Getting a knife for your cooking task


Nothing is more important to a chef than his or her knives.

And thanks to a dad who worked in sheet metal manufacturing, chef Tim Kolanko grew up with an appreciation for steel craftsmanship years before he went on to culinary school or trained under renowned chefs like Stuart Brioza and Charles Dale.

Now the executive chef at Stake Chophouse & Bar in San Diego, Kolanko lets guests begin their meal by selecting a steak knife from makers including F. Dick, Shun, Wüsthof, and Global, the same brands who craft his chef knives. We asked him for tips for home cooks looking to invest in a good knife or two, and he gave us some sharp advice.

Length matters

“You have no reason to have a 10-inch chef knife when you’re working on a small cutting board. I think a seven to eight-inch Santoku-style knife with the hollow ground blade is a great home kitchen knife,” Kolanko says. (This Japanese-style knife features a flat edge and a handle in line with the blade, with equal weight distributed throughout.)

Budget accordingly

“When budgeting for your first ‘good knife,’ it’s safe to set aside anywhere from $50 to $100,” Kolanko says. Sets, like the Wüsthof classic set, often offer a good value, too.

Pick your provenance

“When it comes to picking a favorite, I’ve gone back and forth between German and Japanese knives. Western-style Japanese models came into vogue because they had a finer edge. German knives soon followed suit, and many companies started producing knives with that same edge. Today, it’s less about style and more about the steel and the feel of the individual knife in your hand,” Kolanko says.

Play favorites

“My favorite German knife brand is Wüsthof, while my favorite Japanese brand would have to be Hattori. Forschner knives provide the best bang for your buck,” Kolanko says. “Good steel, basic design, no-frills solid knife.”

Ask the right questions

“The first thing to ask when shopping for a quality knife is whether it’s a forged or stamped blade,” Kolanko says. “Generally, forged blades have a reputation for being better quality, since forging makes the steel stronger. If you can afford to spend a little extra, opt for forged. However, if you’re trying to stick to a more affordable price point, J.A. Henckels and Wüsthof offer lines of stamped knives as well.”

Get the essentials

“Every kitchen should have a paring knife, boning and/or utility knife, and a chef’s knife,” Kolanko says. “I usually buy more affordable serrated knives for bread, and a serrated paring knife is a handy, cheap knife to have around. I love having a really nice slicer [a long, thin, straight-edged slicing knife] — regardless of style; it’s a special-occasion knife that’s nice to have when you’re presenting a beautiful roast.”

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Different types of knife sharpeners

Knife sharpeners sharpen or hone the cutting edge on knives’ steel blades and are either hand-held or electric devices. There are a number of different types of knife sharpeners, including steels and small countertop sharpening devices, whetstones and home or commercial electric models, according to the website Recipe Tips.

Whetstone or Carborundum Stone

  • A sharpening shone is either round-shaped or rectangular and 1/2 inch to several inches thick. Silicone dioxide minerals are mined and separated to produce hard, medium or soft grade whetstones. To use the stone for sharpening, a light weight lubricating oil is applied on it to enhance the natural oils within the stone. The carborundum sharpening stone is made from silicon carbide, an abrasive material that slowly deteriorates over time as the carbide material wears from use. Carborundum stones are rectangular in shape and generally have a smooth side and a coarse side. The coarser side is used first to sharpen the knife, which is then finished by using the smooth side.


Sharpening Steel and Manual Sharpeners

  • A sharpening steel is simply an elliptical or round steel shaft with a fine texture grinding surface. Other manual sharpeners are built with grinding devices set into a metal or plastic case and are known as countertop sharpeners. These types of sharpeners usually contain an abrasive surface that is diamond coated or a grinding stone of tungsten carbide. To use one, you draw the knife through the guides of the grinding stone at a pre-set angle. The knife is sufficiently honed after approximately four to six passes through the grinding stone.

Electric Sharpeners

  • An electric sharpener consists of internal grinding wheels that spin and can sharpen both serrated and straight knife blades, according to the Picky Guide to Knife Sharpeners website. Electric sharpeners work well for knives that are used frequently; however, you may find that a certain amount of control achieved with manual sharpeners is not present when using an electric sharpener. Electric sharpeners also are available with a different number of slots. (Source:

My Christmas Experience With A Kitchen Knife


Christmas time in my family always meant a lot. Like is the case with any family, this has always been a time not only to feast but also to reunite with those family members who we may not have seen for the entire year, majorly due to work or school commitments. Well, during last Christmas, however, I decided to break away from the norm and pay a friend of mine a visit. Maria lives on the other side of town and she had always pestered me to pay her a call but I just couldn’t find time for that. Well, as it were, time had permitted itself and upon seeing me, she jumped and screamed in a mixture of joy and disbelief.

We couldn’t waste time and since we were not so much of strangers, we both run into her kitchen to try and get the best meal that would make this occasion memorable. We divided tasks in the kitchen, where my role was to do the dishes and prepare the dining table while Maria did most of the cooking. It was at the height of our excitement that I noticed something unusual. In as much as she tried to put up a light face, I could not help noticing she was really straining whenever she tried to cut anything.

It is then that I mastered some courage and went straight up to her and asked why she was lagging behind on her end. At first, she hesitated but upon pressing harder, she agreed to confess about the terrible times she had been having with her kitchen knives. Well, I nearly got heart-broken as well, not only because I felt sorry for my friend, but because it was Christmas and I just could not bear the thought of such a trivial thing ruining such a great day. I thought for a moment and then an idea presented itself. We decided to search for the best kitchen knives on the internet and even before we could go further, we came across a page that sampled some of the very best. We quickly skimmed through the page and obtained physical addresses of some of the dealers.

Related post: How to select a quality kitchen knife
I grabbed Maria’s hands and rushed out of the house and luckily, one of the mentioned dealers was still open so we rushed inside and through the help of one of the store’s attendant, we were able to get ourselves a perfect kitchen knife. We came out of the store nearly as quickly as we got in, and Maria was surprised at just how it can be easy to find some of the best kitchen knives. All in all, we were happy that Christmas wouldn’t be ruined, at least not because of the mere fact of lacking a proper kitchen knife.

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Kitchen! Kitchen! Kitchen!

Anything and everything you want can be gotten from your kitchen. The kitchen is like the most amazing part of the house! (apart from our room of course) When you come back home from school, work, church or even shopping the first place you visit is your kitchen! The kitchen just gives such soothing vibes. Am I right?

For those of you who don’t agree with me then I am going ot categorize you under the boring column (no offence). The kitchen is the place you cook your meal, you sit and chat with your family and just the place where mostly everyone gathers most of the time at home.

Come on! You have got to agree with me that just hanging in the kitchen is way much cooler and fun than the living room. Honest truth! It’s where you produce food! Like seriously FOOD! And who in their right mind wouldn’t like that?

Well but coming to point, in this little website of mine, I will be sharing somethings I know about the kitchen, how to move about in the kitchen and maybe even some interesting things you didn’t know about some things in the kitchen! Take the kitchen knives for instance. How many of us really know how to use the kitchen knives properly or how many of us are even using it in the right way?

Come on, let’s all learn new things about our kitchen together. I’m sure it’s going to be super fun!