Dikristo derives from my Surname and my name ( I actually have two) with a little twist: Drakopoulos Christos.
It is usually misspelled as Dichristo or Dkristo or Dikrsto or Dicristo !
Carbon Steel knives are well known amongst the frequent knife users, amateur and professionals. They are well known because of their extremely sharp edges and edge retention properties. On the downside they rust easily. That means high maintenance and some other downsides(ex metallic taste to the food)
Stainless steel knives are well known because of their corrosion resistance properties, but not for their sharp edge. This is true for most of the cheap stainless steel available on the market, but now there are available new, expensive and high –end alloys in the market offering exceptional, razor sharp edge with unreal edge holding!
Ceramic knives are the “newest” to the knife market. They can be extremely hard and thus hold an exceptional edge but they are also very brittle and sensitive to braking/chipping. Usually cannot be sharpened by the user. A ceramic knife is not to be considered a choice if you are professional. The only good option for ceramics would be a ceramic peeler, which has great performance.
Japanese knives offer a wider variety, with knives for every kitchen task.
In the knife market, they are normally made with high carbon, hard steels, have a lower edge angle, αn asymmetric bevel grind and they have to be sharpened less often, but they also require more care.
Western knives offer considerably less variety of about 20 different profiles.
In the knife market they usually can be found with softer, stainless steels, symmetrical bevel grind and higher edge angle. Usually they require frequent sharpening (this refers to low-mid range knives).
Under this category we can say that we have two sub categories for the Chef’s Knife. German and French.
These two differentiate in the following:
- German profiles have more belly (greater arc) throughout the length of the edge
- French profiles are straighter and they have less belly
Practically the French profile helps to move the blade in a slicing motion, with the tip often lifted off the board whereas with the German profile the tip usually stays on the board when you chop with a rocking motion.
The optimal hardness for a kitchen knife is that of the specific job needed. If a knife cuts only lettuce, the highest hardness is desired but if some abuse is required then lowering the hardness is wise choice. Do not forget hardness is only an indicative of how a steel will perform!!!
Generally speaking, we could say that:
- Pros – Holds an edge better, greater edge stability
- Cons – More difficult to hone and sharpen
- Cons – Less tough, prone to chipping/cracking
Softer steels (58-60HRC)
- Pros – Easier to hone and sharpen
- Pros – Tougher, doesn’t chip easily
- Cons – Doesn’t hold the edge for a long time, bad edge stability
Again, there is no simple answer. The perfect angle depends on the purpose of use. For example, if you want a very sharp knife, you will have to sacrifice the durability of edge holding and vice versa. Below you can find an indicative table of the angles proposed. Generally speaking, a 15-18 degree angle will work for most knives.
|Type of Kitchen Knife||Typical Angles
|Cleaver||25 – 35 Degrees|
|Heavy Chef’s||20 – 25 Degrees|
|Light Chef’s||14 – 18 Degrees|
|Boning||18 – 20 Degrees|
|Carving||18 – 20 Degrees|
|Typical Japanese Knives||15-18 Degrees
|Fillet||12 – 15 Degrees|
|Paring||12 – 15 Degrees|
First of all let’s clear something. There is sharpness and there is cutting ability. A good example to understand the difference is an axe that can be razor sharp but doesn’t have great cutting ability and on the other hand an usharpened laser gyuto which has no edge but great cutting ability.
With that said, there are various “unofficial” tests for testing both. Many of them consist the cutting of paper in various thicknesses and angles, other shaving human hair etc.
In my opinion, the best is to perform a test by cutting eggplants, tomatoes and onions. For example, slicing a ripe tomato should be an easy task in every angle and pressure with a properly sharpened knife with great cutting ability.