Have you got a Dick.... I do.
Have you got a Dick? I do.
Since I was a child I have always been fascinated with knives and I think knives are just beautiful. We had only two knives at home then and both were the sole properties of my mum. I was not allowed to use the knives until I was about 10 years old. But I used to love to watch her slicing or cutting something or another and I enjoyed watching her body moving forward and backward slightly as she was chopping. Of course, today I realized that her body was moving that way because her knife was not only blunt but she was not standing correctly!!
From owning just 3 knives for $10 kind (usually sold at the night markets those days and made in China), today I own knives that are worth a couple of thousands. I hate to share my knives with anyone, just as I hate to share my undies or shoes with anyone. Knives are very private. The first time, I had to travel out of the country to Melbourne to develop recipes and conduct a couple of workshops; I wanted to carry my own knives. At that point of my life, I did not own a knife bag, leather roll or a knife briefcase. I would wrap my knives in thick wads of newspapers and then roll it in my towel and then place it in between my clothes in the suitcase. It was always a proud moment when I take out my personal knives and lay it on the table for use during a cooking class or when working with other chefs in the kitchen.
As a chef, one of the most important decisions I had to make is to choose the right knife as the knife is the number one tool that I consistently and constantly use in my job. Well, it is not just a chef who uses a knife often…….anyone and everyone who cooks will have to use a knife let alone the doctors, the butchers, the artists etc. Therefore it is not advisable to be stingy and buy the cheapest knife available. A good knife can change you into a kitchen magician!
In the beginning of my career, I used to own only 3 knives – a 10 inch (25 cm) chef’s knife, bread knife and a 6 inch (15 cm) utility knife. I used the chef’s knife and the utility knife for almost every cutting, slicing, chopping, deboning, portioning fish, garnishing and many other functions in the kitchen. Along with it I had a well-used knife sharpening stone. I have tried and have used many different brands. Every one of the brand had something or another that attracted me to it. My current companion in the kitchen is a range of F.Dick knives from Germany. I know you are giggling at the name but do remember that famous people had funny names and this brand stands out amongst all knife brands – you can remember it!
I have this whole range of knives for the different functions. But again, a novice cook need only about 3-4 knives to begin with. When buying a knife you will have to consider these three main points: steel, handle and weighting.
The type of steel used in making a knife matters a lot. There are many kinds of steel alloys used by different companies but personally the German Steel and Japanese Steel is the more popular ones for making of knives. Of which, I preferred the German steel and hence my preference for F.Dick knives. The steel used for making the F.Dick knives are very sturdy and less prone to breaking off at the tip when dropped. Well, even the most experienced chef, drops a knife occasionally you know! German knives are also traditionally sharpened to about a 22° angle, making them sharp but also sturdy at the same time. The handle must sit snugly in your hand and always buy knives that are appropriate for your hand size. It is also important to remember that the maximum power of the knife is achieved at the area nearest the handle, so harder or more dense materials may be cut from this area. Finer cutting of soft items, such as mushrooms, may be executed by using the tip of the blade.
Do take note that you should not be buying knives that are overly light! Some amount of weight should be there on a knife. Having the most expensive knife in the world is only half the trick, a solid foundation or positioning is necessary to accomplish consistency in production. Stand straight with your weight evenly distributed on both feet. Stand as close to the work bench as possible without touching it. Then, place your feet at about a 20° angle with your heels approximately six inches apart. Remain relaxed while cutting.
Read more about my F.Dick knives at www.dick.de