I've come to respect the diverse selection in Kitchen knives
after researching them to make a purchase myself. I thought I might
try to write a simple kitchen knife article that sort of brings it
together. From here you can do your research.
Let's start with the basic kitchen knives. They are as follows:
Chef's or Cooks' knife
Chef's or Cook's knife is the knife most used in my kitchen. The
typical blade length is 8" to 10" but there are other
sizes. This knife is the one
typically used to chop veggies and meat on a cutting board and is
considered the workhorse of the kitchen.
The Chef's knife will have a nice cutting edge curve for rocking
on the board. It will also have ample knuckle clearance.
In choosing your Chef's Knife consider what fits you best, not
according to someone else's opinion. Lengths, weights, etc.; it's all a
matter of personal preference.
With this knife especially, consider holding it before buying it,
you'll do yourself a big favor.
next knife is a Utility Knife. It is typically 5 or 6" and is
used for freehand cutting and piercing.
The Paring knife (no picture shown) is a small 3 to 5" long
blade mostly used for peeling and small work. (you already know
Pictures courtesy of Fantes
After these the bread knife (serrated edge) is about all you
Along with these basic knives you may want some serrated slicers
such as the Miracle Blades. These knives are very thin and very
sharp, you can't get too rough with most of them for prying and
twisting. I regularly use 2 out of the set I have, the Rock-N-Chop to cut
chicken bones and the filet knife for very thin slicing.
Japanese knives are very popular. Global knives are a good example of Japanese knives.
popular kitchen knife is the Santoku design (it's not a brand name).
To the right is one
such knife (picture courtesy of Cutlery
It has the general shape of a traditional Chef's Knife but the
cutting edge has a low degree grind. You'll notice the hollow spots along
the edge. They are designed to minimize foods sticking to the blade.
From what I've read people who like it love it and those who
Beware, the metal handled knives can become more slippery than a
Now that you're familiar with a few knife designs (there are many
more) let's look at personal needs.
Consider your quantity of knife usage. If you cut 3 onions a week
you can probably get by with a small inexpensive set of knives. On
the other hand, if you're in the kitchen every day for hours or deal
with a wide variety of foods you'll
want quality cutlery.
There are two basic requirements: Weight and Balance (feel &
comfort) and edge hold. The higher quality knives are
meticulously designed to give you all. Medium priced knives go for
around $30, high end knives go for $80 to $120 and more.
Here are some of the brands and links to sites you can look
Forged knives have a bolster, that little hunk of steel between
the handle and blade. A stamped knife has none. Before you choose
between, them think seriously about how you use your current knife,
especially on the heel end (largest part of the blade). Here's a
knife part illustration. Click
There are also ceramic knives that need no sharpening. But some
tell you if it does you have to send it back to the manufacturer.
Ceramic knives are usually made of a Zirconium alloy, close to the
hardness of diamond.
Straight vs. Serrated edges...here's the way I look at it. Both
are useful for cutting different things. I think you should own
You may also want to read what others think about kitchen knives.
Here are a few sites you can visit. (You may have to select a topic
in each) Beware, you'll run across some very passionate knife
I started by saying I was looking for knives for myself. I chose
the Wüsthof (Voos-toff) 8" and 6" chefs knives. I've used
each extensively for the last year and am very happy with
Good knives need to be sharp... read more. Click