Some equipment for new cooks to consider buying.
A Good Sharp Knife
You don’t need a full set of expensive knives to slice food properly. Even professional chefs tend to find one knife they like and use it for everything from carving meat to julienning vegetables (Assuming you’ve given it a good wash first). Experiment with different knives, find a size and shape that suits you. Some cooks like heavy solid knives. Some prefer thin light flexible knives.
What’s important is to find something you find comfortable, and is easy to sharpen. The best knife I have ever used is the Kitchen Devil French Cook’s Knife. It’s wide and flat, the blade is very stiff, and it sits nicely in the palm of your hand. Best of all it only cost me ten pounds. I use this knife for EVERYTHING, and I’ve re edged it a little so it’s razor sharp. Even my head chef likes to use this thing (Over his £50 knife set).
A Steel and Stone
Also, invest in a good steel and stone. Stones are just that; wide, flat coarse stones usually mounted on a handle. Very coarse stones are used to shift a lot of metal and re edge your knife, less rough ones are used to “fine tune” your edge to a razor finish. Steels are long rods of steel with rough groves. You see chefs on TV using them, moving their knives back and forth over them making that swishing sounds. You can use them to maintain the edge, but every so often they’ll need a stone to re shape the edge. Most professional chefs find that they need to stone their knives every month or so. Personally, I always prefer to use a medium coarse stone over a steel. A steel can set you back about £5, and a stone can be as cheap as a few pennies if you know where to look. Try car boot sales and hardware shops. Don’t bother buying one of the sharpeners that sharpen a set angle, you may well find that you don’t like the sharpness they create.
Look online for advice on how to sharpen your knife. The only problem is that everyone thinks a different way is best! I find that a 40 degree angle on both sides works well, but you will need to practise to find your comfort zone.
Published in: Cooking