Greetings, I am looking for a good basic knife that I can use for prep.(chopping etc.) I want to master the art of fancy chopping. Thanks,Bev
One that fits your hand perfectly. Henckels, Wusthof, Shun, Sabatier, etc., any of the well known brands makes great knives but none is perfect for everyone.
Don't buy a knife online. Go to the store, handle them and buy the one that feels right in your hand. Take it home and start dicing veggies, especially carrots, potatoes, squash. How does it feel? Now see how it handles fine chopping. Does it rock nicely when chopping garlic? Is the blade wide enough (wider blades usually rock better). If you like your new knife, keep it and enjoy it. If you don't, clean it well, take it back to the store and chose another one. Now you know what you don't want.
People will tell you "I love my fill-in-the-blank knife" but that isn't helpful, really. What works exceptionally well for me may not work at all for you.
I forgot to say a couple of things:
If you have small hands, an 8" chef's knife should be adequate, however, a 10" chef's knife is a more versatile tool; it just might take a little getting used to.
Better knives are fully forged, rather than stamped. You should be able to find a good primer on knives on Google.
Excellent advice, Mercedes - I can't think of a thing to add. I sold knives, cookware, etc. for 10 years in a gourmet store and I know all the bases to cover, and you covered them.
I've always had a large collection of knives - all the "usual" ones. Then, two years ago, my son gave me a chef's knife, and I'm hooked, they are wondeful to use. (How did he get so smart.) I can heartily second the advice of Mercedes, but you'll probably end up with both an 8" and a 10" knife.
Aside, but related. Agree with posters above. Also suggest getting a decent-sized cutting board. Many of my friends use these little 8 1/2 x 11" things. They work just fine, but I think you'll appreciate the "elbow room" of a larger platform.
Suggest large enough for easy (sometimes messy!) use, small enough to go into dishwasher. Sounds trivial but adds to the pleasure of prep-work.
You might want to look at the Japanese-style santoku knives. For me, I find the shape of a santoku is much more useful than a cook's knife. I have the 7-1/2" Shun santoku with a Graton edge, and I love it! It is easily my most-used knife.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a Chinese chef's knife. It's a very versatile kitchen tool. I use mine for everything from cutting radish roses to chopping up a chicken into stew sized pieces. It's the only knife we take when we go camping.
A good kitchen store will encourage you to try a knife out. Don't be shy! Ask for someone who knows knives, and then handle all the knives yourself. I find cook shops are filled with folks who really do know what they're talking about, and often there's a "special person" to help with knives.
We all have different kitchen habits, but I could give up all but a basic chef's knife. I have a small hand and have been lusting after the knife linked for some time after trying it out locally. Finally purchased one yesterday & have been chopping wildly since. Love it. Make sure you love the knife you pick, and feel free to return it if you don't love it in your kitchen. (Didn't someone just say that?!)
Also, just because it's technically possible to spend more on knives than on a kitchen remodel, doesn't mean wild $um$ guarantee your "perfect" knife.
As for cutting boards, I finally gave myself full-counter butcher block with my recent kitchen renovation. 8 feet. Pinch me! I clean & cut & clean & cut.
Think I'll head to the kitchen & mince something for dinner, just because I can.....
(please excuse gushy tones, I'm honeymoooning w/ new knife.....)
Here is a link that might be useful: my perfect knife, YMMV