Not all kitchen knives are equal – often a fashionable brand can be found selling poor quality knives at a high price, while it is possible to find a better quality set for cheaper with a lesser known brand.
Since kitchen knives will be an investment that is used daily for all your cooking days, selecting good quality ones that have durability, strength, good handling, and endurance is a must.
With so many knives to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start with creating your personal knife collection. Do you really need a carving knife if you have a chef’s knife? What’s so great about a santoku knife?
Try chopping a tomato with a carving knife. You’ll soon see that each knife was created with a specific purpose in mind. This doesn’t mean that you need to buy every single knife under the sun, but that you should consider what you enjoy cooking most often and tailor your knife collection to suit your needs. Some knives are great multitaskers, some are best used to fulfil their fish-boning destiny. Here are some great examples:
1. Chef’s knife
A proper chef's knife is where most epic knife collections begin. These handy, classically shaped knives will make light of all your basic food preparation tasks, like chopping and slicing fresh ingredients. A good chef’s knife can change how you feel about cooking altogether.
2. Paring knife
Paring, peeling and slicing are made easy and they are great if you have to take just one knife on a picnic or camping. After all, your granny never ate an apple without taking it apart and slicing it in two.
3. Utility knife
For a multitasking, versatile knife, for all those small slicing tasks like mincing shallots, slicing herbs and cleaning and cutting your veggies. The slightly longer blade is convenient, when you don’t need the heft of a chef’s knife, but a paring knife is just too small to be comfortable.
4. Bread knife
Squashing a fluffy loaf with a non-serrated knife is not okay. For gently slicing through bread without tearing it, a bread knife is what you need. The large serrations bite through the crispiest crusts and leaves the soft crumb inside intact. Respect the freshly-baked baguette, people.
5. Santoku knife
Ah, the Japanese chef’s knife. There are a lot of foods that get nervous around these bad boys. Wouldn’t you? The hollow edge of a Santoku knife creates pockets of air which prevent extra thin or soft slices of food from sticking to the blade, and the straighter “sheep’s foot” blade style facilitates an up-and-down chopping motion vs. the typical Western rocking chopping motion.
6. Slicing knife
A fillet knife should have a flexible blade for delicate fish and meat preparation. Equip yourself with the right tools and a little technique and you’ll be a master meat surgeon before you know it.
7. Vegetable knives
With tapered, fluted, thin, angled and broad blades to protect your pincers, vegetable knives will enhance your veg chopping experiences wonderfully. Primarily from the Japanese end of the spectrum, they help to process veggies quickly and easily.
8. Carving Knife
Taking on a roast leg of lamb, whole chicken or anything else requiring carving is much easier and more fun with the right tools. Sure, you could hack at it with your chef’s or bread knife, but armed with a carving knife, you’ll find yourself looking forward to your next chance to slice it up. The long, narrow blade of the carving knife quickly cuts slices, and cuts through the joints of poultry easily.
Types of Knife Blades
- Good knives are often made of non-stainless steel (carbon steel), which gives a good edge fairly quickly, but care should be taken so they will not rust. Carbon steel knives are easy to sharpen at home but need vigilance to prevent rusting.
- Stainless steel is what many cheap modern knife blades are made of, but they often tend to go blunt quickly and take a very long time to sharpen again. Aim to purchase high-carbon stainless steel knives; they require sharpening but they won't rust. With less carbon content than rust-prone older carbon steel knives, these ones hold their edge better and are harder.
- If you're on a budget, an inexpensive stainless steel is a good choice until you can afford a high-carbon stainless steel knife.
- Forged blades are better than stamped ones because the forging renders the metal stronger.
- Avoid knives that claim to never need sharpening. They are not very sharp to begin with and they cannot be sharpened, meaning that when they lose their edge (and they will), they have to be disposed of.
Looking After your KnifeUse a chopping board that is softer the blade such as a epicurean board to avoid blunting or nicks on the blade.
- Knives need to be sharpened regularly to keep their edge fine. Using a global minosharp makes this a quick and easy task.
- Keep your knives clean and dry and store in a knife block to avoid damage. Do not allow food to dry on the blade as some foods contain acid (citrus) that can permanently stain and chip your blade.
- Handwash and dry your knives immediately after use. Never place knives in the dishwasher.
- We recommend all our knives from personal use