Getting Started

So you’re just starting off and want to get to know your kitchen a little better? What better way to start your kitchen than with a shining new chefs knife! In this post I’ll go over some of the basics:

  • Different types of kitchen knives

  • Introduction to chefs knives and brands

  • Best ways to look after your personal set of knives

There are so many different types of knives that it might get rather confusing sometimes. This is a small guide to the most common knives. (Don’t worry, if you’re getting started there are only three knives you really need in your kitchen.)

The Big Four

Chef’s Knife

Now I have to admit that I occasionally sin and call this one my “baby” (GF doesn’t seem to like the idea). The chef knife is the cooks best friend, originally used to cut large chunks of beef it became a very practical tool to just about anything. Chef knives usually come in 6-14 inches in length and vary widely in weight. Personally I can only use the 8-9 inch knife but preference is very personal – my girlfriend only uses the 7 inch one. The chef knife is your “Go To” knife for so many things – from cutting vegetables and herbs, crushing garlic, slicing steak, carving watermelon to whacking coconuts! So its important to have one you like and can trust. A kitchen must by any standard!

Paring Knife

This tiny knife is proof that size matters! Plenty of tasks in the kitchen that only true experts manage to make with the chef knife alone – like paring (duh?!) . Paring knives really vary in size weight and structure but they all mean the same thing. If you’re looking to carve fruit, carefully slice herbs or supreme citrus – this is the knife to use. By the way, once you start supreming citrus you can never stop! (you have been warned)

Serrated Utility Knife

Roughly – it’s to a bread knife what a paring knife is to the chef knife. (did that come out too complicated?) basically this knife is usually 4-7 inches long and ha a sharp and serrated side – it cuts cleanly through fruits and vegetables but is mostly used to cut through bageles and such. Giving it the name “sandwich knife”. I don’t think this knife is a must – but have either this or a bread knife – you won’t enjoy going to toe to toe with a large loaf of bread, only wielding an 8 inch chef knife.

Boning Knife

Or as we call call it “The Boner”! So the boning knife is essentially a thinner and somewhat flexible, meant to get into the tough spaces between the bone and meat. Boning knives come can be very flexible to fillet fish al the way to very strong ones for beef. I recommend starting with a mildly flexible one – mainly for chicken.

The “Large Knives”

Bread Knife

Not much to explain – the bread knife is long and it’s serrated groves are usually rather large and are specifically designed to cleanly slice through the bread – not crush it.

Carving Knife

Between 8-15 inches, the carving knife looks like a “stretched out” chefs knife. This knife has an extremely sharp edge and usually used with meet – to either thinly slice it or reach in to deep areas.


A classic horror movie prop, the cleaver is a very large rectangular knife which does look frightening from afar. The cleaver is heavy to hold and is thick all the way to the bottom where it narrows down to a sharp edge. It is used for splitting or cleaving meat and bone. Definitely not your first knife, it’s rarely used at home unless you decide to start cleaning your own meat – from full bodied to steaks.

The “Small Knives”

Fluting Knife

Short straight blade, it looks like a smaller, stronger and sharper version of the paring knife. Mostly used for careful peeling and decorating.

Mincing Knife

Used with both hands and is quite a lot of fun on the cutting board. Basically used to finely mince or chop vegetables and herbs.

Peeling knife

this too is closely related to the paring knife. The name says it all – mainly used for peeling and specifically to make the “tournè” cut – mainly with root vegetables.

Trimming Knife

Resembling a miniature boning knife, this too is used sometimes for removing meat from the bone, or for special and delicate decorations – such as radish rose.

Of course ther is plethora of other knives as well but i just wanted to give you a general overview. My reccomdation would be to start off with a good chef knife, a decent paring knife and a bread/serrated utility knife. That should get you started just fine!

If you’re looking for a certain company – “Global” and “Wusthof” make some of the best knives in the world, but there really is a huge range of knives and companies. Decide what your budget is and go for it! Start cooking!


#Dublin Food Blog   #Knife Tutorial

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