In a commercial kitchen you must know the types of knives and their uses. If you are familiar with the knives then you can perform your tasks more quickly & easily. It is also important to know everything about knives for your safety too. So let’s begin.
CHEF’S KNIFE / FRENCH KNIFE:
This all-purpose knife is the most often used item in any knife kit. A chef’s knife has a blade between 6 and 14 inches long and 1 ½ inches in width. They have a curve that becomes more pronounced near the tip. It is designed and manufactured for wide-ranging general use in the kitchen The blade is shaped and worked so that it can peel and trim, slice, chop, mince, fillet fish, and fabricate meats and poultry. Originally, this type of knife was intended to slice large cuts of beef. However, its many functions, from cutting meat to dicing vegetables, make it an extremely useful multi-purpose knife in many kitchens. The blade typically ranges from 8-12” in length and about 1 ½ – 2” wide at the heel or bolster. A good-quality chef’s knife should be well-balanced, with the weight of the blade equaled by the weight of the handle.
SERRATED UTILITY KNIFE
This smaller version of the chef’s knife is used for light cutting, slicing, and peeling chores. This type of knife has a blade between 4 and 7 inches in length. It may look like a bread knife, but it’s shorter and sharper. It cuts cleanly through delicate fruits and vegetables without tearing them, and works well for small slicing jobs such as bagels or cutting sandwich fixings. This knife can also be referred to as a “tomato knife” or “sandwich knife”. The blade is shorter than a chef’s knife and also thinner and lighter; making it useful for slicing smaller items, such as tomatoes.
The second most-often-used knife. The paring knife has a short blade, typically between 2 ½ and 4 inches long, and an edge that looks like a smaller, plainer version of a chef’s knife. The knife, used primarily for paring and trimming vegetables and fruits, has a 2-4” blade. Its simple, straightforward and sharp blade is ideal for intricate work such as peeling fruit or vegetables, deveining shrimp, or creating delicate garnishes. Some blades taper to a point, others have a curve or bend at the tip, sometimes referred to as a Granny knife.
This is used for the boning of raw or cooked meat. The Carbon Steel Blade must be sharpened regularly. It is composed of a thin, somewhat flexible and curved blade measuring 5 to 7 inches long, the boning knife is designed to get into small spaces to detatch meat from bone. The blade is thinner and shorter than the blade of a chef’s knife – about 6” long – and is usually rigid. More firm blades will be more effective for cuts of beef, whereas a more flexible blade will be better suited for cuts of chicken. An extremely flexible version called a filet knife is preferred for delicate fish. Some boning knives have an upward curve; others are straight. The blade is narrower than a chef’s knife blade to make it easier to work around bones, muscle groups, and under gristle and silverskin.
A bread knife looks like a longer, more exaggerated version of a serrated utility knife. Its serrated grooves are specifically designed to cleanly slice through bread without crushing it. Bread knives can have a classic knife handle, or may have an offset handle which keeps the chef’s knuckles from knocking the bread while slicing.
Measuring between 8 and 15 inches long, the carving knife resembles a thinner, stretched-out chef’s knife. Its length and very sharp edge allow precise, thin slicing of meat, especially denser, larger items such as a roast.
Used for chopping, the cleaver is often heavy enough to cut through bones. The knife most likely to be seen in a horror movie is the cleaver, a large, usually rectangular knife. It has a very heavy, thick blade which narrows to a sharp edge. It is primarily used for splitting or “cleaving” meat and bone. While a cleaver is necessary for restaurants which prepare their own meat, it is largely not considered an essential home kitchen tool. It has a rectangular blade and varies in size according to its use. Japanese – or Chinese-style cleavers are used for the same applications as a chef’s knife – to slice, chop, trim, dice, disjoint birds and rabbits, fillet and portion fish, and so forth. These cleavers usually have a single-sided edge.
Specifically designed for filleting fish, this knife is similar in shape and size to a boning knife, but has a more flexible blade. With a short, straight blade measuring 2 to 4 inches long, a fluting knife looks like a shorter, slightly sharper-angled version of a paring knife, and is used for delicate peeling or creating decorations. This permits you to separate the delicate flesh of a fish from the bones easily, with little loss of edible fish.
A mincing knife looks like a miniature version of the blade in Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Pit and the Pendulum”. But its culinary intention bears no evil: it’s meant to finely mince vegetables and herbs by moving it in a rocking motion.
Related to the paring knife is a curved blade known as a “tourné” knife, this short blade curves downward, but is not as exaggerated as a hook. It can be used to remove skins and blemishes from fruits or vegetables, and is used to make a specific cut called “tourné”, especially with root vegetables.
Resembling a miniature boning knife, the trimming knife is generally under 3 inches long and is used for a variety of small tasks such as removing meat from bone in delicate or small areas, or can be used to create garnishes such as radish roses.
Cheese knives are designed for, well, slicing a variety of types of cheeses; it’s nice to have a set around for a wine and cheese party. Knives designed for soft cheeses will have perforated holes, which keep the cheese from sticking to the knife; sharper knives will be used for harder cheeses.
The long curved blade of a scimitar makes it well-suited to the slicing action required to cut through large cuts of raw meat when portioning them into steaks, cutlets, or medallions. The blade can range in length from 12-16”.
Designed to make decorative cuts, decorating knives have a simple pattern in the blade. One of the most common decorating knives is adorned with a zigzag blade, which yields prettily cut food which can be used decoratively or for garnish.
A long, flat, dull blade which somewhat resembles an artist palette knife but with a serrated edge, is used in the kitchen for separating the fruit from a grapefruit from the peel and pith. Some fancy versions have a double blade, one on either side of the handle, one used for the peel, and one for the inner membrane.
This knife is used for slicing cooked meat. They have long, narrow blades in order to make smooth slices in a single stroke. The type of edge (taperground or fluted) on the blade is designed to make a particular food easier to slice. Some blades are quite flexible and others are rigid, their selection is governed by the character of the item being sliced.