Good knives are necessary in any kitchen, but which ones are essential for an everyday use? Investing between 100 and 200€ in good knives will help us prepare all our dishes. A good knife has several qualities:
- Ergonomics: The handle grip must be comfortable and regular.
- Hygiene: The handle should be made of a non-porous material, and if you choose a wooden handle, it must be high-quality, non-porous wood (rosewood, granadilla, etc.).
- Balance: The knife must be balanced to make cutting easier. The center of gravity should be the bolster, the point that connects the handle to the blade.
The three basic knives are: chef’s, paring and bread.
The chef’s knife is the most complete and versatile of kitchen knives, essential for professional and amateur chefs. Also known as a cook’s knife or French knife. Its wide and triangular blade has a curved edge to allow the chef to rock the knife on the cutting board for a more precise cut. It is mainly used for chopping, slicing, dicing vegetables, fruits, herbs, meats and fish. The chef’s knife is the most important for its multipurpose ability. The most used size is 20 cm (8″) and may vary between 15 and 35cm (6-14″).
KAI SHUN Chef’s knife, ref: DM-0706
The paring knife is a small and short-blade, knife mainly used for peeling, cutting and carving fruits and vegetables. The blade has different shapes and lengths from 5 to 10 cm (2-4″), which allows to get the best result in complex tasks, such as deboning fruits, extracting the apple core, chopping herbs or removing potato eyes. Other tasks for which paring knives could be useful: to devein shrimp and prawns, to remove seeds of peppers and jalapeños, to clean mushrooms, to cut small garnishes, to make decorative cuts, etc. Paring knives are designed to perform multiple tasks in the kitchen, just like chef’s knives, but in a smaller size.
Victorinox Paring knife, ref: 7.7203.08G
The bread knife always has a serrated edge that allows easy cutting of the crust while preventing pressure that could crush the inner soft part of the bread. The bread knife is usually quite long, between 20-25 cm (8-10″) and can also be used to cut tomatoes or hard shells or peels of some fruits or vegetables, such as pineapples or melons.
Wüsthof Bread knife, ref: 4150/23
These three knives are the basics for a kitchen. However, there are other specific types: boning, peeling, carving, slicing, cleaver…
Quality kitchen knives must be handwashed. Purchasing knives with a hardness higher than 60 HRC is highly recommended, the harder the knife is, the longer it remains sharpened.