The Best Chef's Knife | Jonas Blade

The Best Chef’s Knife

If you google the words “best chef’s knife”, you’ll see a selection of knives that look fairly similar to the untrained eye. The differences between one and the next will be subtle—a bit more curvature to the edge, a slightly narrower handle, maybe a different finish to the steel—but in most cases these subtle differences actually play an important role in the performance characteristics of each knife. 

 

Let’s take a look at an overview of what factors go into the best chef’s knives. After we, look at some additional factors to consider.

 

Overview Of The Best Knife’s Factor

I have spent nearly a decade (so far) developing and refining my best version of a chef’s knife. Here are some of the factors and attributes that helped create this:

 

  • The curvature of the edge has been tuned to a create a surprisingly comfortable balance between chopping, rocking, and point-work 
  • The angle of the handle relative to the blade is designed to lend itself carefully to the mechanics of a cut, so that your wrist will not have to bend too far and cause the point to walk 
  • The grip is shaped and sculpted to feel pleasant and natural in the hand

 

Additional Factors

Let’s continue on with additional factors in more detail. 

 

Blade geometry is a whole topic unto itself. How does the best chef’s knife cut? If the spine is too thick, the blade will underperform when cutting harder items like  squash or a potato and will wedge the vegetable apart rather than cutting it. On the other hand, if it is too thin it will want to flex and misbehave when cutting those same items. Similarly, if the cross section of the edge is too bluff, the blade will not cut as well and will dull quickly. Finally, if the blade is too thin, it will not hold up to standard working conditions.

 

Weight is another parameter to consider. Around 85% of the time when someone picks up one of my chef’s knives, they’ll smile with surprise and say, “it’s so light!”. I’d heard it so many times that at some point I weighed several commercial knives of comparable size alongside my own. It turns out that mine are actually heavier than the average commercial knife, but they feel light because they are balanced. A properly balanced knife feels lighter because it requires less effort from the smaller muscles in the hand and forearm to control. (If you want to test this theory, try holding a hammer by the head rather than the handle. You’ll find that it feels lighter, though of course the overall weight has not changed.)

 

At the end of the day the best chef’s knife is, for me, the one that you reach for again and again. The one that makes your other knives jealous. You find it in your hand every day because it is that comfortable and takes less effort to use. It is better than almost every other one in your block. Why are my knives that good? Every single aspect has been carefully considered, carefully tuned and refined, and tested in my own kitchen at home.

 

If cooking is a chore and food is just fuel, you don’t need the best chef’s knife. But if cooking brings you creative joy, and if the meals you prepare are more about the experience of eating them and sharing them, then you might consider seeking that one knife that always finds itself in your hand. Let the other knives be jealous.



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About The Author

Zack Jonas was born and raised in Massachusetts in the 1980’s and is still a New Englander today. With his growing love for art over the years, he took an introductory bladesmithing class at MASSart. It was there that he learned one of his most valuable lessons, which is that everyone has some insight worth learning. Today, he is a full-time bladesmith and feels incredibly fortunate to have found his calling.