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Chefs Knives Knowledge Base

A to Z of Kitchen Knives

Our guide to selecting the correct Kitchen Knife

Knives are considered by majority of chefs as their most important tool in the kitchen. It is therefore vital to select not only the correct brand but also the correct type of knife and size to do the job.

Bar Knife

Small serrated knife for cutting fruit in the bar.

Bread Knife

Serrated knife for cutting bread (and other similar foods). Gererally between 15cm to 25cm (6 to 10 inches), longer blades may be required for the larger loaf.

Boning Knife

Boning knives are specifically designed with a sharp point and narrow blade. They are used for de-boning poultry, meat, and fish. Generally 12 cm to 15 cm (5 to 6 inches) in length, a stiff boning knife is good for boning beef and pork, whilst a flexible boning knife is required for fish.

Butchers Knife

Usually 25 cm to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches) are used to cut meat. Sometimes smaller versions are used to cut more intricate joints.

Carving Knife / Carving Fork

Used to cut thin slices of meat, they can be used on poultry, roasts, hams and other large cuts of cooked meats. Generally 20 cm to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches), these knives are much thinner than cooks knives to allow thinner cuts of meat and shorter in length than slicer knives.

Cheese Knife

These knives are available as general multipurpose knives to cut all cheese or specific knives designed for ultimate performance on soft and hard cheeses.

Cleaver Knife

Sometimes called the chopper these knives with their extra weight are used to prepare meat. The blade is usually thick, rectangular in shape with a length of 15 cm (6 inches). Their weight will enable them to chop through modest bones. A hole in the blades allows them to be hung up.

Cooks Knife

Also called the chefs knife this is the most commonly used knife in the kitchen. Each knife has been designed to perform well in a range of different kitchen tasks. Typically 15cm to 30cm (6 to 12 inches) it is usual that a chef will have a selection of differing lengths to perform differing tasks. The pointed tip can be used for precision work whilst the middle of the blade can be used for general cutting, chopping or slicing.

Deba Knife

These short and squat Oriental knives are heavy in weight with a curved spine. They are used for cutting and chopping fish.

Fillet Knife

The fillet knife is a type of ultra flexible boning knife with blades of usually about 15cm (6 inches) used to prepare and fillet fish. They are designed to move effortlessly along the backbone of the fish.

Oriental Knife

In addition to the Sashimi, Deba and Santoku knives, there are a range of very specific Chotoh, Shotoh, Kudamono, Oroshi, Nakiri, Nagiri, Usuba and Yanagiba styles.

Paring Knife and Peeling Knife

A small knife, often 6 cm to 10 cm (2.5 to 4 inches). Larger knives are usually considered utility knives. Available with serrated or plain blades, these knives are ideal for small or intricate work around the kitchen.

Pastry Knife

Offers a slightly longer blade than a typical bread knife these serrated knives are ideal for cutting pastry or bread.

Santoku Knife

Known as the Asian Chefs knife, these knives have a straighter edge than the European Chefs knife, whilst also being lighter in weight and thinner. Often 12cm to 18cm (5 to 6 inches) these are the all rounder knives of Oriental cooking. Scalloped edges allow better separation of meat from the blade especially during intricate work.

Sashimi Knife

Used to prepare sashimi (raw fish used in sushi) these knives have a very long, slim, plain and slender blade. Blades of up to 40cm (16 inches) are common.

Slicer Knife

These knives perform a similar function to that of a carving knife, however they are usually longer with a typical length of 30 cm to 35 cm (12 to 14 inches). Serrated slicers are used for beef, lamb, pork, poultry, whilst plain slicers are used with ham and fish. Those slicers with a scalloped edge allow better meat separation and ensure a cleaner cut.

Steak Knife

Designed to cut through tough foods, these knives are small utility knives often 10 cm to 15cm (4 to 6 inches).

Tomato Knife

Small serrated utility knife specifically for the preparation of tomatoes.

Turning Knife

Small curved bladed knives for shaping, trimming and peeling vegetables. Often less than 9cm (3 inches) they have a curved tip for precision work.

Utility Knife

Slightly larger than paring knives, these knives have a blade usually of between 10 cm and 15 cm (4 to 6 inches). Available with serrated or plain blades, these knives are ideal for small general purpose work around the kitchen.

Vegetable Knife

Similar to a cooks knife these knives are specifically designed for the use of preparing vegetables. Smaller knives are used for the preparation of small vegetables whilst the larger versions are ideal for large root vegetables.