The world of knives runs deep and can ba minefield for anybody who does not know the finer details of knives. From types of steel and Damascus steel mixtures to the stunning Japanese traditional knives.
There are a million different knives out there, and a lot of them are tailor-made to a specific task. To the home cook, this all of these variations of knives can be confusing and overwhelming when you consider the price of good quality knives. In the below, we will cover the only 4 knives that a home cook needs to make the best of their time in the kitchen.
The one knife to rule them all. The chef’s knife is truly the hero in any kitchen, there are very few tasks that can’t be performed with a chef’s knife. There are two main styles of chef’s knives to choose from:
- German – Typically a heavier knife with a thicker profile, the German chef’s knife is best distinguished by the blade’s curve, usually starting in the centre of the blade. The earlier curved profile and thick spine creates a knife that is great at rocking to and fro while chopping. If you enjoy chopping your fine greens with a rocking motion, a German profile chef’s knife will be a good fit for you. A German chef’s knife with its extra weight will also excel at the heavier tasks in a kitchen like breaking down a chicken or cutting hard vegetables
- French – A thinner and lighter construction, a French knife may be easier for some to wield in the kitchen. A French chef’s knife will have the blade’s curve start closer to the end of the knife than the German counterpart, making for a knife that is not as proficient at rocking, but more proficient at chopping and finer work.
Whichever style of chef’s knife you choose, both are very capable at any job and are great knives to have. Be cautious of the length of knife when buying. While it is a personal preference, it’s usually recommended starting at an 8-inch blade and work your way up if it is a bit too short for your liking.
Paring knives are another much-needed knife for any avid home cook who wants to speed up the process and play now. Paring knives are much smaller than the bigger chef’s knife and offer one thing above all else, accuracy. Fine work will be a breeze with a good, sharp paring knife. It’s recommended to usually keep these knives as short as is comfortable for you to use as this will make fine work, and potentially tip work, a lot easier and more precise.
One of the few jobs that no other knife in the kitchen can really replicate is that of cutting bread. A good, serrated bread knife will do wonders to any bread or confectionary work you do. There are a lot of different bread knives available, the most important detail is that it is comfortable for you, and with a good, serrated edge.
This last one is all dependent on what you enjoy cooking most. A knife suited to your favourite meals can make cooking fun rather than a chore. Let’s look at a few examples of what knives to look at.
- Fish – If you enjoy fish and cook a lot of fish, a fillet knife will be ideal for you. A much longer but thinner and bendable blade makes filleting a fish for sushi or cooking a dream come true.
- Vegetables – Some vegetables like butternut are just hard to cut, and it can be difficult to properly put weight behind a chef’s knife. The Nakiri or Japanese vegetable knife turns cutting even the toughest veg into a pleasure.
- Red Meat – If you cook a lot of red meat, especially in larger portions, a long and thin carving knife would be ideal for you. Long swooping cuts make breaking down large pieces of meat easy.