Here’s your definite guide for finding and investing in the right tool (a.k.a knife) designed with a specific cooking style in mind
Chinese, Italian and French cuisine all have one thing in common: they are prepared using unique cooking tools. We call these tools knives, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I’m just a use-to-be-average-turned-pro home cook who loves to share my experiences and knowledge with the likeminded people who want to get the most out of their time in the kitchen.
Here’s the deal:
While owning a Chef’s knife and a Paring knife means you’ve got the basics down, you’re NOT going to be able to prepare anything and everything with those two knives alone. If you’re going to tackle Japanese cuisine for example, you’ll need a knife that was designed for that purpose.
Luckily, I have a little (well maybe a lot) of info that can and will help you make the best decisions and help you determine whether or not you need a specific knife in your home kitchen.
Choosing Best Knives for Cooking – Expanding Your Collection:
As home cooks, we tend to rely on our instincts and our curiosities, but we also rely on our tools, which is why you need to use the right knife for cooking the right foods.
The Best Knife for Slicing & Dicing Meats & Veggies
Originally designed to cut large cuts of beef, the Chef’s knife is super versatile and does everything and anything from cutting meat to dicing veggies.
The Best Knife for Slicing Fruits and Vegetables
-> The Utility Knife
Serrated utility knives with their shorter and sharper blades might resemble bread knives, but they handle jobs like butting clean through delicate fruits and vegetables and small slicing jobs.
The Best Knife for Delicate Slicing Jobs
-> The Paring Knife
With its short blade and an edge similar to the chef’s knife (but just smaller), the paring knife is simple and straightforward to use. It works well for peeling fruit, small cuts like deveining shrimp and even creating delicate garnishes.
The Best Knife for Delicate Fish Dishes
-> The Boning Knife
As the name implies, the boning knife is best for detaching meat from bone. Investing in a good quality flexible blade boning knife (a.k.a a fillet knife) is your best bet for delivering precision cut delicate pieces of fish fillets time after time.
The Best Knife for Slicing Bread
-> The Bread Knife
With serrated edges, the bread knife is a pro at slicing through the crust of bread without tearing or squashing the soft interior of the bread.
The Best Knife for Thanksgiving
-> The Carving Knife
Since Turkey is traditionally served for Thanksgiving, it goes without saying that you’ll need the right tool to get those perfectly thin slices of meat. The Carving Knife is your go-to option for this purpose with its sharp edge and long blade.
The Best Knife for Processing Meat
-> The Cleaver
You might recognize the cleaver as a horror movie all-star, but in reality, this rectangular knife is used to split meat from bone. With a heavy and thick blade that has a sharp narrower edge, the cleaver is best for when you need to process large pieces of meat.
The Best Knife for Cheese Cutting
-> The Cheese Knife
As if the name doesn’t say it already, cheese knives were designed for, well slicing an array of different cheeses. Some knives are designed specifically for slicing soft cheese, so they have perforated holes that stop the cheese from sticking to the knife, whereas sharper cheese knives are used to slice harder cheese.
Okay great, so we’re all on the same page here!
Now, some of you might be wondering what Brands to opt for. Generally speaking, the more expensive knives will last the longest, since they are made with higher quality materials, and essentially they’ll last you much longer.
I’d say that being totally brand focused shouldn’t be your end all and be all, but rather investing in what you can afford at the time is the way to go.
I like to stick to Wusthof because I know what quality I’m getting, but the choice, as always, is up to you.
Here are my thoughts on the different brands that bring you some of the best cooking knives:
ColtellerieBerti – The Best Knives for Cooking Italian Dishes
This is the Italian classic brand, and you’re going to have to be loaded if you choose to invest in them, but they are some of the most exceptional knives out there. The name has been around since 1895, always delivering superb quality knives that simply go far beyond simple kitchen applications. These knives are visually appealing, so much so that you might consider NOT using them and just keeping them as heirlooms.
I got one of their knife sets from a very dear friend of mine last year, and I swear if something happened to those knives I would have a total meltdown. It’s called the Compendio Lucite Block and came with 3 knives that I absolutely love.
J.A Henkel – The Best Budget Buy
If you need serious quality but you’re budget just won’t allow for serious spending, J.A Henkel has a perfect solution! Investing in a very affordable classic chef’s knife is every beginner cook’s dream come true thanks to the simple design, the solid blade and the fact that the knife comes with a very impressive lifetime warranty!
Kyocera – The Best Lightweight Knife
Kyocera’s innovative razor sharp ceramic blades are perfect for retaining maximum blade sharpness, plus they’re super lightweight AND won’t have an effect on foods that oxidize easily.
I’m not a massive fan of ceramic blades because they can’t really be sharpened to perfection, but these guys are very impressive. I’ve tried their 7 inch Professional Chef’s Knife, and believe me when I say; it just might be the knife that lures me over to the ceramic side of the knife world.
And that’s a wrap…for now.
Now that you have a little more understanding about what knives to use for what kind of cooking, I’ll leave you to digest it before moving on to a more in-depth look at the different types of cooking knives out there.