Knives are designed for specific jobs. Buying these 5 essentials can seriously cut (no pun intended) kitchen prep time in half. When choosing what knives to buy, think about how much time you spend in the kitchen and what really sparks your culinary curiosity. Here’s a breakdown of Chef Drew Snyder’s top 5 tools of the trade.
Chef’s Knife, AKA French Knife or Cook's Knife
If you can only purchase on quality knife – buy a chef’s. These are the most versatile knives and will slice and dice just about everything. Use these for rough vegetables, proteins, and chopping larger fruits like pineapples and melons. This knife is also great for smashing and mincing garlic as well as getting a good fine chop on your herbs.
Also known as the bread knife or tomato knife. Bigger serrated knives are best for bread, and smaller are better for your lovely tomatoes. These have scalloped, tooth-like edges and are best for cutting through foods with a hard exterior and softer interior: think crusty breads and firm tomatoes. These knives act similar to a saw, as the teeth of the blade catch and then rip smoothly through foods.
Also known as the knife for the little jobs, this small, nimble blade is perfect for things like peeling fruits and vegetables, capping strawberries, cleaning shrimp, and slicing cherry tomatoes. Basically, use paring knives for tasks where a bigger knife could get awkward and unmanageable.
A coveted knife in chef’s kitchen – this is one that would make our culinary home lives a little easier if we made space for it in our drawer. These are for those frustrating moments. The santoku has fluted edges on either side of the blade that help prevent food from sticking to the knife, thus allowing you to cut faster and more efficiently. Think of these when cutting potatoes or apples.
A Boning knife is a thin, flexible blade used to remove bones from meats before cooking them: clean up and remove fat from a rack of lamb or pork, breakdown a chicken, make your own cutlets from a turkey breast, etc. The sharp blade is super narrow and reduces the drag against the meat, making it easier to cut through. The more flexible the knife, the better it will be for breaking down less-tough cuts like poultry and fish.
Hone AKA Sharpening Steel
Keep your knives alive - they need to be sharpened. If you’ve never sharpened your knives – try it once and forever be changed. You will see a world of difference in your blade’s preciseness. Hones are steel rods that keep knives aligned. The blades of knives don’t really “dull” down, they actually just warp a bit over time and need to be straightened.
- Run your knife across the steel at a 22 ½ inch angle.
- Never sharpen a serrated knife on a hone as it will destroy the blade’s gauges.
- Wrap your knives individually in a tea towel, or buy blade protectors.
- You get what you pay for.