A good kitchen knife will make your cooking experience comfortable and pleasurable. Kitchen work is even better when you're doing it with your children, making it a formative experience and an opportunity to bond and pass down age-old family recipes. But before you hand over your large chef knife to their clumsy, eager hands, you should consider getting them a knife that's suitable and designed for their age. We recommend a small kitchen knife that provides the right balance of safety and usability, and Opinel kitchen knives may just be the answer.
Opinel Essentials Small Kitchen Knives for Children
Opinel is a renowned knife manufacturer from Paris that has been crafting quality knives since the 1890s, so you can be assured that they know a thing or two about good design and quality. The Opinel Le Petit Chef Knife, in particular, is one of their product lines aimed at increasing the presence of children in the kitchen. This knife is built with a unique style, with safety features and a compactness that emulates a real chef knife. As a caveat, parental supervision is always a must, as no tool is perfectly safe in untrained hands. Opinel recommends the knife only for children aged seven and above. The Opinel Le Petit Chef complete set includes a kitchen knife, a peeler, and a finger guard.
- Stainless steel blade
- Riveted and varnished beech hardwood
- Partial tang
- 4-inch blade-length
- Full length is 8 3/16"
- Made in France
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Beechwood is the most commonly used material in Opinel handles. Beech is rigid, sturdy, and easy to work with. In the past, you were able to purchase hand-made knives from an expert bladesmith easily, but today's manufacturing practices entail mass production to cut on costs and labor. The handle has tiny imperfections and gaps that may collect dirt over time. Regular and efficient maintenance of the knife won't make this a problem.
Since the Le Petit knife was made for kids, most of the features are genuinely designed for safety. The blade's shape is reminiscent of a santoku knife with a rounded tip. The beechwood handle provides an old-fashioned aesthetic and provides a softer grip compared to a steel handle.
The rustic look of this knife is a significant factor for some buyers. Its sturdy feel and minimalist design underlie many subtle details like safety and utility, making it a novel and aesthetically pleasing item to own.
Like all other Opinel products, the Le Petit chef knife is of excellent quality, from the stainless steel alloy blade to the beech hardwood grip. The knife ring is made of plastic but does not flex or bend. Since the stainless steel alloy is the same material used in their original chef knives, the edge won't dull quickly and it cuts with ease. Honing the edge sharply isn't too much of a priority, as Opinel designed this knife to be more of an educational tool. The Le Petit Chef is sufficient for basic ingredients, like onions, garlic, or common vegetables.
Cleaning and Maintenance
There is much to be said about wooden handles. Besides their aesthetic and low price, they are also more prone to contamination compared to metal or synthetic handles due to their susceptibility to scratches and other damage. As your child learns to use the knife, there is bound to be cracking in the wood that accumulates food material, promoting bacterial growth. It is always advisable to clean and wash the knife thoroughly by hand immediately after use to prevent any build-up that may be difficult to remove later. Other than this, the blade still boasts a decent edge and requires little maintenance aside from a little honing from time to time.
Opinel knives come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If this item breaks or does not perform as advertised due to manufacturing defects, you'll either get a replacement or a refund.
Should You Buy the Opinel Le Petit Chef Knife?
Parents should consider getting this knife if they want:
- A teaching opportunity
This knife's primary goal is to show your children the ropes of kitchen work and proper use of a kitchen knife. By learning to use a simple kitchen knife, they will learn practical skills they can later utilize in adulthood.
Opinel designed the Le Petit Chef Knife primarily with safety in mind; utility comes second. The rounded blade tip helps decrease the risk of injury. Since it is just a stepping stone for a child's kitchen skills, this design is essential to prevent any untoward accidents.
- Realistic training
Compared to other kid knives in the market, which are made of plastic or nylon, the Le Petit Chef Knife uses real stainless steel. The sharp edge helps simulate an affordable chef knife so the child will truly learn to respect a knife's danger and use it wisely and appropriately to avoid any injury.
The Le Petit Chef seems pricey at about $35, especially when compared to other kiddy knives in the market. Still, for the price level, the Opinel knife already offers real stainless steel that holds an edge to a real chef knife, coupled with excellent safety features like the rounded tip, grip ring, and finger guard. This kiddy knife is the best solution and investment for parents who want to share the joys of cooking delicious recipes together with their children.