Chef's Knife BladeThe best chef's knives are made of high-carbon stainless steel, which is a very hard metal that keeps its edge for a long time and won't discolor or rust like ordinary carbon steel.
To be sure, knives made from ordinary carbon steel aren't necessarily inferior. Some chefs love them, because the relatively softer metal makes them easier to sharpen. Of course, they go dull more easily, too.
Chef's knives are measured in inches, and lengths of 8" to 12" are common. A longer blade lets you make longer single-stroke cuts when slicing. The so-called "German" style of chef's knife tends to have a more curved section at the front of the blade, good for chopping in an up-and-down "rocking" motion.
The "French" style is straighter, and more triangular, which is good for a "slicing" type of motion where the knife is drawn straight back toward you.
In this picture we see the edge of a Japanese-style santoku knife. The hollow, beveled indentations ground into the blade are designed to create tiny pockets of air between the knife and the product being sliced, reducing friction and minimizing sticking. Next page >>