If you’re serious about cooking, good-quality knives are an investment in your kitchen. So it’s important to take care of them to ensure they go the distance.
Coskun Uysal, owner and executive chef at Melbourne restaurant Tulum, says he only has one ‘good knife’ in his home kitchen, which he uses for everything – and maintains and sharpens on a daily basis.
“If your knife is dull, it’s easy to cut yourself (while chopping),” Coskun says.
A high-end chef’s knife will cost around RM200, he says, but if you look after it, you’ll use it for between five and 10 years.
So, how do you do it? Here are Coskun’s top tips for caring for your kitchen knives.
1. Sharpen with a knife steel
Coskun sharpens his chef’s knife around five times a day, but if you’re not a professional chef you’ll likely require less maintenance. It also depends on the quality of your blade.
He recommends using a knife steel, which can be purchased from selected kitchen and homewares stores or speciality knife suppliers.
Hold the steel handle with the sharpener facing down and hover the knife at a slight 20-degree angle. Then sweep the blade diagonally, in a downward motion, from base to tip and repeat on the other side. Continue this process until the knife is sharp.
A sharpening stone also works well – use the same method but in a forward motion along the flat stone.
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2. Clean after sharpening
Once you’ve buffed your blade against the steel or stone, you’ll have some grinding residue. So the next step is to clean your knife.
Simply run under water to rinse off any remnants and then wipe with a dry cloth. Be careful with the sharp edge and have it facing outwards, away from your hands.
Coskun recommends “never putting in your knife in the dishwasher” as the high-power water streams can wear down the sharpness of your blade.
3. Only use your knife for chopping
While it may seem obvious, Coskun says to stick to the knife’s intended use.
“Don’t use it to open jars. I’ve even seen chefs try to open cans with the back of a knife,” he says.
“Use it for chopping. Nothing else.”