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The Essential Guide To Kitchen Knives

4 Oct 2019, 2:10 PM

The essential guide to
kitchen knives

Chefs Knife

Otherwise known as the “Gets Things Done” knife, This is the most used and most versatile blade in the kitchen. Mainly used for food preparation, the chef’s knife was originally designed to disassemble larger cuts of meat but has evolved over the years into the primary all-purpose knife it’s known as today. There are two types of chef’s knife, French and German. The German chef’s knife has a broader curve one the edge side of the blade while the French chef’s knife has a straight edge that tends to be slightly longer than its German counterpart. There is no clear industry preference towards one style or the other. It all comes down to personal preference. Due to its versatility and leanings towards everyday use, every professional kitchen should have a large stock of chef’s knives, whether cooks have their own knife sets or not.

Honing Steel

Obviously, knives are only useful if they are sharp. Obviously. While knives are usually professionally serviced and sharpened intermittently, if one were to wait for that to happen they’d be uselessly poking their food with nubs for weeks. That’s why every kitchen should have a rod of honing steel available at all times. Honing steel provides a steel shaft equipped with a handle and guard, used to sharpen knives between uses. The steel does not provide a full sharpening job but it does realign the edge of the blade from any minor bending that can temporarily blunt the edge. It is also important to know that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife. A knife with a clean and sharp edge goes exactly where the chef is guiding it while a slightly dull edge has the potential to slip and come down in a different place altogether.

Bread Knife

This knife has a long serrated edge that allows cooks to cleanly cut through breads without crushing the loaf or damaging it in any way. It’s such a simple machine, they don’t have to use force. The serrated edge slices through bread using a back and forth sawing motion rather than a downward slice. While the blade is specifically designed to be used on breads, the clever design can be applied to other delicate foods that can potentially be damaged by the downward force of a blade.

Kitchen Shears

These heavy-duty looking scissors that are used to cleanly and efficiently open food packaging, snipping herbs and for disassembling poultry. The Swiss-army knife of the kitchen. kitchen shears also contain a bone notch for breaking apart smaller poultry bones, steel teeth that can be used to open stubborn little jars and a built-in bottle opener. This incredibly valuable kitchen tool is sometimes overlooked, as it isn’t a traditional blade, but it is essential throughout the day of any professional kitchen.

Electric kebab knives

typically feature a detachable stainless steel disc blade that glides through meat, making perfect kebab shavings in moments. The thickness can be adjusted for slices as thin or as thick as you prefer, within reason of course, and the entire tool can be broken down so the parts can be washed individually. Whether you go with a manual kebab knife or with an electric one, it all depends on your personal preference or the size of your slicing space. If your cooking quarters is tight, you may want to lean towards the electric knife as the manual blade can be a little awkward in tight spots. Safety first.

Double Handed Cheese Cutter

There are some moments where only the double handed cheese cutter will do. These situations may be few and far between but when the time strikes, trust us, you’ll know. This knife is ideal for catering environments and restaurants that serve cheese boards. The double handed cheese cutter makes crisp and clean pieces that maintain the unique texture inherent in special cheeses while giving you the control and precision in regards to size and shape. The solid handles can be designed for your comfort and will help to make slicing though cheese a quick and easy task.

Paring Knife

A small knife with a straight, plain edge blade that is used for peeling fruits and vegetables or any other detail-oriented chefery that requires a finer, gentler touch. Paring knives can be used for tasks like cleaning out the seeds and roughage from the inside of a pepper or for making intricate cuts on a strawberry to create a beautiful garnish. Paring knives are the multi-purpose complement to chef’s knives once they’re larger counterparts are too big for the job.

Special Purpose Knives

Depending on the type of kitchen you are in and the people you are catering to, some knives are more essential than others. Knives that are designed for a specific purpose may not have a variety of uses but when you need them, absolutely nothing else will do. Sometimes it’s a matter of utility, sometimes it’s a matter of safety. Either way, if your kitchen deals with the types of food these knives are designed for, they will be the most essential knives in your arsenal.

Carving Knives

A long, thin blade that allows chefs to slice cooked meat as thin or as thick as they like. It is incredibly important to keep these blades sharp so chef’s can slice through large and small morsels with ease, without damaging the grain of the meat. Carving knives are ideal for roasts, poultry beef joints and any other large cooked meats.

Kebab Knives

There are two types of kebab knives, manual and electric. The manual kebab knife has a long, razor sharp straight blade that can make slices and shavings quickly and with minimal effort. It is incredibly important to keep the blade sharp at all times to avoid slippage and for maximum control.

Santoku Knife

A general-purpose blade, that originated in Japan. It boasts a clever design that makes otherwise difficult slicing situations easy. When cutting through larger foods that are solid throughout, food has a tendency to stick to long flat blades as they slice through. The Santoku knife, also known as a Granton edge, avoids this using a series of dimples embedded into the flat of the blade. The air pockets maintained by these dimples prevent sticking and allow the cut piece to slide right off, making it far easier for chefs to handle and more importantly, the blade is easier and safer to handle as well.

Palette Knife for cake icing

These knives are primarily used for smoothing and spreading icing and for performing general cake decorating tasks. When people talk about palette knives, they tend to refer to knives used for painting, which is obviously quite different. This is still somewhat true for these palette knives, only the cake is your canvas and the palette knife is your brush. The icing is delicious, but also your paint. A palette knife is absolutely essential if cakes are coming out of your kitchen and there should always be at least a couple on hand at all times.

Fillet Knife

Fillet knives have a long, thin blade with a lot of flexibility and are primarily used for de-boning and slicing edible portions of fish. The shape and constitution of the blade make them ideal for removing as much meat from a fish because it is able to get as close to the bone as possible without damaging their structure, preventing any potential for bones to break off into the piece prepped for eating.

Cleaver

Also known as a ‘meat cleaver’ or ‘butcher knife’, these heavy rectangular blades are used for cutting, or cleaving, through meat and bone alike.

Cleavers use a swift and deliberate stroke with some force behind it, rather than a precise and finely applied slice.

Wedding Cake Knives

The cutting of the wedding cake is one of the most memorable and iconic moments of that happen during a wedding. We’ve all seen it before. It’s usually hours into the reception where everyone’s had a chance to settle into the celebration. The bride and groom standing and laughing beside an elaborately decorated, multi-tiered cake while their guests wait expectantly, shouting congratulations and whatever else comes to mind. The couple looks great, the cake looks great and while the cake cutting knife seems like a minor piece of the scene, it needs to maintain that level of elegance while being up to it’s very important task. The wedding cake knife needs to be long enough to make it across a larger sized cake and sturdy enough to make it through to the bottom without much force. It also needs to be pretty enough to be a part of the spectacle of the sharply dressed bride and groom and their gorgeously designed wedding cake. Everyone else has dressed up for the occasion. The wedding cake knife can’t very well be showing up in jeans.

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