Knife 101

Knife Styles

  • Chef's
    • It you buy 1 knife, this would probably be it. This is the most common knife style. Usually 8-10 inches long, it's used for chopping, dicing, mincing, and cutting. The curved blade makes it ideal for rocking back and fourth on a cutting board.
  • All-Purpose (Steak Knife)
    • Used for a variety of tasks. Often used when eating a meal as well as preparing a meal.
  • Santoku
    • The Eastern version of a chefs knife is used for many of the same things. It's primary difference is that it's intended for more downward chopping movements.
  • Paring
    • With it's small size a paring knife is your go to knife for smaller cuts. Hulling strawberries, peeling carrots, de-seeding peppers and sculpting tomatoes are all common tasks for this little guy.
  • Bread
    • This long and serrated knife is breads best friend. The serration allows for a sawing maneuver. While most people think you need to press down, you do not. A properly sharpened knife should be able to cut through the crusty exterior without squishing the soft interior by simply gliding the knife back and forth. It's for this same reason that bread knifes do a great job cutting through the rind of a watermelon, or the tender flesh of a tomato.
  • Boning/Filet
    • It's thin flexible blade allows you to make precise cuts and get in between joints. Allowing you to easily cut out bones or remove skin.
  • Carving
    • Made specifically to cut through the fibers of meat and pultry. This knife has a slight curve and a bit of length that allows you to drag across the meet. Similar to a bow on a violin.
  • Cleaver
    • This iconic knife is not often needed in homes. It's hatchet shaped blade and heavy steal are intended to hack through bones. Often used by butchers.

How to Buy a Good Knife

  • Hold the knife in your hand.
    • The knife should feel solid, balanced, and be comfortable for you to hold.
    • If you are looking for a paring or boning knife, you want it to feel light and agile while still feeling sturdy. By contrast a chefs knife should feel heavier and more solid, but not to heavy to hold.
  • Look at the steel
    • Do you see any defect in the steel? Is the knife straight? Does the steel extend all the way through the hilt (handle)?
    • This best knifes are made from a single piece of steel that extends all the way through the hilt. Any defects or bends in that steel should be considered reason to move on.
  • Avoid the Sets, buy only what you need
    • Buying a block of knifes sounds appealing. Everything you need with a block to store them all. And since you are buying them all, you get a great discount, or do you? Even the best brands tend to load their blocks with the cheapest knives. And not all brands are the best for each kind of knife. Yes, it will cost you more, but if quality maters to you, it's worth it to buy each knife separately.
    • Not only will this help you get knives you actually love, but it will save you money in the long run. By only buying the knife you need when you need it, you won't end up with a batch of knives you never use.

Knife Shopping

Knives are a personal choice, but there are some brands that are consistently a cut above. Yes, you will notice a difference using higher end knives, but you don't need to break the bank. Here are a few collections of knives I recommend, broken down by skill.

For the Beginner

Publix makes good knifes at a great price. Some of them even come with their own sheaths for transportation to and from class.

Publix Chef Knife, 6-Inch

Purchase from Publix

Publix Knife, Chef, 8-Inch

Purchase from Publix

Publix Santoku Knife, Stainless Steel, 6-Inch

Purchase from Publix

For the Intermediate

You are comfortable with your knife. You have learned how to take care of it and you are ready for a step up. These are knives often used in cooking schools. With a higher quality steel and craftsmanship, you will find these to be comfortable knifes that will handle you every day work and then some while lasting for years to come.

Fibrox Pro by Victorinox

The Fibrox collection by Victorinox is a series that has been designed by professionals, for professionals. While being the perfect companion in any chef's kitchen, these knives are just as prized by home cooks. Slice, dice and chop your way through your food with this collection of high-quality pieces that combine comfortable, non-slip, ergonomic handles with easy-to-sharpen blades and a long service life. Voilà.

For the Advanced

You want what the pros use. Knives that will preform each task with surgical precision. These knives will give you everything they have, and with proper care... you may never buy another set.

Grand Maître by Victorinox

For amateur cooks and professional chefs alike, the Grand Maître collection is all about balance. Each piece in this widely sought range is of a full tang construction, uniformly hardened and forged from a single piece. Because of this, the transition from blade to handle is sleekly seamless, with the latter ergonomically shaped for comfort even over sustained periods.