. Handle Fasteners
Handle fasteners secure the scales to the tang in the form of either screws or rivets. Manufacturers typically use rivets due to its affordability and low maintenance.
You can remove the screws whenever you want to clean the handle. Just make sure to check the screws as they may loosen up regularly.
For knives that do not sport these fasteners, the scales are just glued to the tang.
The butt or pommel is the end portion of the knife. It is your hand’s reference point to determine the blade location quickly.
Different Blade Types
We have discussed the different parts of the blade from the tip to the heel. Let us now get familiar with the various blade types.
1. Straight Edge/Flat Ground
A straight-edge blade is the most straightforward type of a knife’s edge. This blade type needs to be clean and sharp at all times to perform the kitchen tasks well.
Knives with straight-edge blades are perfect for cutting soft or firm foods like vegetables, fruits, and meats.
2. Hollow Grind
A hollow-ground blade underwent an in-depth grinding process, creating hollowed or concaved sides.
Blades of this type have thin and fragile edges meant for delicate and intricate works. You need constant honing to maintain the sharpness of this blade type.
Serrated knives have a jagged edge that you can feel and see. This knife blade type can cut through vegetable fibers and tough meat without difficulty.
Serrated edges stay sharp longer but a bit challenging to sharpen. Steak knives are the best example of a knife with a serrated blade.
The points on a scalloped blade are widely separated with arches that connect them to the edge.
A bread knife has a scalloped edge, forcing its way through a hard and unyielding surface.
5. Granton Edge
A Granton blade shows oval divots sculpted into the blade covering the length of the edge. This blade design allows you to cut with ease, which is perfect for slicing meat.
Different Edge Styles
The edge of a knife is the part that you use for cutting and slicing. This sharpest part of the knife has five different styles.
The V-edge is the most familiar style in kitchen knives where two sides of the blade are sharpened.
2. Compound Bevel
This style is similar to the V-edge but has a tighter V on the blade’s bottom part.
3. Convex Edge
With a convex edge, you will notice that each blade side is curving in towards the center before meeting at the sharpest point.
4. Hollow Edge
A hollow edge is almost similar to a convex but with hollow curves.
5. Chisel Edge
A chisel edge is sharp and thin and looks like half of a V. It requires frequent sharpening to stay sharp.
Knowing the parts of a chef knife and their function and importance will make a big difference for those new to cooking.
With this knowledge, it will now be easier to understand the jargon and get the most use out of your knife.
Here is one example of what a chef knife is for you to understand its parts better.