The chef’s knife is a western style all-purpose knife. Most professional chefs say they can do 90% of kitchen tasks with this style of knife. It has a pointed tip for cutting joints and finer detail work. This knife uses more of a rocking motion for cutting and chopping. This knife has a flat section at the rear of the blade that can be used in a chopping motion and a curved section that comes to a point. This is one of my favorite go to knives when I need to cut up a variety of different things at one time.
The Santoku is an eastern style all-purpose knife. It has a flatter cutting edge and uses an up and down motion for cutting and chopping. This knife excels at chopping vegetables and fruit. The lack of a sharp point usually makes it less intimidating for most people to use.