The 3 Best Kitchen Knives You Need to Have
Any great chef can survive and thrive in the kitchen with these three knives:
- A chef's knife for essential cutting, slicing, and dicing.
- A paring knife for peeling, trimming, and small cutting tasks.
- A serrated knife for pastries, soft fruits, and other delicate foods.
Admittedly, having an extensive set of specialty knives will make your work easier. But, all this begins with a few quality basics.
While shopping for your basics, you should pay attention to quality brands like Dalstrong. At Dalstrong, you will find a variety of options for every knife.
With such a wide variety, you can experiment with different knives in each category and find your must-haves.
How to Choose Quality Basics for Your Knife Set
1. The Chef's Knife
A chef’s knife is one of the most important knives in the kitchen. You can use it for most essential kitchen tasks in food preparation and presentation — from breaking down large chunks of meat to the slicing and dicing of herbs and spices.
When choosing an essential knife, you can choose from 6” to 12” of blade length. Most chefs begin with an 8-10” blade and then go bigger or smaller as per their preference.
The edge of a chef's knife covers the entire length of the blade. This edge length gives you more ‘blade’ to work with, making the chef's knife versatile and efficient.
A full-length edge also makes it easier for you to slice through the majority of ingredients, which is safer than repeating a cut.
The Versatility of a Chef's Knife
In a professional kitchen, you can use a chef's knife for more than 90 percent of your daily tasks. You can also use it on different types of food such as fruits, meats, and vegetables.
Once you find a good quality kitchen knife, you can use it to:
- Dice vegetables, such as onions.
- Slice and chop your herbs for cooking or garnishing.
- Cube foods, such as butternut squash.
- Supreme fruits, like oranges and grapefruit.
- Cut up a whole chicken and separate it into its parts.
Close alternatives to chef's knives are santoku knives. While working primarily with Eastern ingredients or in an Eastern kitchen, you will use santoku knives almost as much as chef's knives. In such a case, you should consider adding both knives to your basic kit.
How Much Should Chef's Knives Cost?
If you are looking to invest in professional chef’s knives, you should dedicate a generous percentage of your budget to them.
Your investment in a good quality tool, such as a chef’s knife, can last your entire career and even serve as a family heirloom.
Before making a commitment, make sure you review the different knives available. Since this is the kitchen knife you will use the most, go for a brand that gives you time to experience their knives. Dalstrong offers a 120-day return policy. This gives you 3-months to get a feel of the blade and decide if it is made for you.
Because they offer a wide selection of chef's knives, you are sure to find your perfect companion.
2. Paring Knife
A paring knife is made as a perfect companion to the chef's knife. At 2” to 4”, its blade is the right size for tasks that require attention to detail.
You can choose a straight edge or a curved edge paring knife. The straight edge paring knife with a sharp point works best for everyday tasks.
The curved edge paring knife will serve you better if your work requires a lot of curving and food shaping. It is the perfect tool if your work involves a lot of food art and over-the-top presentations.
The Paring Knife Is a Kitchen Necessity
As a companion to the chef's knife, paring knives are perfect for:
- Slicing small fruits, like berries.
- Trimming the fat from meat cuts.
- Deveining shrimp.
- Slicing herbs for garnishes.
A paring knife also doubles up as a cheese knife. You can use it to cut hard and semi-hard cheeses.
How Much Should Paring Knives Cost?
The amount of money you should spend on a paring knife depends on the quality of the tool you want to invest in.
With a brand like Dalstrong, you can find several high-quality options for less than $100. A good entry-level paring knife is this all-steel minimalist paring knife for $39.
3. The Serrated Knife
A lot of chefs use serrated knives for slicing bread and other pastries. But, a good quality serrated knife can complete most jobs suited to the straight blade of the chef's knife.
A serrated knife is made for foods that have one texture in the skin or crust and a different one inside.
Since serrated knives use a sawing motion, a longer knife will reduce the amount of ‘sawing’ you need to make a complete cut.
The Application of a Serrated Knife
A serrated knife has multiple applications in the kitchen. It is especially handy when cutting through foods with a waxy surface or crust such as pineapples, tomatoes, peppers, and bread.
The serrated blade can grip the slippery surfaces and cut through the food. In contrast, a flat blade on such a surface would easily slip and slide off the food item.
The serration also helps with cakes and other soft pastries — it creates resistance that allows the knife to cut through while protecting the integrity of the crumb and the softness of the food item.
What Is the Ideal Price for Serrated Knives?
The longevity of a serrated knife is dependent on its edge retention — this affects the price.
The serration on the blades makes it difficult to resharpen a serrated knife as often as you would other flat-blade knives.
Because of this, you should invest in a knife with long-term edge retention. Often, this depends on the blade material. Some of the best materials for long-term edge retention are:
- High carbon ThyssenKrupp German steel
- Ultra-premium Japanese high-carbon AUS-10V steel with multiple layers
- Japanese AUS-8 carbon steel
Unlike stainless steel, these blades can serve you for a lifetime without dulling, and as such the initial investment is a little more.
Other ‘Nice-to-Have’ Essential Knives
With a dependable brand like Dalstrong, you might be ready to increase the number of knives you have in your basic kit.
If you are looking for a few more kitchen knives for your essentials kit, you should consider the following knives:
a) The Utility Knife
This is the perfect knife for tasks where the chef's knife is too much but the paring knife is a little too small for the task.
The ideal utility knife is 4” to 7” — a perfect in-between for the chef knife and the paring knife.
A utility knife can have a straight or a serrated edge; the choice is up to you.
b) Fillet or Boning Knife
A boning knife is a good addition to your kit if you work with a lot of cuts of meats.
You can use it for different tasks such as:
- Removing bones from different cuts of meat.
- Cutting fillets from fish.
- Getting rid of excess skin and fat.
A boning knife cuts around bones, not through them — you will need a different knife for the latter. A boning knife, unlike the chef's knife, gives you better precision. You can get closer to the bone and reach the most flavourful bits.
c) Tool Sharpener
Technically this is not a cutting tool, but it serves as an essential addition to your kit.
In a busy kitchen, having a sharpener handy can help make your workflow easier. The repetitive nature of kitchen tasks will eventually affect the sharpness of your knives, and having a sharpener close to you saves you time.
Must-Have Kitchen Knives
Whether you are buying entry-level knives or upgrading your kitchen tools, you must invest in quality basics.
This means getting your knives from a leading brand trusted by chefs, such as Dalstrong. Our knives are made to last a lifetime and serve your culinary exploits.
One of the best places to start while shopping is our best selling collection. Here, you can find the essentials listed above plus a host of other knives loved by professionals.