Sharp and efficient knives are a must in the kitchen. Without them food can not be prepared properly. Dull knives require more pressure to cut, and are prone to slip. This makes dull knives much more dangerous than sharp knives.
Follow these steps to maintain your commercial cutlery and the safety of your employees.
- Only cut food products with your commercial cutlery. Never use knives for cutting metal or other non-food substances. Also do not use your knives to pry open bottles or for any other purpose except cutting.
- Use the appropriate knife for the job. Every knife was designed for a specific purpose. Bread knives should never cut meat, and cleavers should never cut bread.
- Always use a cutting board. Avoid cutting on metal, ceramic or glass surfaces.
- Never put in the dishwasher. The hot water and movement can loosen the handle from the blade. Also when in the dishwasher the knife is sure to slosh around and hit other objects, thus dulling the blade and nicking your other utensils.
- Wash and dry immediately to prevent rusting. Never let knives soak, especially if they have wood handles. The wood expands when soaked in water.
- Store in a knife rack or on a magnetic knife rack to keep the blades sharp. Storing properly keeps the edges away from hard objects that can dull the blades. Do not store in drawers with other utensils. Not only will this dull your knives but it also poses a hazard each time someone reaches in the drawer to retrieve something.
- Rub wood handles with mineral oil. This seals them and prevents bacteria from seeping in.
To keep knives in tip top shape, most chefs hone their chef's knives daily. Commercial knives become dull when the edges of the blade fold over on themselves. Sometimes they fold to the left, sometimes to the right depending on how the knife is used to cut. When the blade is folded over, you should hone it using a sharpening steel
Eventually the blade will wear down and honing won’t be enough. At that point it is necessary to use a sharpening stone
or an electric sharpener to create an entirely new edge for your knife.
Serrated knives are not as easy to hone or sharpen, so they need to be replaced more often than other knives. When the knife has been worn down, sharpened and re-sharpened to the point where it cannot be maintained anymore, it is time to toss it and start over. Also, if the handle breaks, cracks or becomes loose from the blade, it is time to replace the knife. Never use a knife that has a broken or loose handle.