what is the best option to prepare your food?
Santoku knives and chef’s knives are the go-to knives for many professional chefs, as they are versatile enough to perform a variety of tasks in the kitchen. Technically, santoku knives are a type of chef’s knife, but they vary in shape and style from traditional French and German-style knives.
The main difference between a santoku knife and a chef’s knife is that santoku knives are better suited for precision cutting, where very fine cuts are needed. it is more difficult to achieve the same level of precision with a chef’s knife. santoku knives also require a different technique to cut food with a back and forth motion, whereas a standard chef’s knife requires a back and forth rocking motion. Please note that there are several different styles of chef’s knives.
In this article we take a look at the difference between these two types of knives, looking at performance; blade length, material and style; and handles.
santoku knives or by their full name the santoku bocho knives, which translates as ‘three uses’, are ideal for chopping, chopping and slicing, as they have a straight edge with a narrow sheep shape. foot blade. These knives have evolved from the traditional Japanese vegetable knife which has a rectangular blade.
French or German style chef knives have a curved edge that gives the blade a rocking motion when cutting against a board and the long blade is also capable of cutting through meat. Chef’s knives are considered a universal kitchen tool used for a variety of different tasks. It is important to note that there are subtle differences between French and German style knives. French knives tend to have a flatter shape at the heel of the blade that gradually approaches the tip, while a German-style edge profile has a more curved blade.
style and performance
For most chefs, the most important aspects of a knife are its style and performance. style refers to the shape and design of the knife and performance refers to its sharpness and how it performs in use.
Some santoku knives are sharpened only on one side of the blade. this is the traditional oriental way and allows the chef to have more control over the direction of the cut. most santoku knives are a hybrid between west and east, in that the shape of the blade is curved with a flat cutting edge and the sharpness is 50/50 on any surface. this makes sharpening and maintenance easier with a traditional steel or removable sharpener.
A santoku knife is ideal for precision work thanks to the narrow, lightweight blade, which can make finer cuts as there is less food to push as the blade makes each slice. Japanese knives require a different technique than Western knives in that they cut food with a back and forth motion, rather than Western knives that require a swinging motion, which generally creates thicker slices and takes longer to cook. cut faster than santoku blade.
French and German style knives tend to have a straight edge that has a slight curve from the heel to the tip of the blade. The main advantage of chef’s knives over santoku knives, when it comes to performance, is that the blades are robust enough to cut meat, fish, fruits and vegetables.
The thin, flexible blade and sheepsfoot tip of santoku knives means they’re not well suited to tougher jobs like boning meat, plus the harder steel of santoku blades makes them more prone to chipping. the same can be said for chopping tough vegetables like squash and turnips. For many professionals and home cooks, the chef’s knife is the best knife for a wide range of food preparation tasks.
other points to consider…
Santoku knives have a shorter blade than chef’s knives and are approximately 6 inches long, this shorter blade provides more control, which can be particularly helpful for less experienced chefs. the average length of a chef’s knife blade tends to be 8 inches, but can be as long as 14 inches.
Most kitchen knife blades are made of stainless steel, but the type and finish of steel used depends on the manufacturer. For example, prominent Santoku maker Kai creates its classic range of Shun knives using highly refined, corrosion-resistant V-Gold-10 series steel within a Damascus coating. v-gold-10 series steel is produced in japan and is a strong high carbon steel that also offers the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.
Western knives tend to be made of softer but stronger steel and have thicker blades, the softness of the steel means the blades need sharpening more often. it is the smoothness of the steel blade that makes chef blades less prone to splintering. the hardness of the blade can make them feel heavy, which, depending on your personal preference, can be a good or bad feature of the knife.
Traditional santoku knives do not usually have a bolster, which is a typical feature of a German or French handle. As a bolster can help protect your hand from slipping down the blade and provide more grip, anyone new to professional knives will likely benefit from choosing a blade with a bolster.
both knives are usually made with a full tang which offers a sense of balance.
which style of knife is better?
Ultimately, the knife you choose will be the one that best suits the way you hold and cook. if you cook a certain type of food, for example a menu with a lot of fish, fruits and vegetables, but with less meat, then a santoku knife would be the best option. If you are looking for a robust and versatile knife that can carve meat and cut small bones, as well as fruits and vegetables, a chef’s knife is the way to go. if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, producing a variety of dishes, then it’s worth spending on both knives.
again, the brand of knife you choose will depend on your personal preference, but the following are solid options if you’re looking to update your knife collection.
French – sabatier is the name synonymous with quality French knives and the sabatier 25cm chef’s knife is an excellent choice for a chef’s knife under £40.
german – if you prefer a blade with a little more curve, then the 20 cm wusthof classic cooks knife is a resistant knife made by the famous german brand.
santoku: the 13 cm kasumi santoku knife has a short blade that offers the highest level of control when cutting with precision.
June 17, 2016