The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Category: Kitchen Knives (page 1 of 2)

The Different Types of Kitchen Knives Currently Available for Purchase

Are you a kitchen wizard? Someone who wields a kitchen knife as if it were part of your hand?

Perhaps you’re more of an amateur—someone who aspires to culinary greatness, but still has a few things to learn.

Either way, you must be familiar with the different types of kitchen knives!

We think you’ll appreciate the array of kitchen knives and accessories we discuss in this article, so keep reading to learn more.

How Did Kitchen Knives Come to Be?

Like many things today, our modern kitchen knives have their origins in prehistoric times and have been refined ever since. Just as knives are now, prehistoric and ancient knives were at least as connected to fighting and warfare as they were to food preparation.

We find it surprising that some kitchen knives from earlier eras and cultures are making a comeback in the workshops of modern-day craftspeople. Knives made of wood and ceramic materials are some examples.

We’re here to discuss more traditional kitchen knives, though, so let’s move on.

Types of Kitchen Knives

Some categories of kitchen knives—for example, the paring knife of the chef’s knife—are present in nearly every well-furnished kitchen. However, there might be a few that are new to you as well.

Chefs’ Knives

Chefs’ knives are the kitchen workhorse. If you’re a serious cook, your chef knife (or knives) will be in the dish rack drying more than it’s in the knife block. This is a large, heavy knife that’s very versatile. It can cut meat, vegetables, and a lot more.

Bread Knives

Speaking of workhorse knives, bread knives are one of a few knives that you could find in anyone’s kitchen, whether cooks or non-cooks. Who doesn’t eat bread, after all? Everyone knows that truly delicious bread needs a sharp knife to cut it.

Paring Knives

Another workhorse knife (of a different sort, though) is the paring knife. This handy knife is used for small tasks like chopping herbs, slicing carrots or pepperoni, or even opening envelopes (be sure to wash the knife afterward, though).

Santoku Knives

These knives, which originated in Japan, are somewhat new to North America. They’ve certainly caught on, though! Santoku knives come in different styles and sizes and have uses that parallel those of Western knives.

However, the Santoku isn’t as tapered as most Western knives, and its blade has vertical indentations that help it move smoothly through some denser foods. Perhaps, too, we like it because of its distinctive look!

Steak Knives

Steak knives come in sets (usually of four or eight) and are popular gifts. Of course, these are excellent for cutting steak and other thick cuts of meat. We suspect a lot of people (like ourselves) use these for cutting apples and other everyday needs.

Boning Knives

This odd-looking and somewhat uncommon knife has a narrow blade that’s curved at the base. You use it to remove bones as well as butterflying cuts of meat. Boning knives are available in several different styles and sizes.

Fillet Knives

Fillet knives look a bit like boning knives but have even narrower blades. These blades are also flexible, making it much easier to work with fish than it would be otherwise. Like boning knives, these are unlikely to be found in every kitchen.

Cleavers and Butcher Knives

If knives are scary in general, a meat cleaver will scare the *#%$ out of you! This is one big, heavy monster of a knife that’s used by butchers or anyone with a lot of large pieces of meat (or an entire carcass) to cut.

The butcher knife is more benign and ordinary-looking and probably is more likely to appear in the everyday person’s kitchen.

Kitchen Shears

Kitchen shears are actually two knives working in sync. While you aren’t likely to cut your finger by touching one of the blades, the simple-machine mechanism of the shears allows them to cut through some of the toughest and most fibrous materials you use in the kitchen—from vegetable stocks to heavy twine,

Carving Knives and Forks

Carving knives and forks are the famous pairing that makes its appearance every year at the Thanksgiving table, or perhaps for a pork or beef roast for a different holiday.

The knife-fork combination is meant to anchor the uncut meat as well as place the slices on a platter.

All-Purpose or Utility Knives

You can never have enough all-purpose or utility knives in your kitchen—or utility room, workshop, garage, or anywhere you need a good knife with a solid handle. These come in lots of different shapes, sizes, and even colors.

Cheese Knives

Cheese knives are all over the map in terms of shape and design. This, no doubt, is because cheeses come in so many different shapes and textures, from soft brie to hard Parmesan.

We think the unusual designs also make them conversation pieces for dinner guests. There are other explanations out there, too, though.

Specialty or Exotic Knives

This last kitchen knife category is kind of a catch-all for any knives that don’t quite fit the other categories. An online search fora phrase such as “unusual-looking kitchen knives” should turn up some intriguing specimens for your enjoyment.

Not Exactly Kitchen Knives

We can’t end this article without mentioning both the array of knife sharpeners, holders, rolls, and racks. These are in addition to the many kitchen tools that aren’t knives per se but do have sharp blades.

Here, we’re referring to items like mincers, vegetable peelers, blenders, food processors, coffee or spice grinders, choppers, and an array of other utensils and appliances that owe their essential functions to the invention of the knife.

Functional Yet Objects of Beauty Nonetheless

Whether you’re a professional chef, a home chef or someone who dabbles in the kitchen, it isn’t hard to be fascinated by the many types of kitchen knives that are out there.

Don’t ever take your kitchen knives for granted. For one thing, they’re an investment—maybe collected one-by-one over decades or received as a gift all (or most) at the same time.

Your knives need regular cleaning and sharpening. If you do this conscientiously, they will last and serve you long enough for you to hand down to your grandchildren or grandnieces and nephews someday.

Still, you shouldn’t forget about our extensive collection of knives—kitchen knives and others. There’s always something you’ll want to add to your collection, and we probably have it available.

If you’d like to find out more about iconic knives you need to own, check out our blog post

Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: The Kitchen B***h

This is the eighth installment of The Cutting Edge’s culinary article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Rice bowl via the Kitchen Bitch

After talking to chefs, big-name bloggers, and hunters for the past few months, I’ve come to realize that I, too, have a knife philosophy of my own that I’d like to share! Here’s a little background about myself, but I’ll spare you from anything too self-fellating: I’ve run my cooking blog, The Kitchen Bitch, off-and-on for the past 7 years. Since then, I’ve worked as a professional food writer, writer-writer, and cook for a few years, and now I’m writing for the illustrious Cutting Edge! I also, of course, have a butt-load of knives.

More on my knives, Japanese blade fetish, and the silliness of knife sets after the jump! Continue reading

Gorgeous Maple Wood Kitchen Knives via The Federal

Late last year, The Federal, an Ottawa-based design firm, prototyped a set of kitchen knives crafted from polished steel and Canadian maple wood. The knives’ particular proportion of wood to metal is unique, but how does it handle? Their materials are undoubtedly high-quality; plus, the warm tone of the wood makes the knives look gentler than the sleek, cold steel that typically graces our kitchens.

Here’s what The Federal has to say about these wooden wonders:

With this project we wanted to explore an alternative emotion to the standard kitchen knives you see every day. The focus is drawn to the high polished blade, while the rest of the knife’s Maple wood body sits warmly in the hand and blends in to its surroundings. The wood is sealed and food safe to allow for easy cleanup. The knife gives the appearance of being lightweight; however their weight is balanced to ensure that they can be used by any level of chef.

As you can see, these knives are quite different! They may even be the beginning of a new trend in culinary knives: one which increasingly emphasizes the home decor aspect of a knife collection. What do you think? Is this a good direction for knives to move toward?

Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: Chef Hiroo Nagahara of The Chairman Truck

This is the sixth installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

One of Hiroo Nagahara's many knives

Thousands of San Franciscans have lost their minds over Chef Hiroo Nagahara’s innovative gua bao, or Taiwanese bun sandwiches, which his crew slings out of a bright red truck called The Chairman. Their take on the traditional street food showcases premium ingredients like Muscovy duck terrine, house-pickled daikon radish, and crispy miso-cured tofu. Even the buns are gourmet: they’re locally handcrafted and baked with yeast cultures imported from China. Nagahara, a former executive chef at Charlie Trotter’s Bar Charlie in Las Vegas, successfully combines the best techniques and flavors from the world of haute cuisine with the humble trappings of Asian street food. (And at $3.75 – $6.75 a pop, his bao are an incredible deal!) And, as it turns out, he’s a knife fanatic.

Read on to see Chef Nagahara dropping some serious knife knowledge! Continue reading

Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: Kathryne Taylor of Cookie and Kate

This is the fifth installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Kate of Cookie + Kate

Kathryne Taylor, the “Kate” behind the super popular vegetarian food blog, Cookie and Kate, regularly pairs down-to-earth food writing with phenomenal, eye-catching photography. Her blog features more than just recipes: many of her posts contain hilarious anecdotes about subjects as diverse as online dating and the drunchies. After reading just a few of her great blog posts, you’ll find yourself rooting for her through all of her fascinating misadventures and projects.

We asked her about her favorite knives, which you can read about after the jump! Continue reading

Hot Kitchen, Hot Knives: Chef Jason Wilson of Crush in Seattle, WA

This is the fourth installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Chef Jason Wilson

With 20 years of globetrotting and culinary experience under his belt, Chef Jason Wilson has the kind of insight into kitchen knives that few possess. Since its opening in 2005, Wilson’s restaurant, Crush, has earned him accolade after accolade from the James Beard Foundation, Food & Wine magazine, and others for his commitment to high-quality ingredients and the inventive and whimsical ways in which he and his team make them all work together. If you’re ever in Seattle, stop by Crush just to check out Wilson’s Bacon and Eggs dish, an orgasmic combination of local meat with smoked Steelhead salmon roe, bourbon maple syrup, and parsnip flan.

We’ve got Chef Wilson’s kitchen knife insights, which alternate between straightforward and downright mystical (in an awesome way), after the jump! Continue reading

Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: The Wednesday Chef

This is the third installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Weiss's knife collection

Luisa Weiss is the brilliant mind behind The Wednesday Chef, a gorgeously shot and executed culinary blog. It’s been featured as one of Gourmet magazine’s favorite food blogs as well as on The Sunday Times’ list of the 50 best food blogs in the world. The blog chronicles Weiss’s adventures cooking along with recipes she’s hand-picked from the internet, books, and newspapers, as well as her struggles with finding just the right meals for her little son, Hugo. She’s also penned a sensational recipe-filled memoir called My Berlin Kitchen. No matter what the subject, she handles it all with a sense of humor that we really appreciate.

Naturally, we figured she’d have a lot to say about her knife collection. More on that after the jump! Continue reading

Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: Chef Amber Shea Crawley

This is the second installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Chef Amber Shea

Chef Amber Shea Crawley

Thanks to a mix of know-how, persistence, and pure moxie, 27-year old Chef Amber Shea Crawley has fought her way to the top of the food blog charts to bring her raw-ish and vegan food expertise to the adoring masses. Her blog, Chef Amber Shea, features consistently awesome content and recipes that befuddle as well as impress. And her cookbooks, Practically Raw and its dessert offshoot, are chock-full of recipes that the everyman can enjoy. Check them out if you’re sick of Cheetos. And no, cold pizza does not count as a raw food.

Here’s what she has to say about her knife collection, after the jump.

Continue reading

Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: Pizza Delicious

This is the first installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

The crew at Pizza Delicious in New Orleans, LA

(Left to right: Matt Bossie, Greg Augarten, and Kelly Pickett)

Though they’re 1,305 miles away from the Big Apple, the crew at Pizza Delicious in New Orleans, LA slings the most faithfully New York-style pizzas this side of the Mason-Dixon. The crew at Pizza D is the new hotness in the New Orleans food scene, and legions of ex-New Yorkers and Confederate deserters have embraced their super sexy pies, homemade pasta, and garlic knots. You can read about their favorite knives below the jump.

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Top 5 Kitchen Knife Stocking Stuffers

Every family has at least one culinary expert—they might peruse Epicurious during lunch breaks, concoct mind-blowing cocktails with homemade bacon vodka or have a frightening altar to Guy Fieri stashed away in a closet. No matter what flavor of foodie they may be, one thing they’ll always need is another kitchen knife to add to their collection. That, or a convenient accessory for storing or carrying their collection.

Ginsu Chikara 7″ Cleaver

Every chef aspires to own a BFC—that is to say, a “big freaking cleaver.” For anyone who grew up watching Yan Can Cook, the Asian-style cleaver represents the height of technical prowess, strength and style. Ginsu’s well-balanced take on the cleaver is easier to handle than the BFCs you’ve seen in your local Chinese kitchen, though it’s well-matched in terms of precision and pure power. This knife is so much fun to chop with; no animal, vegetable or mineral will be safe from its edge. Just make sure that you have plenty of food in your fridge, because the person who receives this knife is going to want to test it out immediately.

Top Chef 5-Piece Knife Set including Nylon Carrying Case

If thoughts of Padma Lakshmi set your giftee’s soul aflame, this 5-piece knife set by Top Chef will make the perfect present. The set, which comes with two santoku knives, a paring knife, a sharpening steel and black nylon knife roll, is a jazzed-up version of the basic knife kits that many culinary students receive during their schooling.

These knives are distinguished by the official Top Chef logo etched onto the knife blades as well as the nylon roll. These knives by Master Cutlery are made for more than looks: the X30Cr13 stainless steel blades are ice-tempered and cut with hollow grounds to inhibit sticking. This is a level of utility that any chef needs to reach the top of their game.

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