Chef's knives are some of the larger knives used in food preparation, surpassed only by cleavers and a few of the longer serrated knives. The blade is usually roughly eight inches (20 cm) long and one and a half inches (3.8 cm) wide, though a large variery of sizes exist. The blade is triangular, with a slight curve along the edge, similar in many ways to a very large paring knife. Chef's knives are usually the most expensive piece of cutlery that one can buy. Cheaper versions made of stamped steel are available, forged versions are usually better and correspondingly pricier, and the cost can shoot up to the better part of a thousand dollars for really nice ceramic version.
The chef's knife is perhaps the most essential of all kitchen knives, with the paring knife coming in a close second in importance. The chef's knife is shaped for optimal use in the majority of all chopping and slicing a cook must do. Its size makes it hefty enough for chopping, and its shape helps the cook with the repetitive cuts so important for the uniform and swift slicing of ingredients. Assuming the edge is properly sharpened and maintained, it will be a welcome blessing in any kitchen. The basic slicing/chopping motion with the chef's knife involves a steady "rocking" cut. Start off by gripping the handle with three fingers while placing your thumb and forefinger on either side of the blade for control. While keeping the tip of the blade on your cutting surface, bring the edge down in a steady rocking motion, using your off hand to push the uncut portion of the ingredient along as you complete each cut. Don't forget to keep your fingertips curled inward so you don't hurt yourself. The key here is a steady, rhythmic motion that will let you get through this drudge work quickly and effectively, so you can get to the fun stuff, like personalizing the dish, eating, and getting someone else to wash the dishes.