This is the classic shape of the Western-style chef’s knife:
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In China, what they refer to as a chef’s knife looks more like what we Westerners would call a cleaver:
Interestingly, Fiskars has redesigned their chef’s knife in what at first appears to be a hybrid of the two, offering a handle-to-blade relationship similar to the Chinese design, but with a blade surface area similar to the Western design.
My question was “why?” Apparently it’s for ergonomic reasons: “We studied chefs and found they pinch the blade for maximum control so we sought to make that grip easy and intuitive,” Fiskars writes. “We did it by moving the chef’s ‘pinch-grip’ zone up and away from the blade to the handle where Softgrip® contouring guides and cushions your hand. Now the optimum grip is easy and automatic so you’re free to enjoy cutting with precision and confidence.”
The designey knife runs $35 for the 8″ version, which is about half of what you’d pay for a Henckels in the classic design. And one nice touch is that it comes with a dishwasher-safe blade guide, so the edge doesn’t get banged up during loading and unloading.