A good knife is a true investment, and the chef’s most important tool in the kitchen. Your quality knife, or set of knives, can serve you well for many years, providing you take the right steps to care for it.
The materials used to make your knife can affect the care it needs (read our guides on what knives are made of and which knives you need in the kitchen), but here are some guidelines you should follow, whether you use Wüsthof knives, Global knives, Messermeister knives, Shun knives or any other high-quality knife*.
Wash and dry by hand: your dishwasher is a time saver, sure, but some things weren’t meant to be pelted with water and chemicals for an hour and a half. Carefully wash your knives by hand with warm water, using a non-abrasive cloth, and dry them immediately with a towel.
Running your knives through the dishwasher or leaving them damp can create permanent stains on the blade, and cause irreparable damage to wooden handles.
Keep your knives sharp: It might sound obvious; a sharp blade cuts better than a dull one. But due to the additional force using a blunt knife requires, each cut makes the edge rougher and duller still, often requiring professional resharpening to rectify.
Since you’ve spent the money on the knife, set aside a little extra for a quality sharpening stone, ensuring it is appropriate for the knife type (ie. Global knives, due to their softer metal, require a specific stone type).
Consider getting your knives professionally sharpened regularly to prevent any nicks, chips or other concerns from destroying them. Several The Essential Ingredient stores offer knife sharpening services. Check with your nearest store for more information.
Store your knife correctly: There are many options for storing your knives safely and securely, and none of these involve throwing them in the utensil drawer.
Knife blocks are the standard solution, though you should ensure knives are always perfectly clean before put away, since the block slots are so difficult to clean.
Magnetic bars, secured to the wall, are another common way of storing knives. These often have the added benefit of keeping knives further out of reach of young children.
Cut with care: By using a quality wooden chopping board (such as those in The Essential Ingredient Wood Collection), you reduce the amount of damage your knives will sustain while cutting. Never cut on marble, stone, metal or any other benchtop material.
Also take care to use each knife for its prescribed purpose. Using a bread knife to cut meat, to give only one example, will harm the meat, potentially damage the blade and leave you at risk of injury.
For cutting chicken bones or other tough ingredients, consider investing in a cleaver rather than endangering yourself and your knives.
Cooking as we know it would be impossible without knives. They are vital to preparation and presentation and are seldom far from your hand in the kitchen.
If you’ve taken the time to find the perfect knife for your needs (and if you haven’t, you should…), then you also need to ensure you take the time to look after it.
The Essential Ingredient stocks a wide variety of professional knives for every level of chef and cook. Knives are available in a wide range of materials, sizes and specialty purposes, and our expert team is available to give you as much information as you need.
We also store whetstones, sharpeners, knife blocks, knife bags, pouches, chopping boards and other useful accessories that can help keep your valuable blades safe.
Visit your nearest store today for more information.
*-Make sure you check the care instructions that came with your knife for specific advice.