Gwen Schoen talks knives with Shawn Menard, executive chef of Chops Steakhouse. Video by Scott R. Craig / Sacramento Bee.
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Tags:Learn The Chopping Techniques,kitchen,knives,sacramento bee,sharpen
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Gwen: Hi I am Gwen Schoen. Food Writer for the Sacramento Bee and today in the kitchen, we are learning how to sharpen knives. And with us is Chef Shawn Menard, Executive Chef of Chops Steakhouse in Sacramento.
Chef Shawn: Thank you.
Gwen: So tell us, when you are shopping for a new knife, knifes are very expensive. So, what are you looking for?
Chef Shawn: Well, you know like you said, knives are very expensive. So, what you want to do is you want to find a high quality knife that fits your price range. This is one of my personal favorite knives. This is a shun knife, it is Japanese construction. Very hard steel, hold and edge very well. This runs about $200.00. And remember, you do get what you pay for when it comes to your knives. This second knife, this is a Wusthof Grand Prix, this is a six inch chef knife. It is also a multipurpose knife like this. This one has a lifetime warranty. If you break it, you can send it back to Germany and get a replacement.
This is a very high quality knife, very popular on the market as with professionals as well as amateur cooks.
This is another model that they make. They actually made these blades with two different types of handle. This is the classic series. It has rebutted handle, a little bit smaller, fit your hand a little tighter. This one is could use for carving poultry and for slicing. And we have another knife, this is the Japanese vegetable knife and it is made specifically for vegetables and it has what is called the granton edge and those scallops are so that high starch foods such as potatoes or sweet potatoes do not stick to your blade when you are cutting them.
This one has an ergonomically shaped handle just like this, very high quality steel, maintains and edge you know a very long time and this will give you in at the home cook, you can probably get 10 years with use out of these knives.
Gwen: Now, how about the feels in your hand, is that important?
Chef Shawn: That is the most important factor. Like I said, it is all about what fit your price range and what feels the best in your hand. You going to go with how the handle feels in your hand, the balance, the chopping motion,
Chef Shawn: And you definitely do not want something where you are going to be knocking your knuckles on the board.
Gwen: Oh, that was a good tip. [Laughing] so, when do you know when it is time to sharpen the knives?
Chef Shawn: It is time to sharpen the knives when you know when you can get through the simple things like tomatoes skin or a lime. And to sharpen your knife, just simply take it, your normal steel and you want to hold it on a 45 degree angle and what I like to do is I like to take it and I will do it four sides on the side. Four strokes here and then take it down to three and then two, then one. And after that, you should have perfectly double blade.
Gwen: Now, you can use that same technique for sharpening something like this that has a texture---
Chef Shawn: Yes, you can. There is another type of knife though that has a very extreme double on one side and a slight one on the other and for that knife what you want to do is you want to sharpen five times on the side with the bevel and once on the side without.
Gwen: Okay and you do not want to sharpen the knives that are serrated right?
Chef Shawn: Actually, you can, but you want to take those for professional and have it done professionally.
Gwen: Okay, great! Now, what about these little gadgets that you can find at the grocery stores and house ware stores where you just sort of drag the blade through?
Chef Shawn: They are a great gimmick but they actually do more harm than they do good. They take off so much steel that will shorten the life of your knife by probably you know, a year within six months.
Gwen: So you better off using your steel?
Chef Shawn: Ah-hum
Gwen: Great, well thanks Shawn.
Chef Shawn: Thank you.
Gwen: I really appreciate it. Thanks a lot, it is very helpful.