Different Types of Chef Knives
A good knife is one of the most important tools for chefs because it makes cutting and preparing food faster. Kitchen knives have evolved over the years to make cooking easier.
Knowing the kitchen knife types is essential for any chef. We’ll shed light on the types of cooking knives and what they are used for in this guide.
How are Kitchen Knives Classified?
Kitchen knives come in various shapes and sizes. Their categories are based on the blade type, use, steel type, style, and shape of the blade.
These knives have very sharp blades and can cut food into thin slices. This Japanese style blade is often lightweight. The Santoku knife is one example of a Japanese knife. It can be used for many purposes, including slicing bread, cutting meat, and even slicing cheese thinly.
Another example of a Japanese knife is the Nakiri knife. The rounded blade is suitable for cutting vegetables.
This knife often has straight blades and a curved tip.
The German knife has sharp blades with a deep and continuous curve at the cutting edge.
Another way to categorize kitchen knives is by checking the manufacturing process. They include:
The blade of this knife is made from a single metal, while the handle comes from another type of steel. It is often sharper and more affordable because of the thin steel.
A forged knife is made with one single metal. Like its name suggests, it is forged in a complex process, making it more expensive and durable.
Three main types of steel are used in making the chef's knife. They include:
- Stainless steel: this steel is the most common type used for making chef’s knives. It contains an iron and carbon base with chromium to give the blade a sharp finish. This is why steel blades often resist rust and last long. They are used to make paring knives, boning knives, and steak knives.
- Damascus steel: this steel is a combination of two alloys fired together, which is why it has a beautiful complex pattern. It is aesthetically pleasing and quite durable.
- Carbon steel: this steel is a combination of iron and carbon base. It doesn’t contain chromium, but the carbon content makes it sharp and durable.
Types of Kitchen Knives
Besides the complex categories of kitchen knives, there are three main types of kitchen knives. They include:
The chef’s knife is an all-rounder because of its versatility in the kitchen. It serves several purposes in the kitchen as a utility knife, paring knife, boning knife, and steak knife. The blade of this knife is long and broad, while its width is wider near the handle. This makes it great for cutting veggies.
The paring knife is shorter and slimmer with a sharp, pointed tip. The flat blade is perfect for chopping vegetables as well. Paring knives are also quite useful for trimming, peeling, and cutting potatoes. Since it is small, the paring knife weighs less than the traditional chef’s knife.
As the name suggests, the serrated knife comes with a serrated edge. This makes it perfect for cutting bread. It is also called a bread knife, but it works for cutting other things, such as fruits. The serrated blade makes it possible to cut cake without making a mess.
Basic Types of Knives According to Their Uses
Besides these main types of kitchen knives, there are other less-known types. They include:
The utility knife is also similar to a chef’s knife but is smaller in size. This small size is advantageous for cutting veggies and small foods like strawberries. It is a common knife in most kitchens.
The bread knife comes in multiple shapes but is identifiable by the blade. This blade makes it possible to cut baguettes, crusty bread, and bagels, among others. A bread knife also creates a cleaner cut when used on bread.
The sharp, serrated edge appears like a saw, and the grooved edge makes cutting through bread easier. It maintains the shape of the bread, no matter how hard or soft it is.
Meat cleaver knife
Also known as a steak knife, these chef’s knives come in various sizes. They often have a flat or straight blade with a rectangular blade. Since it cuts into meat, the knife has a heavy blade.
Besides slicing meats, this knife is used for food items that are not easy to cut through. The narrow blade and flat surface are also good for crushing food.
The Santoku knife is among the most popular types of kitchen knives today. It serves three main purposes, including mincing, cutting, and dicing. The Santoku knife has tapered blades with a drop point to make them even sharper.
From afar, they look like serrated knives, but the edges have ridges instead known as the Granton edge. The Granton edge prevents food from remaining on the knife, which is why they are perfect for cutting veggies and fish.
This knife is used to clean the insides of the fish without damaging it. A fillet knife has a long blade with sharp edges and a pointed tip. This sharp cook’s knife can gut a fish and remove the bones neatly with its thin blade.
Just like the fillet knife, the boning knife is used to debone meat. It is perfect for slicing through ligaments and connective tissues and cutting fat and bones from meat. The boning knife has a flexible blade and is thicker than the fillet knife.
This knife is used for chopping herbs, fruits, and veggies. The carving knife is a popular tool in most kitchens. Carving knives can also serve as a meat cleaver or steak knife. It can cut through chicken, meat, lamb, and pork.
How Do You Choose the Best Knife?
There are a few things you must consider before choosing a knife.
Type of meal
The type of food you want to prepare can determine which knife you need. Want to cut cakes? Bread knives are ideal. If you want to debone meat, then consider boning knives. The same thing applies if you prepare food with cheese; look for cheese knives.
The kitchen size also matters when selecting a knife. For instance, you may not need a heavy blade if you cook only soft meats like chicken. Steak knives can work well here.
The material used to make the knife determines how durable it will be. Carbon steel and other types of steel, but the price may differ based on the design and content of the knives.
Wide blades are for cutting veggies, while a thin blade is for chopping meat. You can also consider multipurpose knives like the Nakiri knife, bunka, and santoku.
Protect Your Knives & Carry Them Safely
Whether you have a paring knife, boning knife, utility knife, or chef’s knife, you must maintain it to increase its life span. Never lump your knives together in a bag while carrying them. It is better to use a specialized carrying case for different types of kitchen knives.
This case protects them from dents and scratches and prevents dulling afterward.
The chef’s knife, utility knife, paring knife, and other types of kitchen knives have distinct uses. Their shapes, sizes, and materials determine what they are best for. Before choosing a knife set, check if it meets your requirements.
Also, protect your kitchen knife by storing it properly, even while moving around. This preserves its life and keeps it sharp for use whenever.