There is nothing more impressive than watching a talented chef wielding a Damascus steel knife to prepare ingredients for a culinary masterpiece. Though a seasoned chef makes it look easy, much training and practice are required for safe and adept knife handling. In addition to using knives safely, it is important to implement safe strategies in storing and maintaining your restaurant’s knives.
Keeping knives sharp with regular sharpening will improve cutting ability and minimize injury. A weak knife is awkward to use, requires more force to cut, and will not provide optimal results. To balance sharpness and durability, most knife blades are designed with a 20-degree angle on each side of the cutting edge. For dishes with softer ingredients, sharpen knives to a 15-degree angle on each side. Keep in mind that the more narrow the angle a knife is sharpened, the more often it will need to be sharpened.
To sharpen, use a sharpening stone or knife sharpener to maintain the original precision of the blade. For touch ups, between thorough sharpenings use a sharpening steel.Always be alert and cognizant of where your fingers are in relation to the blade. If for any reason, you drop a knife during sharpening or use, let it fall to the floor, do not attempt to catch.
Create a designated storage space for your knives. When they are not in use, make sure that they are not laying around on work surfaces. Avoid storing knives loose in drawers, as that is not safe for kitchen staff and could damage the blade.
Knives should be stored on a magnetic knife holder or in a block to protect knives from contaminants and accidents. For a more portable option, choose a knife bag or case to keep knives safely stored when not in use.
In order to prevent contamination, it is important to clean knives immediately after use. Leaving dirty knives on work spaces or in sinks clutters the kitchen work space and could cause injury. Clean knives perform better. Knives with food residue on the handle or blade can become slippery during use. A secure grip is required for safety and effectiveness. Remember to always use a cutting board or chopping block for best results.