Perhaps the most basic kitchen utensil – certainly one of the most essential – knives have had a special place in food preparation for centuries. Like any tool, knives come in many variations, each geared towards a specific task; from slicing fruit and vegetables, to carving up meat, to serving cakes. There’s always a knife out there that’s just right for the job. In this article, we’re going to cover 6 of the most common types of knives used in the kitchen and look at what tasks they’re suited for.
The Swiss army knife of any collection, the chef’s knife is a classic; suitable for chopping, dicing, slicing and carving. Measuring between 6-12 inches from tip to pommel, chef’s knives feature a gradually curved blade. This curve allows for the user to easily rock the cutting edge back and forth, producing a fine mince.
Heavy, with a wide blade and an almost straight edge, cleavers excel at chopping. Relying on their weight more than a razor sharp edge, cleavers are used to section off cuts of meat and are able to cut through thin bones, sinew and cartilage. They are also useful when preparing hard vegetables like pumpkin, where a thinner blade may struggle to cut through. The side of the blade is also suited to crushing small food items, such as cloves of garlic.
The Bread Knife
With its saw-like blade, the bread knife is easily distinguished from other kitchen knives. The serrated blade also hints at how to put it to proper use. Where an ordinary blade would require great pressure to slice through a loaf of bread, the bread knife’s sawing movement allows for easy cutting while preventing crushing. Beyond bread, this knife is also handy when it comes to cutting through fruits with a tough outer rind such as passion fruit or watermelon. The major drawback of a serrated blade is that it is difficult to sharpen, but it is possible!
The Fillet Knife
The surgical scalpel of the kitchen, the fillet knife is long and thin, tapering to a point. Razor sharp and easily manoeuvrable, this knife is ideal for separating bone from meat. In the case of fish, the fillet knife can also separate skin from meat. Because of its flexible blade, the fillet knife isn’t the best tool for slicing up your fish, but it is still the best tool for the meat prep.
The Slicing Knife
If you often prepare large cuts of meat, the slicing knife is for you. With a long, straight blade, you can easily slice precise cuts of meat without having to saw your way through the cut. Whether it’s a roast chicken, a slab of pork belly or lamb, delight your diners with neat slices.
The Paring Knife
Where the chef’s knife is the workhorse of your knife arsenal, the paring knife is its smaller and more precise cousin. Perfectly suited for the jobs that would be too clumsy with the chef’s knife, the paring knife is small enough to suit a wide variety of grips, meaning you can cut on a board or above it. Pull it out when the job at hand requires a more delicate touch such as peeling, deseeding, coring and more.
There are many more knives, each with a unique task it is suited for, but with these 6 blades you should be well equipped for any job that comes your way. Ready to start cutting it up?