Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Cut Above: Knives Key to Kitchen

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Cut Above: Knives Key to Kitchen

Article excerpt

A kitchen can have all the fancy gadgets and food processors

with a dozen different speeds but without a good knife, it just

doesn't cut it.

For convenience and safety, a good set of knives is probably

the most important kitchen tool.

On Cooking: Techniques from Expert Chefs (Sarah R. Labensky

and Alan M. Hause, Prentice Hall, $50) said of knives: "Knives

are the most important items in your tool kit. With a sharp

knife, the skilled chef can accomplish a number of tasks more

quickly and efficiently than any machine."

Rich Grigsby, professor of culinary arts at the Institute of

the South for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at Florida Community

Campus Jacksonville North Campus, gives some tips on choosing

knives, their care, cleaning, sharpening and storage.

Choosing a knife: It should be made of high carbon stainless

steel so that it is easy to sharpen and won't rust. Some states

have outlawed knives with wood handles in professional kitchens

because of bacteria concerns. While Florida is not among them,

Grigsby tells his students to buy knives with polypropylene

handles, so that if the law changes, they won't have to reinvest.

A knife should be balanced. Hold it in your finger tips where

the blade meets the handle. One end shouldn't be heavier than the

other. A forged blade will have a tang or tail that extends to

the end of the handle. This adds stability to the knife.

The price range for a quality 8- to 10-inch chef's knife or

French knife is broad. Grigsby said that $40 is a fair price.

What you need: Besides a chef's knife, a kitchen should have

a boning knife, a paring knife and a serrated slicer.

The boning knife, looks like a fillet knife; however, its

blade is much more ridged. As the name implies, it is used for

removing meat from the bone and other heavy-duty jobs.

The paring knife is a short utility knife with a 2- to 4-inch

blade. It is used for cutting fruits and vegetables as well as

decorative cuts.

The serrated slicer is a bread knife.

Grigsby also likes to have a slicer with a wavy edge that

allows for straighter cuts. …

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