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choosing my first kitchen knife

By Jeremie Plane

Choosing your first kitchen knife is considered important because it is the first kitchen knife you will own that will remain etched in your memory. Some of the most common kitchen knives include chef knives, paring knives, serrated knives, and boning knives. Each knife has its own unique features, such as blade length, weight, and handle design, that make it well-suited for specific tasks. Let's begin!

Our Guidance to Selecting Your First Kitchen Knife

KOTAI's knives are made with Japanese 440C high-carbon steel for outstanding edge retention. KOTAI is a hybrid between a Japanese and a German blade profile.

Contemplate Before Choosing

It is essential to do your research on the knife you are about to buy. If you find a chef knife priced less, it is very likely that it will not meet your expectations in terms of quality. So, plan your budget well in advance according to your expectations of your knife and its use.

It is better to buy one or two knives of premium quality, that you can use for the rest of your life with proper maintenance versus a set of regular knives which will disappoint you in a lesser span of time.

KOTAI's knives are made with Japanese 440C high-carbon steel for outstanding edge retention. KOTAI is a hybrid between a Japanese and a German blade profile.

Prioritise Function over Aesthetics

Prioritizing function over aesthetics when buying a kitchen knife is important because a kitchen knife's primary purpose is to help you prepare food effectively and efficiently.

A good kitchen knife should have a comfortable handle, a well-balanced blade, and a sharp edge that can handle a variety of cutting tasks. It should be easy to handle, comfortable to use, and sharp enough to cut through food with ease. Aesthetics are secondary. A knife that looks good but doesn't perform well in the kitchen is not a good investment. Over time, a knife that is not functional can become frustrating to use and may even discourage you from cooking.

KOTAI's knives are made with Japanese 440C high-carbon steel for outstanding edge retention. KOTAI is a hybrid between a Japanese and a German blade profile.

Consider It More Than a Knife:

A quality knife needs maintenance. Do not think of buying a knife and using it for a longer duration without ever honing or sharpening it. It is necessary to include a honing steel, and / or a sharpening stone also known as whetstone as part of your knife maintenance ritual. A honing steel exactly does the job of a toothbrush where you can sharpen your knives regularly (once a week is a good frequency to follow in case you are a home chef) versus a sharpening stone (also known as waterstone) plays a bigger role like a dentist where you must use it once in a few months depending on your usage.

KOTAI's Recommendations

GYUTO: The Chef Knife

Gyuto means "beef knife" in english. It is a medium sized knife with multiple uses. It allows you to cut vegetables or meat, coarsely or very precisely thanks to the tip of its blade. Moreover, the size of the blade is generally between 18 and 21 centimetres for the medium size, and between 24 and 27 centimetres for a larger blade. It is a simple knife to handle when it is not too big, so it easily becomes everyone's ally, fulfilling many tasks in the kitchen.

KOTAI’s Gyuto is the Japanese equivalent of the chef knife, nimble and well-balanced for a comfortable grip. KOTAI’s Gyuto is the perfect tool for cutting meat into pieces without the bones. Gyuto is also very effective for slicing herbs or cutting vegetables.

KOTAI's Gyuto Chef Knife

KOTAI's Gyuto chef knife has a blade measuring 20 centimetres, the perfect size to have a good edge and a good balance between the handle and the blade. It has the edge of a Japanese knife and the robustness of a German knife. In addition to that, the small air bubbles due to the hammered pattern of the blade prevent the food from sticking to the knife, and thus avoid streaks during cutting.

SANTOKU: Multi-purpose Knife

The Santoku is the all-purpose kitchen knife. In fact, "Santoku" means "three virtues" because of its versatile blade, capable of cutting vegetables, meat and even fish. It has the ability to mince, slice, and even chop food. Regarding its blade, it can measure between 10 and 20 centimeters. It is therefore a light and easy to handle knife.

KOTAI's Santoku’s thin blade allows for precise and sharp cuts, never crushing even the most delicate food to preserve their full flavour.

KOTAI Pakka Santoku

KOTAI's Santoku, 18 cm blade, is light and robust. It allows you to perform all kinds of tasks in the kitchen. It has a shorter blade than a traditional chef knife, which makes it easier to handle and maneuver for tasks like mincing herbs and slicing vegetables. The blade of a Santoku knife is typically wider and flatter than a chef knife, which helps to prevent food from sticking to the blade during use. 

KOTAI's Bunka Santoku is the more traditional equivalent of the Santoku: a versatile knife ideal for chopping vegetables and fruits, slicing through meats, and preparing fish (everything except bones and frozen foods).

KOTAI Bunka Santoku

Allow us to also briefly introduce to our Bunka Santoku whose tip has a less round finish than the normal Santoku. It is also a bit smaller, with its blade measuring about 17 centimetres. Just like the common Santoku, the Bunka has a tall and flat blade profile; however, their blade tips are shaped differently. Bunka knives are recognisable from their “reverse Tanto” profile,also called “K-tip”, which makes them more precise than a classic rounded blade.

Bunka Petty: Universal Knife

The Bunka petty universal knife is a versatile kitchen tool with a sharp blade, designed for precise cutting tasks. The Bunka petty knife also known as the universal knife sits between a paring knife and a chef knife, offering the best of both worlds. With a compact size, it is perfect for intricate slicing, dicing and mincing. The high-quality Japanese steel ensures longevity and reliability, making it a great investment for any home cook. 

KOTAI's Bunka Petty is ideal for small and detailed cutting tasks, where a full-sized chef knife would be too cumbersome.

KOTAI's Bunka Petty Utility Knife

KOTAI's Bunka Petty, 13.5 cm blade is the Japanese equivalent to a small utility knife. It is ideal for small and detailed cutting tasks, where a full-sized chef knife would be too cumbersome. The Bunka Petty features a Tsuchime (hammered) blade for aesthetics and performance, and a hidden full tang for optimal balance and durability. Forged with Japanese 440C high-carbon stainless steel, the KOTAI Bunka Petty's blade will stay sharp up to 10 times longer than other knives. 

Get Ready to Elevate Your Cooking Game with KOTAI

To sum up, when choosing your first kitchen knife, it is important to consider the tasks you'll be using it for, as well as your own comfort and personal preferences. A chef knife is a good all-purpose option, but a Santoku is great for multiple tasks and a petty utility knife is ideal for intricate slicing, dicing and mincing. It's also important to consider the material of the blade, with high-carbon stainless steel being a popular choice for its durability and ease of maintenance. When trying out knives, look for a comfortable handle and good balance. 

KOTAI's hidden full tang blades extend all the way to the bottom of the handle for superior durability and balance. It's also helpful to get a feel for the weight and grip of the knife before making a decision. With these factors in mind, you'll be able to choose the right kitchen knife for you and your cooking needs.