New year, new knife: How to choose your chef knife

PARK CITY, Utah — A quality chef knife will transform your cooking from a chore into a joy. Look forward to food prep as an opportunity to “play” with your favorite tool. At New West KnifeWorks, knives are made to provide a lifetime of good experiences in the kitchen.

Whether it’s a resolution to get more involved in the kitchen or tackle that complex recipe, the reality is that one knife makes all the difference. An everyday chef knife will be the one you use for 90% of kitchen tasks. New West KnifeWorks has a lot of options, from different shapes and weights to lengths, to become your best friend in the kitchen.

Here’s a list of the best chef knives created with a lifetime of cooking in mind:

The Teton Edge Santoku Japanese-style knife. Photo: Lara Agnew.

The Teton Edge Santoku

One of New West KnifeWorks’ signature knives is a take on the Japanese-style Santoku blade. The Santoku knife adds a “Western” sensibility to the classic shape with the added bonus of etched Teton Mountains on the blade. The curved belly of the blade allows for more of a rocking motion than a traditional Santoku, which is designed for more of a straight up-and-down chopping motion. The “Teton Edge” is East meets West, and it’s the best of both worlds.

“A modern twist on the classic Japanese Santoku knife, its high-performing alloyed steel is ready to take on the sturdiest of vegetables. A slick leather case and a bold, colorful handle add to the visual appeal.” – San Francisco Chronicle

The 8″ Chef Knife

All New West knives use CPM S35VN steel. The 8″ blade shape accentuates the possibilities of this best-in-class, American steel. While S35VN has high carbon and is extremely sharp, what makes it unique and special is that even with all that carbon, it is also extremely tough and resilient; making an incredibly thin and lightweight blade that won’t chip or break. The tapered tip front portion of the blade “bites” into whatever you may be slicing. This is a lightweight alternative for folks who find a regular 8” knife unwieldy. Or, for folks who just prefer the agility of an ultra-light, thin knife.

The Petty

At 6”, this is definitely smaller than a full size chef knife; it’s a hybrid “utility” knife. It performs well on the cutting board while light and agile enough in the hand to use as a large paring knife. If you had to have one knife with you on a deserted island to do everything, this would be it. The Petty is New West KnifeWorks’ most famous knife. In addition to being featured in the New York Times, it was also chosen by two of the chefs from Bon Appetit Test kitchen as their favorite knife.

New West KnifeWorks founder Corey Milligan with his brother-in-law’s namesake, the Chris Kidder Special. Photo: Lara Agnew.

This knife was designed by NWKW’s knife-maker in chief, Corey Milligan. Milligan’s brother-in-law, Chris Kidder is a professional, “uber-chef” in Southern California. The knife is almost 12” in length. But don’t be intimidated, the learning curve for a longer knife is very quick. The “French-style” shape lends itself to a slicing motion. Once you get the hang of it, this knife does all the heavy lifting.

The 9″ Chef Knife

Hunter Lewis, editor in chief of Food & Wine Magazine, described this knife as his “best friend in the Kitchen.” While The 9″ is a longer knife, many noted it has the best balance of any knife they’ve ever held. The generous curve of the belly allows for both straight, smooth slicing or rocking motion. The blade is wider than the Kidder and ample enough for scooping ingredients from the cutting board.

The 5″ Chopper is small, but mighty. Despite its size, it will do anything a full-size chef knife can. Photo: Lara Agnew.

The Chopper

At 5” the Chopper is shorter than a traditional chef knife. But for people who prefer the compact size and shape, this special-purpose kitchen knife will perform all the tasks a full-size chef knife achieves. The famous “Salsa” knife works great on veggies and has a generously wide blade for scooping the ingredients into a pan or bowl.

The absolute best way to get a feel for these knives and choose your best fit is to visit New West KnifeWorks at 625 Main Street and get hands on.

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