In cooking, a chef's knife, also known as a cook's knife, is a cutting tool used in food preparation. The chef's knife was originally designed primarily to slice and disjoint large cuts of beef. Today it is the primary general-utility knife for most western cooks.
A chef's knife generally has a blade eight inches 20 - 35 cm long with a thick,firm spine and a wide blade. There are two common types of blade shape in western chef's knives, French and German. German-style knives are more deeply and continuously curved along the whole cutting edge; the French style has an edge that is straighter until the end and then curves up to the tip. Neither style is inherently superior; personal preference will dictate the choice.
A Japanese chef's knife is known as a gyuto, literally meaning 'beef knife'. Its blade resembles a flatter version of a French chef's knife. Japanese cutlery is known for sharpness due to its acute blade geometry, and the hardness of the steel used. In recent years Japanese gyuto have gained in popularity with western chefs.
A modern chef's knife is a multi-purpose knife designed to perform well at many differing kitchen tasks, rather than excelling at any one in particular. It can be used for mincing, slicing, and chopping vegetables, slicing meat, and disjointing large cuts.