is a 10" chef knife really necessary?
OK guys I am off to a good start with a wusthof set and it comes with a 8" chef knife.. which seems to handle well,... but seems like concensus is saying 10" is better etc. Is it really necessary for the home cook? I am not cutting 8 hours a day, in fact just preparing 1 meal a day.. If 8" is a little less effecient, but repeating the sawing action with a shorter knife is not a big deal, is it?
Blade size for a chef's knife only seems to matter in providing stability in cutting very hard rind cheeses or large, thick skinned melons or squash, or chunks of chocolate where being able to control the blade and prevent it from rotating is critical to your life and limb. Otherwise, frankly my favorite size is actually a 6" chef's knife that I use at least 5x more frequently than my 8" blade and that one I use at least 10x more frequently than the 10" blade; nonetheless, having it handy and sharp is a luxury that I truly appreciate. However, my 6" version is one that I acquired 15+ years ago as my first serious knife and it remains a go-to staple. In short, I could go without the 10" blade but am glad to have it available
I love my 10" chef's knife but I bounce back and forth between my 8" and 10" chef knives. Depends on what I'm cutting, etc. I don't think it's a necessity just a matter of personal preference.
As flourgirl says, it's really a matter of personal preference. I use my 6" and 8" knives much more often than my 10". The longer knife is helpful in dealing with things like winter squash and large heads of cabbage, but I could certainly get by without it. Perhaps you can borrow a 10" and see how it suits you, before you make the investment. Another option is to go for an inexpensive stamped one from a restaurant-supply house. The Dexter-Russell Sani-Safe line is one example, but there are others in the same price range ($25-30), or even lower.
"but seems like concensus is saying 10" is better etc"
It's just personal preference. At home I use 8" the most. At work some days I use 8, 10" or 12". Sara Moulton uses a 12" . I would think due to her petite size and lack of upper body strength she needs the extra heft of the larger blade. There simply is no universal one "best" size and it's certainly not necessary for you to have a larger one.
mostly I'll go for the 8 inch chefs or a santoku, either a 5 inch or a 7 inch, before the 10 inch heavy german chef's knife. it's a personal choice though, and has more to do with how the knife feels in your hand than whether one is better than another. If you're cutting something that's large in diameter like a watermelon, it's nice to go through it with a single stroke of a 10 inch knife. Or something like hard acorn squash, where you want a little more oomph. But 9 times out of 10 it will be an 8 inch chefs or a santoku for me.