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Do Chefs Carry Knives?
It’s a question we hear regularly. After all, chefs are often shuttling from one kitchen or location to the next, be it for a dinner party, catered event or differing restaurants.
Chef’s love their knives. And why wouldn’t they. These are the prized ‘tools of the trade’ and every chef has their own preferences. Having become intimately familiar with how their own knives perform in hand, many chefs want to take their knives with them.
But can they, and should they? What situations may this pose a problem in, and what is the safest way to do it?
All these questions and more will be covered in this guide. Let’s get started
Benefits of a Chef Carrying Knives
First up, what are the benefits of a chef carrying their own knives?
A chef’s job is often fast-paced, complex and requires a level of precision and skill mere mortals fall short of. It’s a demanding job, and one that can (at times) even be quite dangerous.
For all of these reasons and more, many chefs prefer to work with a set of kitchen tools, knives included, that they are familiar with.
Below are the key reasons why a chef would carry their own knives:
Being a cook or a chef can be dangerous, especially when dealing with razor-sharp blades that can cut through bone. Familiarity with a knife, its balance in hand, movements, ergonomics and more can all greatly reduce the risk of accidental injury.
A chef’s own knives are reliable and capable. They let the chef get more done faster, and with better results than would be had if the chef was left working with a strange set of untested blades.
A chef’s knife is akin to an extension of their own hand. This level of familiarity in performance enables a chef to achieve unparalleled precision with cuts, especially for more delicate food items.
A chef will carry their own knives to ensure that the work they do and the food items prepared are done so up to the same quality standards expected, no matter what kitchen they are working in.
Traveling With Knives: What every chef needs to know
Despite the benefits (and popularity) of a chef bringing their own knives to work, there are some challenges to consider; mainly laws regarding the transport of knives.
Use Caution When Traveling with a Knife - even if its just a kitchen knife for work
Most culinary schools will advise chefs who carry a knife to store them in toolboxes under lock and key. Although you may not need to go to THAT extreme, there are some special considerations when traveling with your knives.
Carrying Chef Knives on an Airplane
TSA and other airline policies place strict regulations on what types of items can and cannot be traveled with. Several TSA regulations prohibit the transport of knives on your person or in carry-on luggage. However, knives ARE allowed in checked luggage, which is always the best option if you need to travel by plane with your blades.
Carrying Chef Knives On a Bus or Railway
Similar to airline travel, travel on railways tends to be highly restrictive when it comes to knives. Amtrak, for example, has a zero-tolerance ban on all knives. This includes stowing them in luggage, in your carry on, and on your person. Although not strictly enforced (no one is searching your bags), that doesn’t mean you can’t end up in hot water if caught.
On the other hand, a major bus transport company, Greyhound, allows knives so long as they are in storage and not on your person.
Transporting Chef Knives in a Personal Vehicle
That’s right, even in your own car you may be at risk when traveling with your knives. Here we may have to contend now only with local laws, but also those regulating interstate travel. Your best bet is always to have them locked away in a toolchest or other container and in the trunk of the vehicle where they are out of reach and out of sight.
Safely Storing Chef Knives During Transport
It’s not just the law that you need to worry about when taking your chef knives with you on the go. Protecting your blades from damage caused by knocking around is also a paramount consideration.
When transporting your blades from one place to another there are a few tried and true ways to ensure your investment doesn’t get damaged in the process.
Towels: In a pinch, and/or when the budget doesn’t allow, wrapping each blade in a towel can keep it safe from point A to point B.
Knife Bag: Knife bags, or ‘rolls’, are uniquely engineered to fit each knife in your set. The ‘bag’ is rolled up when in transit, and unrolled to display the knives when ready for use.
Can a Chef Carry Knives: the bottom line
They can, and most do. However, always take precautions to protect yourself, others and your blades from injury and damage. When in doubt, research local laws regarding traveling with blades and take measures to ensure you’re compliant.