Which Knife Do I Use?
Each kitchen knife is different and has a specific purpose. Knowing what type of Kitchen cutlery to use can be very confusing so refer to this guide often so you will know which knife to pull out of your knife block.
Chef's Knife - Sometimes referred to as a Cook's Knife, this is a multipurpose knife characterized by a wide blade that can vary in length from 6 inches to 12 inches. The size and weight of the chef's knife make it ideal for larger tasks such as cutting meat and large vegetables, however, you should keep in mind that the longer the blade the harder it is to control.
Cleaver - This is a tough piece of cutlery that looks kind of scary to some people. A Cleaver will have a wide rigid blade with a very sharp tapered cutting edge. This knife is meant for heavy kitchen jobs and can even cut through bone. Most often used for cutting meat it also works well cutting large chunk vegetable. The flat side of the blade is sometimes used for tenderizing meat or crushing seasonings such as fresh garlic. With this knife in your hands you will feel like a real butcher.
Fillet Knife - A fillet knife is used to clean and fillet fish. This knife is characterized by a thin flexible blade that enables it to cut close to the bones and separate the skin of the fish from the fillet. If you enjoy fishing or just fresh fish this is a must have for your kitchen.
Santoku Knife - As you can probably gather from the name the santoku knife is typically used in the preparation of Asian dishes. The overall appearance of the Santoku knife is similar to a Chef's knife but the Santoku has a wider, shorter and thinner blade with a straighter cutting edge than the Chef's knife. The Santoku knife is used for slicing and chopping ingredients such as vegetables into thin or fine pieces like those used in a stir fry. The thin blade allows for very precise slicing and chopping action.
Sashimi Knife - The sashimi knife is a Japanese knife also traditionally used in the preparation of Asian dishes. Unlike the short wide blade of the santoku knife, the sashimi Knife has a long, narrow and thin blade with a very sharp edge. This knife is used for slicing only but can be used for vegetables, fruit, meat and fish. This sharp precision blade is ideal for thin slicing but should never be used for chopping as this action can damage the blade.
Bread Knife - also called a serrated knife. The bread knife is a very sharp knife that has sharp teeth similar to what you would see on a saw blade. This knife is used in a saw like fashion to cut through the tough outer crust and the soft inside of a loaf of bread without crushing the loaf.
Tomato Knife - A tomato knife is a small serrated knife with a narrow thin blade. A tomato knife will commonly have two large teeth at the end for breaking the skin of the tomato before slicing to enable a perfect thin slice. The tomato knife can be used for any food that has a tough outside and a soft inside
Paring Knife - the paring knife is a small knife with a blade that is only about 3 inches long. The blade of the paring knife is narrow and thin and comes to a point at the end. This knife is traditionally used for peeling and coring fruits and vegetables but it can also be used for mincing small items such as garlic as it is small and very easy to control.
Utility knife - This knife has a very generic name because it is a very generic knife. The utility knife is a multipurpose knife that fits somewhere between the paring knife and the Chef's knife. If the job is too big for a paring knife and the Chef's knife is overkill then it is time to pull out the all purpose utility knife. If you are like most people you will also discover that it works well as a makeshift screwdriver and scraper.
Boning Knife - As the name implies a boning knife is meant for cutting the bones out of meat and poultry. The blade on a boning knife is usually about 6 inches long, very narrow and very rigid. The shape and rigid feel make this knife ideal for working gingerly around bones.
Deli Knife - A deli knife is designed to cut through thick deli style sandwiches. This knife is characterized by an offset blade which allows the users hand to be held up as the blade approaches the cutting board to provide greater control. The narrow, serrated blade of the Deli knife Saws through sandwich ingredients with precision without pulling the ingredients off of the sandwich.
Sandwich Knife - Similar to the deli knife the sandwich knife is used to slice through sandwiches. The serrated cutting edge of the sandwich knife is narrower and shorter than the deli knife and is designed to handle smaller sandwiches.
Carving Knife - The Carving knife is characterized by a long, wider and somewhat thin yet rigid blade. The Carving knife which is accompanied by a carving fork is designed to slice through meat and poultry such as beef and pork roasts and turkey.
Meat Slicer - A meat slicer is characterized by a very long narrow blade which is meant to be long enough to reach across a ham or roast. These knives can vary greatly in length and design but are specifically designed for slicing.
Cheese Knife - Yes there is a knife just for cutting the cheese. These knives typically have either thin narrow blades with a forked tip for picking up the cheese slices or wide short blades. These knives are generally small and decorative to accommodate decorative cheese trays.