Success in the kitchen is much more attainable with the right knives to work with. Investing in good quality knives is always recommended. Stainless steel, carbon steel and ceramic are the best three kinds of knife blades.
NOTE: Upkeep - maintaining a sharp edge is crucial for efficient, safe slicing and dicing. For steel knives, a honing rod or a whetstone should be used before and after each use. Ceramic knives are almost as hard as diamond, and as such are brittle and prone to chipping and/or breaking. But they are excellent for precision cutting and will maintain a sharp edge on their own.
There are three essential knives that form the cutting core of any kitchen, plus two more essentials for the well-equipped kitchen.
The Big 3. The Cutting Core
1. CHEF’S KNIFE
The most used knife in the kitchen is the chef’s knife - the ‘Master of the Kitchen’. It is genuinely agreed that a steel blade for this workhorse is best. It has a wide long blade (6-10”) and is used primarily for slicing and dicing fruits, vegetables, fish and carving meat. The longer the blade, the easier and safer its use.
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2. PARING KNIFE
This is basically a smaller version of the chef’s knife and is used for more delicate tasks, when a large blade would just get in the way. Peeling onions and trimming veggies are common uses. Both steel and ceramic are well-suited for the paring knife. It is traditionally has a 3 1/4” blade.
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3. SERRATED KNIFE
Often called a bread knife, the serrated edge is also good for slicing waxy vegetables like tomatoes and peppers, where a chef’s knife or a paring knife would just slip across the surface. A 6-8” blade is ideal.
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The Essential Reserves
4. BONING KNIFE
This knife is NOT meant to cut through bones, rather to perform the delicate manoeuvres required when separating meat, fish and poultry from its bones. It will be narrow with a sharp point, with a blade that is more flexible and thinner than traditional carving knives. Most are about 6” in length.
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5. CLEAVER or BUTCHER’S KNIFE
Cleaver: This large, heavy rectangular bladed knife will easily go through bone with a firm, well-placed hack. Butcher’s Knife: a steel-bladed knife that is often about 8” long and should have a Granton edge. These are hollowed out grooves or dimples along the sides of the blade. These grooves fill with the fat and juices of the product being cut, allowing for thin, even cuts without tearing or getting stuck. It can cut through and around bone.
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