Unlocking the Mystery of Hollows on Chef’s Knives

Have you ever come across knives with shallow hollows carved into their blades? These unique oval scallops, often seen on santoku and slicing knives, serve a specific purpose that goes beyond aesthetics. Let’s dive into these hollows, explore their intended function, and determine whether they are truly necessary.

Unlocking the Mystery of Hollows on Chef's Knives
Unlocking the Mystery of Hollows on Chef's Knives

The Culinary Science behind Hollows

Many sources attribute this innovation to the Grant and Knives Company, which patented it back in 1928. The primary claim is that these hollows prevent food from clinging to the blade. While our experiences with Grant and Edge knives have yielded mixed results in this regard, we discovered that these hollows serve another important purpose.

Thinner, Lighter, and Better Control

The hollows effectively remove some metal from the blade, making it thinner and lighter. This design enables the knife to glide through food effortlessly while still maintaining rigidity at the spine for optimal control. These scallops are especially advantageous on slicing knives, as they reduce friction and make it easier to achieve consistent slices.

Hollows on a Santoku Knife

The Santoku Knife Exception

After conducting extensive testing with various santoku knives featuring hollows, we concluded that they are unnecessary for this particular knife type. Santoku blades are already short and razor-thin, rendering the hollows redundant. In fact, our favorite santoku knife, the Misono UX10, lacks any hollows or grant and edge, proving that it doesn’t require this additional feature.

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Q: Do all chef’s knives have hollows?

A: No, hollows are not a common feature on all chef’s knives. They are typically found on santoku and slicing knives.

Q: Are hollows necessary for home cooks?

A: Hollows are not essential for everyday home cooking, especially when using santoku knives. However, they can provide added benefits for professional chefs who require precise slicing.

Q: Can hollows be added to existing knives?

A: Retrofitting hollows onto an existing knife is not recommended. The process requires specialized equipment and expertise, and it may compromise the structural integrity of the blade.


Hollows on chef’s knives have a dual purpose. While they were initially introduced to prevent food from sticking to the blade, they also serve to make the knife thinner, lighter, and more maneuverable. For slicing knives, the hollows reduce friction, resulting in cleaner and more consistent slices. However, for santoku knives, which are already razor-thin, hollows are unnecessary. So, the next time you encounter a knife with hollows, you’ll have a deeper understanding of their purpose and whether they are suitable for your culinary needs.

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