Knife Skills – What are the different knives?

Have you recently bought yourself a knife block and looked at a number of them and wondered what they do….

Or even looked at a chef using their knives and wondered how you could ever become so skilled with a knife.

Learning good knife skills does take a lot of time and practice, as well as being shown good techniques. One important element is to ensure that you are actually using the right knife for the job, using the wrong knife can make the task a nightmare.


This article is going to hopefully explain to you what each knife is and what its used for.

Knife Skills – What Makes Up A Kitchen Knife

There are 9 elements to any type of kitchen knife;

Point – Often used when piecing and is where the blade edge and spine meet
Tip – The tip is the front part of the blade and is usually used to do delicate cutting
Cutting Edge – The edge is where you would typically cut with
Heel – The heel is the opposite end to the point
Bolster – Where the blade and handle meet, it is often the bolster that does the weight balancing
Tang – The metal of the blade that is inside the handle
Rivets – These connect the handle to the tang
Handle – Where you would hold the blade
Spine – The straight/non sharp part of the blade – opposite end to the cutting edge

The 3 Types of Blade Edges

There are typically 3 main blade edges;

Straight – Usually incredibly sharp and used to cut meat/vegetables
Serrated – Slice soft products that have a hard crust – IE breads
Granton – Cuts moist items as the grooves reduce sticking

Knife Skills – Know your knives, which is the right knife?

Paring Knife

Typically used as an “everyday” knife, often used for peeling potatoes, vegetables or fruit.

Turning Knife

The curved blade makes the turning knife ideal for peeling, it is also great for removing “eyes” from potatoes

Boning Knife

Struggle to remove the meat from the bone? The boning knife features a thin and curved blade to help do just that. More flexible boning knifes are often used on fish.

Filleting Knife

This flexible yet thin blade is ideal for filleting meat as it allows you much more movement, making delicate cuts as well as easily removing the skin

Utility Knife

This blade can be used in many situations and due to the stiff blade it can be very durable. It is usually used to chop and slice fruit, vegetables as well as small meats.

Chinese Chopper

Choppers are sometimes mistaken for cleavers although they cannot cut through frozen meat or bone. They are ideal for slicing different cuts of meat away from the bone.

Cleaver

This tough knife is a butchers friend, often used to cut through cuts of meat.

Santoku Knife

The wide blade allows for scooping of chopped food and is often used for preparation of meat, fish and a wide range of vegetables.

Chef’s Knife

Looking to work in the kitchen? This knife will certainly be one of the most common knifes that you would use. It is usually a strong blade that has been weighted well, allowing for perfect control. It is used for most chopping and slicing tasks.

Bread Knife

This blade is fairly self explanatory, the serrated blade makes it the perfect knife to cut through breads. It can also be used on other products that have a harder outside and soft inside, for example tomatoes

Palette Knife

The palette knife features a flat and blunt blade, it is often used to slip between the pan and food easily such as pancakes or omelettes

Carving Knife

The carving knife features a thin blade to offer precision carving, allowing you to carve thin cuts of meat such as poultry or roast dinners.

As you can see there are a good number of knifes and if you have brought a knife block you may not have all of these, although you will often have the most common. If you are serious I would recommend getting a good collection of knives made out of decent quality metal.

Check out the infographic below to see what each of these knives look like.

Knife Skills - Know Your Knifes. One element of learning good knife skills is to know the different knifes available and what they do.

The infographic was provided by Nisbets, check them out for Catering Equipment and Catering Supplies

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About the Author Martyn

I have enjoyed cooking for some years now, its one of the only things that I can do that makes me relaxed and forget any worries I have. I love trying new foods and visiting restaurants. Other hobbies include writing, game development and work :)

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