Care and sharpening. Always use a knife on a cutting board. Wash and dry a knife by hand right after using it; don’t soak it or wash it in a dishwasher (certain high-quality knives are dishwasher safe). Store knives in a wooden knife block or with blades up on a wall-mounted magnetic rack. If you must store them in a drawer, use a divider or knife rack to prevent the blades from bumping against and nicking one another.
Before each use, sharpen a knife with a chef’s steel. Grasp the steel in your left hand (if you’re right-handed)
and the knife in your right. Place the heel of the blade against the steel’s tip, as shown, with the sharp edge of the blade meeting the steel at a 15- to 20-degree angle. Applying light pressure, quickly draw the knife toward you and to the right so that the entire blade passes over the steel. Repeat the action with the blade beneath and at the same angle to the steel. Alternate strokes until each side has passed over the steel 10 to 20 times.
To restore a badly dulled blade, use a bench stone with coarse and fine sides. Apply light mineral oil to the stone before using it (some stones must soak in oil overnight; check package directions). Place the stone coarse side up and lengthwise in front of you. Place the heel of the blade on the stone so that its sharp edge is at a 15- to 20-degree angle to the stone. Maintain this angle throughout the procedure. Applying pressure with both hands, draw the blade in an arc across the stone so that the entire length of the blade is sharpened. Flip the blade and reverse the stroke. Repeat 10 times on each side. Continue with a few light strokes over the fine side of the stone. Wipe the blade and the stone clean. Finish with a few strokes on the chef’s steel.