I have been using a set of Farberware knifes that came as a set with a knife block and shears. They were "full tang" which in ENGLISH just means that the blade extends into the end of the handle and "riveted" to mean that the blade was well secured to the handle with three visible metal rivets. This ensures durability so you don't have to be worried about your blade breaking off from the handle.
Then one day I broke off the tip of my Farberware Chef's knife, cutting into a hard piece of cheese and decided that it was time to do some research and buy a "good" chef's knife.That's where I got completely lost. So apparently knives are primarily of two types:
Forged blades which are apparently considered superior to stamped blades or blades that are cookie cutter type cut from a piece of steel. Forged blades hence have a heft and weight that stamped blades which are thinner don't. While forged blades are apparently easier to sharpen at home, stamped blades retain there sharpness longer.
Carbon blades are supposed to be superior but more high maintenance and prone to rusting. Stainless steel blades are rust resistant and inexpensive.There are also Ceramic blades which hold the sharpness longest but can also chip and break easily and are not for a klutz like me. I will be looking for a blade which has a combination of carbon and stainless steel for edge retention and rust resistance.
I got myself a very sharp little knife from Chicago Cutlery for about $6 and use it for small everyday tasks like peeling and slicing fruits, veggies etc.
Santoku knives are great for chopping, dicing and mincing vegetables. The blades have hollows that prevent food from sticking onto them. They can also be used instead of cleavers when you want to be nasty to a big hunk of meat. I'm also mastering the cut and scoop technique that these broad blades facilitate (through knife skills demos on youtube- awesomeness! ) They are sharp and like my older knives, full tang and riveted. However they don't have a pointy end so you can't really use them to slice into something like a watermelon.
So you see, I still need a good Chef''s knife. Since that's one I know I will be using the most, I want to make sure that I get a good one, that will be easy to maintain and keep its sharpness.The brands that I am considering are Wusthof and Henckels as well as Victorinox which is the most popular and highly rated on sites like Amazon.com with over 400 reviewers as well as several food bloggers swearing by it.
The Wusthof brand has several brand lines and while there are lines like the Gourmet line and the Emirilware line, which are cheaper because unlike the other lines they are stamped and not forged blades, they are considered inferior. The lines to look for and the more expensive are Wusthof Ikon, Cordon bleu, Culinare and Classic as explained here
Henckels has just two product lines- the higher end Zwilling and the affordable International line.
Aside from a good knife, those in the know, including an aunt who has been using them for years, also suggest a good pair of kitchen shears or scissors. I use my Farberware shears to cut up meat, chicken and fish right in the bowl so no drippy icky juices all over the place and clean up is so much easier. I also have a pair of chicago cutlery scissors I use for everything else including chopping up salad right in the salad bowl, snipping herbs. cutting dough, etc. There is also a bottle opener at the end of mine! Use those shears! You'll be glad you do-prep work just gets way easier.
Will keep you posted on my Great Hunt for that elusive Chef's Knife!