Cooking delicious and presentable food isn’t just about mixing the right ingredients and following recipes.
At the same time, you must also be wary of the mise en place and post-cooking stages.
Prep time includes slicing, cutting, dicing, and more.
On the other hand, post-cooking is mostly cutting and serving the cooked dish, requiring the use of a knife.
That is why manufacturers produce several knives to ensure professional chefs have everything they need.
The chef’s knife is one of the tools primarily used because of its versatility, so some home cooks wonder and ask, “Can you use a chef’s knife for carving?”
Others also get confused about which knife they should buy or if they even need to have an array of knives.
What Is a Chefs Knife?
Thanks to its design, most of us are already aware that a chef knife is a multi-purpose tool.
It has a wider blade than other knives and a length ranging from six to 14 inches.
You’ll notice that it comes with a sharp edge and a prominent tip with a sloping curve.
This is what differentiates it from another versatile tool, the Santoku knives, which have straight blades.
With this kind of blade, it is easier for chefs or home cooks to execute the rocking motion when cutting.
This popular cutting technique involves rocking the knife back and forth with the tip resting on the board.
It allows you to cut ingredients quickly and safely with little to no hand fatigue.
What Is a Chef Knife Used For?
A chefs knife, an all-purpose knife, is the perfect choice for performing small tasks.
You can use it for julienning, slicing, and dicing vegetables, chopping herbs, and mincing garlic.
It’s also ideal for slicing small ham, spatchcocking chicken, chopping nuts, separating meat from bones, and cutting meat into slices.
Although these are versatile knives, they’re not the best option for disjointing some cuts of meat or cleaving meat bones.
It’s also not for peeling vegetables and fruits, slicing crusty ingredients or types of bread, and carving dense pieces of meat.
How To Use a Chef Knife
To give you an idea of how to slice ingredients with a chef knife, here are the general steps to follow:
Step 1: Securely hold the ingredients with your non-dominant hand against your cutting board.
Step 2: Curl your fingers into a claw, tucking your knuckles underneath.
Step 3: Grip your chef knife with your dominant hand.
Step 4: Line up your knife across the ingredient’s top with its point angled down the cutting board.
Step 5: Slice through your ingredient following a rocking motion without lifting the whole knife or the tip leaving the cutting board.
Make sure you don’t use too much force or pressure.
What Is a Carving Knife?
These types of kitchen knives are available in different sizes, from eight to 14 inches.
We recommend purchasing the one with the longest blade
The general rule of thumb says to use a carving knife longer than the size of the largest food item you plan to slice.
Apart from the long blade, these knives also have narrow blades with pointed tips, so they look like an elongated utility knife or paring knife.
This knife blade design allows you to saw through the food item effortlessly and quickly.
You’ll also find that the sides of some modern carving knives have large but shallow dimples.
This is called Grantons or Granton edge, which helps further reduce resistance from the item being cut.
What Is a Carving Knife Used For?
Aptly named, this knife can carve through cooked or roasted meats, turkey, chicken, and ham, allowing you to serve precisely cut thin slices.
You won’t have to worry much about getting around and into joints and working around the bones, thanks to its sharp, pointed tip.
However, refrain from using these types of knives to cut meat bones, as doing so can damage their thin blades.
Carving knives are also great at filleting large pieces of fish to prevent mangling or tearing the meat.
You may also use them as fruit and vegetable knives.
How To Use a Carving Knife
Unlike chef knives, there is really no ideal way to use your 14-inch knives or eight-inch knife since it will depend on the meat type and your style.
Just make sure you keep the following in mind:
- The blade is placed slightly angled against the item you want to carve.
- Always saw through the meat with a quick back and forth motion.
- The blade should never come in contact with your serving dish or cutting board.
Can You Use a Chef’s Knife for Carving?
The answer to this question is both a yes and a no.
No, because the chef knife’s wide blade won’t allow you to produce thin cuts of meat as clean as when using carving knives.
You’ll find that some or most of the slices have torn meat and rugged edges, especially when you use short chef knives.
That’s because you won’t be able to slice the food with one go effortlessly.
That said, you can use your chef knife as an alternative, but use one with a long blade and follow the same technique as when slicing with carving knives.
Plus, check that the blade is at its sharpest when you cut the meat into slices with your chef knife.
Lastly, only slice boneless meats since a chef knife isn’t as excellent as carving knives when working around meat bones and joints.
Do You Really Need Carving Knives?
Can you really use a chef’s knife for carving?
At the end of the day, chef knives can perform a variety of tasks, while carving knives are specialized pieces of kitchen equipment.
Hence, you’ll find some home cooks satisfied with having a whole set of chef knives and sometimes, adding a paring and utility knife.
You can use a chef knife for carving as long as what you’re cutting isn’t too big and is bone-free.
Although you might find it impractical to get a carving knife, precisely cut slices of roast or baked turkey, beef, and chicken are tastier.
After all, you eat with your eyes first. That’s why chefs make it a point to plate their dishes creatively.
Also, you won’t have to spend too much time and effort slicing the biggest roast or turkey during Thanksgiving, a dinner party, and other special occasions and gatherings.