I'm wondering if a slicing knife really does a better job than a chef's knife, and whether it would be worth the extra cost and storage space.
Hi Skewered...welcome to ChefTalk!
You know, we've got a great group of knife enthusiasts over in the knife forum who will be able to help you. Unfortunately for you, I am not one of them Does a slicing knife do a better job than a chef's knife? A chef's knife is certainly more versatile, I would suggest using it for slicing until you're sure of the improvements you're looking for when slicing.
I'm wondering if a slicing knife really does a better job than a chef's knife?
It does a better job of doing the things it does better, but it's not as good at doing those things it's not as good as doing.
What is it you want it to do?
If it's one or the other, if used skillfully, in most hands, a chef's is a better choice as an all around knife. However, a slicer is better for portioning, trimming and carving.
If you're worried about "storage space" for a slicer, you have other pressing issues.
If you want one, it's worth the price and a slot in the block. I consider mine to be among my important and frequently used knives -- but that's me.
Here's some common European-style knives, top to bottom: cleaver, chefs knife, chefs knife (slightly smaller), fillet knife, slicer (AKA carving knife) and lastly serrated slicer (AKA bread knife).
Two other commonly used knives not pictured would be a paring knife and a boning knife. Type either one into google images and you'll get plenty of pictures of them.
I didn't even know we had a "slicing knife" mind you though a slicer is by far better than a chefs knife. I can cut 2 oz. turkey breast portions for club sandwiches. Carpaccio, smoked meats, ham portions and much more with greater accuracy than I could with a knife.
There's actually several types of slicing knives. The one in the picture is a general use slicer. The dimples (called grantons) in the blade help keep product from sticking to it and also help channel heat away from the edge when slicing hot foods. Other types of slicers include sashimi knives and lox knives. A chef I used to work for has a 14" slicing knife without grantons that cuts the most beautiful portions of fish you'll ever see. The length enables it to go through a loin of tuna in one stroke, so no cutting marks in the flesh.
A mechanical slicer is great for a lot of applications, but it can leave circular marks in the product being sliced. I wouldn't use it for higher end products like carpaccio. A slicing knife can do the same if used improperly, though.
Greg, thanks for the pic. Sure enough my two favorite knives are chef knives. Also have a couple of those slicers, one longer and with the dimples that I pretty much use only for slicing brisket, nothing I own works better for that. Knives I love are Dexter Russel, maybe not fancy like real chefs probably use but they are so well balanced and just the right thickness and weight imo, I love them.