Kitchen knife know-how
Are your kitchen knives cutting it or are you working with blunt tools? Füri ambassador Sachie Nomura of Sachie’s Kitchen shares her tips on how to assemble and care for an affordable, pro-level knife set at home.
Blunt or unwieldy kitchen knives aren’t fun to cook with (they’re actually really dangerous - but more on that later). So every home cook should have a great set of knives, or even just one or two, that will be the backbone of a kitchen arsenal and make home cooking more enjoyable and efficient. Take our word for it, they’re worth the investment.
Unless you’re a trained chef though, or have had some knife know-how passed on to you, knowing which knives to buy, how much money to spend on them, and how to care for them can be confusing. So we asked author, TV presenter and creator of Sachie’s Kitchen cooking school Sachie Nomura to give us the low-down on how to build a good basic knife set at home, plus some intel on how she cares for her knives to keep them sharp and make them last longer.
There are countless different types and sizes of knives available to buy and plenty of fantastic brands available at an affordable price, but if you’re just starting out on your quest to build a decent knife set at home, Sachie recommends investing in three essentials: a Santoku, a utility knife, and a paring knife. We also recommend doing some research into brands and materials, then trying out the knives in store (we stock a range of options and price-points, including world-leading brands like Global and Wusthof). Sachie says she couldn’t live without her Füri East/West Santoku knife: “It’s like a Chinese cleaver and a cook’s knife all in one. I use it for all sorts of different tasks from slicing large cuts of meat to fine chopping herbs and even crushing garlic with the flat of the blade”.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to get good knives, in fact sometimes very expensive knives (we’re talking around the $1,000 mark) will require more maintenance than you’ve got time for. According to Sachie, who is a Füri knives ambassador, the most important things to consider are the weight of the knives, how they feel in your hands and the quality of materials. “You should always hold the knife before you purchase it so that you can check the balance of the weight in your hand,” she advises. “A good balance of weight and a good quality handle will reduce slip, meaning less hand fatigue while you’re working. It’s also important to check the grade of steel - this will help ensure that the knives last a long time”.
It seems counter-intuitive but one of the easiest ways to injure yourself in the kitchen is by using a blunt knife. All that extra force that you have to apply means you’re more likely to slip and hurt yourself, so Sachie says maintaining sharp knives is the secret of all good chefs and cooks! “I normally sharpen my knives once a week, over the weekend or whenever I feel I need a bit of sharpening before slicing tomatoes or sashimi, etc.,” she says. The fastest and easiest way to sharpen your knives at home is to use a compact benchtop sharpener like the Füri Diamond Compact Knife Sharpener or Global Knife Sharpener. “I swipe the blade though the sharpener five or six times then wash with soapy water,” says Sachie. “It gives you a consistent result every time you use it, and then it can be stored compactly in a drawer. A good quality chopping board will also help to reduce damage to your knives.”
Clean and store
It’s tempting to throw your kitchen knives in the drawer with your other utensils, but this a big no-no. If you want to maintain your investment, you’ll want to opt for a magnetic knife rack attached to your wall or a wooden knife block (many knife sets will conveniently come with their own block), which will protect the cutting edge - and look nice in your kitchen too. When it comes to cleaning your tools, Sachie’s top tip is to avoid the dishwasher and don’t leave your knives to drain dry. “I always use detergent and a sponge to clean the knives, then dry them off well and store them in the wooden block as soon as I finish using them. This way, you will keep your knives lasting long in your kitchen!”
And lastly, Sachie’s knife recommendations for the home cooking enthusiast
“I have a selection of Füri knives sitting on my bench at home and I use the Pro Chef’s Knife and East/West Santoku every day. These knives have the durability and design of western knives, which I love, and also the sharpness of Japanese stainless steel which is also a must in my books. I also like the seamless construction of a Füri knife, which means that there are no joins or cracks for food to get caught in - so it’s easy to clean too!”