What are the different types of kitchen knives and their uses?

Cooking is an art that requires the right utensils to create tasty, well-presented dishes. Among these indispensable tools, kitchen knives occupy a place of choice. Did you know that there are different types of knives, each designed for a specific use? In this article, we’ll introduce you to the different types of kitchen knives and their uses, along with tips on how to choose and care for your precious culinary allies.

The chef’s knife 

The chef’s knife is undoubtedly the most versatile and indispensable tool in the kitchen. Its broad, slightly curved blade can be used for a multitude of tasks, from cutting vegetables and fruit to meat and fish.

Given its frequent use, it’s important to invest in a good-quality chef’s knife with a sharp blade and ergonomic handle.

For example, a professional chef can use a damascus steel chef’s knife to achieve a particularly durable and precise cutting edge. For amateur cooks, a quality stainless steel chef’s knife will be more than sufficient for preparing everyday meals.

Bread knife 

The bread knife is one of the most important blades in the kitchen. It is specially designed for cutting bread and pastries. The blade is equipped with teeth or serrated edges for clean cutting, without crushing the food.

Blades come in a variety of shapes and lengths, but generally measure around 20 to 25 cm. In addition to cutting bread, a bread knife can be used to slice cakes, buns and other baked goods with precision.

When looking to invest in a bread knife, it’s important to consider the quality of the blade, handle and balance. The quality of the blade is essential, as it determines the ease with which you can cut food.

Good balance also means a firmer grip, making it easier to cut bread without putting too much pressure on the wrist.

The boning knife 

The boning knife is an indispensable tool for any cook who needs to bone meat or poultry. With its fine, rigid blade, it easily separates meat from bone, following the natural contours of the animal.

The boning knife must be handled with care to avoid accidents, so it’s important to choose a model that suits the size of your hands and your cooking skills.

In addition to boning, the boning knife can be used to perform other precision tasks such as removing tendons, cleaning and pickling meats.

With the right technique and a quality knife, you can perform these tasks quickly and easily.

The Santoku knife 

The Santoku knife is an indispensable tool in Asian cuisine, but is also increasingly popular in Western kitchens. This blade is characterized by a short, broad shape, around 30 cm, and is mainly used for chopping, slicing and mincing vegetables, meat and fish.

Unlike the European chef’s knife, the Santoku blade is straight rather than curved, allowing even pressure along the entire length of the blade. This type of knife is also ideal for soft-textured foods such as tofu or fresh herbs, thanks to its finesse and precision.

The versatile knife 

The multi-purpose knife is a must-have for every cook. As its name suggests, this type of knife can be used for a variety of different tasks in the kitchen.

It’s ideal for slicing vegetables, carving meat, chopping herbs and even peeling fruit. Thanks to its medium blade, it offers a good balance between maneuverability and precision.

This knife is also easy to sharpen and maintain, so it can be used regularly without losing its effectiveness.

The filleting knife for fish

The filleting knife is a kitchen knife designed to remove bones and skin from fish. The blade can be flexible or rigid, depending on your preference, and is generally long and thin for precise, effortless cutting.

Professional chefs appreciate the filleting knife for its sharp edge, enabling them to lift perfectly uniform fillets without fraying.

There is a wide range of filleting knives on the market, each with a different quality and capacity. So, if you’re looking for a filleting knife, it’s important to consider factors such as blade quality, knife size and weight, as well as handle material and overall balance when making your choice.

The vegetable knife 

Nakiri and Usuba vegetable knives are essential tools in Japanese cuisine, ideal for cutting vegetables. 

The Nakiri is often used for general cutting tasks, while the Usuba is intended for the preparation of more complex dishes requiring extreme precision.

These knives are also perfectly suited to food decoration and presentation tasks. The ultra-thin, straight blades enable fine, even cuts without damaging the food. With their sturdy wooden handles, these knives offer a comfortable grip and ensure perfect balance for optimal use.

How to choose a good kitchen knife?

Here’s what you need to bear in mind when choosing your new knives.

Blade quality

The quality of the blade determines the knife’s ability to cut efficiently and precisely. The most common blades are stainless steel, but there are also carbon steel and damascus steel blades. Carbon steel blades are very sharp and easy to sharpen, but can rust if not properly maintained.

It’s also important to choose a blade with the right sharpening angle. A sharper angle means a sharper, but less durable blade, while a more obtuse angle means a less sharp, but more durable blade.

The handle 

A well-designed handle should be ergonomic, comfortable to hold and offer good grip for prolonged use. It should also be strong enough to withstand regular use. The weight and balance of the blade are also important, as they affect the knife’s precision, feel and ease of use.

A well-balanced knife provides optimal control when cutting, which can help minimize accidents in the kitchen.

Blade size

Blade size is also an important feature to consider when choosing a kitchen knife. Longer blades are better suited to larger cutting tasks and are often used to cut larger meats, fruits, and vegetables.

On the other hand, shorter blades are ideal for precision tasks, such as peeling and cutting small fruits and vegetables. For example, a paring knife has a shorter, narrower blade, which makes it easier to handle and more precise than a chef’s knife with a longer blade.

How to care for your kitchen knives?

Discover our tips for caring for your kitchen knives, so you can enjoy your favorite utensils for a long time to come.

Regular blade cleaning

Regularly cleaning the blades of your kitchen knives is essential to maintain their performance and extend their life. After each use, wash the blade with warm water and mild soap, then wipe immediately with a clean, dry cloth.

If you have stubborn stains or food stuck to the blade, use a cleaning product specially designed for kitchen knives and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, be sure to clean the handle regularly to prevent dirt and oil build-up.

Regular knife sharpening

To maintain the quality of your kitchen knives, it’s important to sharpen them regularly. A dull knife can compromise safety and precision when cutting.

Several factors can influence how often you need to sharpen your knives, such as frequency of use, the type of food being cut and the quality of the blade.

To find out when to sharpen your knives, we recommend testing the blade’s cutting edge using a sheet of paper or by cutting a soft fruit or vegetable.

Proper knife storage

Once you’ve invested in quality kitchen knives, it’s important to store them correctly to avoid damage and extend their life. Avoid storing them loose in a drawer or on a countertop, as this can damage the blade and cause accidental injury.

There are several options for knife storage, including wooden or acrylic knife blocks, wall magnets or knife cases.

That’s it! By learning about the different types of kitchen knives and their uses, you’re now ready to choose the best knife for your culinary needs. 

By Bourbono

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