Ultimate Guide to Cooking Knives

As is the case with any profession or hobby, as a chef or even a home cook, you need to have the right tools to create top-quality meals. One of the most frequently used items in a chefs’ arsenal is the humble knife. Since knives are used in so many different ways, different kinds of knives have been developed to cater to specific tasks in the kitchen. Here are the most important knives to add to your collection.

Utility Knife

The utility knife is a small, sturdy and multipurpose tool that is frequently used in the kitchen. This daily use knife is usually between 3 to 6 inches long and has a relatively thin blade to make it useful for both meat and vegetables. It can be used for slicing, peeling, or even deboning meat. You can cut with this knife but your speed will be limited due to the small size.

Chef Knife

This knife gets its names from the professionals that use it most frequently. The daily driver for any professional chef is a solid Chef Knife that has a single blade finish. This means that the metal in the handle and the metal used in the blade is one seamless piece of metal. These knives are usually 6 to 9 inches in length with a blade height of 1.5 to 3 inches. The cutting edge itself is curved to allow for extra fast cutting and the handle has a good weight to make it easier to balance the knife with just the tips of your fingers.

Serrated Bread Knife

Most people buy loaves of bread that have already been sliced so serrated bread knives are not that commonly used. However, if you like baking your own or are a fan of sourdough and like to buy loaves of it, this knife is a must-have. The serrated edge and extra-long blade allow you to effortlessly slice through any kind of bread without ruining the texture of the slice.

Cleaver/Butchers Knife

Home cooks prefer to buy meat that has already been cut and cleaned but professional chefs buy entire carcasses. When cutting up a lot of meat, you need a cleaver which is one of the basic knives every chef owns. This knife is short in length usually 6 to 8 inches long with a very thick blade, usually 4 to 7 inches in thickness. This square shape of the knife allows the chef to generate a lot of torque and easily slice through both meat and bone. This is also a great choice if you need to break through something like a coconut or a crab shell.

Home cooks can get away with using a single knife since they only have limited use for it. When you are running a commercial kitchen or you want to take your passion for cooking a step further, it simply isn’t possible without the right knife. For each of these types of knives, you can get very economical options or you can get extremely expensive Japanese knives that take months to produce. Start off with something basic and when you understand the value of the knife and learn how to properly use it, you can upgrade to one of higher quality.


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