Working with a sharp knife is a lot safer, easier and more efficient than trying to cut and slice with a dull one. The best way to guarantee razor-sharp cutlery? Proper use, care and storage – and your knives will provide you with a lifetime of great service.
Professional chefs guarantee safe and efficient prep work by following the practice of mise en place, a French phrase that literally means “set in place.” This means arranging your workspace, tools and ingredients so that the task flows in a smooth, logical manner.
- Organize your prep area before you begin a task. Make sure you have all the knives you’ll need – plus kitchen towels and a sanitizing solution to wipe and clean cutlery as necessary.
- Always use a resilient composition or wooden cutting board – cutting on metal, glass or marble surfaces will dull and eventually damage your knife blade. If you use the same board for meats, poultry or seafood and vegetables or fruit, be sure to sanitize it when you switch from one type of food to another.
To guarantee the best performance, it’s a good idea to hone your knife blade with a sharpening steel before each use. The edge of the blade is made up of microscopic cutting teeth that flatten out over time. Using a ceramic or metal steel helps maintain a knife's sharp edge by "trueing" it – that is, smoothing and realigning the worn carbon-steel cutting teeth. To restore your knives to their factory edges, use a manual or electric sharpener. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/edgeware-ceramic-electric-knife-scissor-sharpener
You'll want to have your favorite knives close at hand, but protected. With this in mind, never keep your cutlery loose in a drawer or in containers with other utensils. Instead, store knives in a block or in a drawer with a special cutlery insert. This will guard the blades and keep sharp edges safely covered. Wall-mounted racks, magnetic knife bars or individual knife sheaths are other safe, convenient ways to store cutlery. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/zwilling-j-a-henckels-cronidur-8-piece-knife-block-set
The Right Way to Clean
Fine cutlery should never be cleaned in the dishwasher – the intense heat and temperature changes will dull the knife blade and may actually cause the handle to deteriorate. After each use, carefully wash the knives by hand in warm soapy water, then rinse and thoroughly dry them with a towel.