Buying Professional Knives


Finding the right professional knife can be extremely important for a chef in a busy restaurant. Over the years, most chefs will find a professional knife brand that they are most comfortable with. The process of finding a knife is very much trial and error until a chef finds a brand they are satisfied with. While some knives can be used for a majority of tasks, many knives have specific purposes within the kitchen.

Style of Knives

There are two common types of blade shape, French and German. German-style knives are more deeply and continuously curved along the whole cutting edge. The French style has an edge that is straighter and curves up to the tip.

Knife Blades

Kitchen knives generally either feature a curve near the tip, as in a chefs knife are straight for the entire length. The edge itself may be generally smooth, or may be serrated or scalloped. The point may differ in shape; most common is a sharp, triangular point, as in a chefs knife or paring knife, though the French point (also called ‘sheepsfoot’) is common in santokus, and a round point is sometimes found on long slicing knives.

Serrated vs. Smooth Blade

A serrated blade has a cutting edge that has many small points of contact with the material being cut. By having less contact area than a smooth blade, the applied pressure at each point of contact is relatively greater and the points of contact are at a sharper angle to the material being cut. Cuts made with a serrated blade are typically less smooth and precise than cuts made with a smooth blade. They can be more difficult to sharpen using a whetstone or rotary sharpener than a non-serrated; however, they can be easily sharpened with a diamond sharpening rod. Serrated blades tend to stay sharper longer than a straight edged blade.

Fully Forged / One Piece

A fully forged knife is one where both the blade and tang are made from one single piece of steel. This means it has no weak points and is extremely strong, while achieving a better balance and ease of use. This means they are perfect for cutting meat and vegetables.

Bolster

The bolster of the knife - the heavy joint between the handle and blade - adds strength and is essential to creating great balance and heightened control.

Handles

Knives with rivets are typically 'full tang' pieces, where one piece of metal is used to construct the main body of the knife. The rivets hold the handle in place around the metal.

Stamped Blades

Stamped blades are cut to shape directly from cold-rolled steel, heat-treated for strength, then ground, polished, and sharpened. Though they are not preferred by most professional chefs, several popular knife brands such as Global use stamped and heat-treated blades in their premium knives. Stamped blades can often be identified by the absence of a bolster.

Forged Blades

Forged blades are made in an intricate, multi-step process, often by skilled manual labour. A chunk of solid or powdered steel alloy is heated to a high temperature, and pounded while hot to form it. The blade is then heated above critical temperature, quenched in an appropriate quenchant, and tempered to the desired hardness. After forging and heat-treating, the blade is polished and sharpened. Forged blades are typically thicker and heavier than stamped blades, which can be an advantage.

Types of Knives

Chefs / Cooks Knife

A chefs knife, also known as a cooks knife, is a cutting tool used in food preparation. The chefs knife was originally designed to slice and disjoint large cuts of beef. They generally have a blade 200 millimetres in length and 38 millimetres in width, although models range from 150 millimetres to 300 millimetres in length. A modern chefs knife is a utility knife designed to perform well at many differing kitchen tasks, rather than excelling at any one in particular. It can be used for mincing, slicing and chopping vegetables, slicing meat and disjointing large cuts.

Fillet Knife

The fillet knife has a flexible and thin blade, which makes it perfect for reaching places that are impossible with a standard chefs knife. The flexible blade structure and thin metal make filleting knives perfect for slicing fish and other fine or soft meats. Fillet knife can be as small as 100 millimetres in length.

 

Boning Knife

A boning knife is used to remove bones from cuts of meat. It has a thin, flexible blade with a sharp point, usually about 125 or 150 millimetres long. A stiff boning knife is good for beef and pork, and a flexible one is preferred for poultry and fish.

 

Bread Knife

Bread knives are usually between 150 and 250 millimetres. An offset serrated knife uses an offset handle to ensure the cook's knuckles will not touch the cutting surface when the blade has cut all of the way through the food.

 

 

Carving Knife

A carving knife is a large knife that is normally 200 millimetres in length – but can be larger. It is used to slice thin cuts of meat, including poultry, roasts, hams and other large cooked meats. A carving knife is much thinner than a chef's knife, enabling it to carve thinner, precise slices.

 

Paring Knife

A paring knife is a general purpose knife with a plain edge blade that is used for small intricate work like peeling and coring. A good paring knife usually measures between three and five inches on the blade.

 

 

Tomato Knife

A tomato knife is a small serrated kitchen knife designed to slice through tomatoes. The serrated edge allows the knife to penetrate the skin quickly without crushing the flesh. Many tomato knives have forked tips that allow the user to lift and move the tomato slices.

 

Utility Knife

A utility knife is used for general or utility purposes. A utility knife is between a chefs knife and paring knife in size, about 100 and 200 millimetres in length.

 

 

 

 

Santoku Knife

The Santoku is a general-purpose kitchen knife originating in Japan. Its blade is typically between five and eight inches long, has a flat edge and a sheepsfoot blade that curves in an angle approaching 60 degrees at the point. The knife performs well at slicing, dicing and mincing. The Santoku's blade and handle are designed to work in harmony by matching the blade's width/weight to the weight of blade tang and handle.

 

Turning Knife

The turning knife is ideal for shaping, trimming and peeling all types of fruit and vegetables. The classic turning knife has a distinctly curved blade and tends to be about 64 millimetres in length.