The right knife for the right job
Kitchen knives come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The shape of a knife makes it suited to a particular job and a wide range is available. You may want to use purpose-made knives or keep to a few that will cope with most tasks. The measurement of a knife excludes the handle and refers to the length of the blade from heel to tip.
Types of knives
A small knife for the preparation of small vegetables or fruit. The blade usually 7-10cm long and is firm with a sharply pointed end for picking out pips and eyes.
A general purpose knife with a serrated edge which measures about 13cm long. It is used to cut and trim meat and larger vegetables and can be used to prepare sandwiches.
Bread knives have rigid serrated or scalloped edges or a combination of the two. This type of blade allows the knife to cut through a hard crust on a loaf without tearing or squashing the softer centre – this also makes it the best knife for slicing tomatoes!
A carving knife has a 20-26cm flexible blade with a sharply pointed tip to help free meat from the bone. The blade can be plain or serrated.
Designed for removing bones from raw meat and poultry. This knife has a narrow, rigid blade which curves upwards making it easy to work the blade around the bones.
A cleaver has a strong, thick heavy blade with a slightly curved edge and is used to chop meat and sever and prepare joints but should not be used to chop through large bones, use a saw instead.
Carving forks are designed to stop meat from moving about on the dish while being carved and come with a guard to protect your hand in case the knife slips. They are usually sold separately or as part or a set consisting of a carving knife, fork and sharpening steel.
Cook’s knives are good all-purpose knives which help you tackle larger scale chopping jobs and come in a variety of blade sizes.
These include: cheese and butter knives, Chinese cook’s knives, palette knives, filleting knives poultry shears and mezzalunas (curved blades with two handles for chopping herbs)
Equipping yourself with the basics
It is not necessary to buy a whole array of knives. You may simply want to purchase a few basics for everyday use or add to a collection over time, especially with the more expensive ranges. We recommend the following for a basic set:
Small cook’s knife
Large cook’s knife
Carving knife & fork
Quality and construction
The quality and price of a knife will be affected by the way in which it is made. We hope the glossary below will help you decide which quality of knife you would prefer.
Fully forged knives are the best quality which are made from a single block of steel. The blade and the tang (which attaches the blade to the handle) are all in one piece.
Stamped knives are machine cut from a continuous strip of stainless steel. This process makes the knife more economical to produce and buy. They are not as strong or durable as fully forged knives but offer good quality and value for money.
Hardening and tempering
These are the processes knives are put through to produce a hard and durable blade.
Taper ground blades are the best quality. Taper ground means that the whole blade is ground from the back of the blade to the cutting edge and from the handle end to the tip. This produces a blade with a fine sharp and very strong cutting edge.
Not as strong or durable as taper ground blades since only the bottom part of the blade is ground to form a cutting edge.
The name given to the part of the blade which attaches the blade to the handle.
Full tang knives have a tang which runs the full length of the handle, follows its shape and is secured by rivets along its entire length. This helps to provide strength and balance and is a feature for the serious cook to look for.
Half tang (or neb tang) is the name given to a tang which extends part way along the handle from about halfway to as much as three quarters of the way. It is secured by rivets but usually the rivet furthest way from the blade is only cosmetic. Half tang knives are suitable for general work.
Whittle Tang knives have only a short point which extend into the handle and cannot be seen. They are only suitable for lightweight work.
Care and Storage
Most knives are dishwasher safe. Remove and dry at the end of the cycle to prevent corrosion. However if knives are washed by hand and dried they will stay sharper for longer. To protect the blades, store in a knife block or magnetic wall rack and always use on a smooth surface such as a wood or acrylic chopping board. Use a knife sharpener or steel to keep blades in good condition.
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Jamie Oliver Knife Block Set 5 Knives
This Jamie Oliver Knife Block Set comes with a beautiful beech block and contains 5 essential kitchen knives for your kitchen. The all the knives have a full tang and have a Japanese MoV (Metal Oxide Varistor) stainless steel blades with chunky bolster which provides superb balance and extra weight. They feature sculpted handles for maximum comfort and the knife’s names etched onto the end of the handle for easy identification when stored in the knife block. It comes with a 25 year guarantee and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning (knives only), it also comes in a gift boxed making it an ideal wedding present.
This Jamie Oliver Knife Block Set includes
Paring Knife 11cm/4″
Utility Knife 15cm/6”
Chef’s Knife 19cm/7½”
Carving Knife 20cm/8”
Bread Knife 22cm/8½”
Stellar Sabatier 8 Piece Arched Knife Block Set
The Stellar Sabatier 8 Piece Arched Knife Block Set is combination of Carbon-Chrome-Molybdenum and Vanadium Steel which offers the advantages of easy sharpening with a extended edge life and resistance to rust and stains. Each blade is fully forged from a single billet of top grade steel – not strip steel. Blades have a full length ‘tang’ which extends into the handle and the craftsman-ground edges will retain their sharpness through expert hardening and tempering. The perfect taper grinding of Stellar Sabatier blades produce a fine and very strong cutting edge unlike hollow ground blades which eventually become impossible to sharpen.
Each Stellar Sabatier knife has a perfect join between the handle, bolster and blade – the hygiene requirement of top quality professional knives. Each knife comes with a rubberised Silicone anti slip handle and all knives come with a lifetime warranty, although Stellar Sabatier knives are dishwasher safe, handwash is recommended. The block itself is made from Stainless Steel for easy cleaning.
This Stellar Sabatier 8 Piece Arched Knife Block Set includes:
Paring knife 9cm (3.5″)
Steak knife 11cm (4.5″)
Utility knife 13cm (5″)
Boning knife 15cm (6″)
Cook’s knife 20cm (8″)
Bread knife 20cm (8″)
Sharpening steel 25cm (10″)
And a Stainless Steel knife block.
Viners Aquarius 7-Piece Brushed Steel Kitchen Knife Block Set
This Contemporary Viners Aquarius 7-Piece Knife Block Set has brushed steel handles and forged bolster and ground edge blades and has a clever glass barrel so you can see the knives without having to remove then from the block, this also make it easier to clean and is dishwasher safe. It comes with a 10 year guarantee, this Contemporary Viners Aquarius 7- piece block Set will compliment most modern kitchen.
The Viners Aquarius 7-Piece Knife Block includes
Chefs knife 20cm
bread knife 20cm
carving knife 20cm
carving fork 15cm
utility knife, 12.5cm
paring knife 9cm
Waltmann und Sohn 9 Piece Professional Chef Knife Set
For a good prices point the Waltman Und Sohn 9 Piece Professional Chef Knfie Set is a bargain for the chef at home or will make an ideal gift. It comes with a 20 year guarantee and also comes sheathed in a lovely material/leather case. The Waltman Und Sohn 9 Piece Professional Chef Knfie Set has been very popular with delicatessens, college cookery departments and many a home chef. All the pieces are made from the highest grade stainless steel so it’s guaranteed against rust or stain with proper care. The set is dishwasher safe and the set consists of 7 knives, carving fork and sharpener in high quality stainless steel. Hardsharpened knives, hence extremely sharp. Ergonomic designed handle for secure handling and comes complete in a zipped brown case.
Global 10 Piece Knife Set & Case
Global is famous throughout the culinary world recommend this brand as a essential part of the kitchen. This Global 10 Piece Chefs Knife Set comes with the Global Deluxe Knife Case which has space for up to 16 pieces. Global knives are manufactured from the finest grade of stainless steel and the blades are comprised of Cromova 18 stainless steel which is ice hardened to Rockwell C56-58 which means it will hold a razor sharp edge longer than any other type of steel.
All Global Knives are carefully weighted and balanced to feel really good in the hand and will complement the best skills in both professional and home cooks alike. Global knives, like any high quality knives should not be placed in a dishwasher, but instead wash by hand in warm soapy water and dry by hand on a towel. Good quality knives are worth looking after but do need a little more care and attention than some price point brands, but looked after properly they can provide a lifetime of use.
This Global 10 Piece Chefs Knife Set includes:
Cooks Knife 20 cm Blade (G-2)
Slicer 13 cm Blade (GS-2)
Utility Knife-Flexible 15 cm (GS-11)
Vegetable Knife 18cm (G-5)
Boning Knife 16 cm Blade (G-21)
Carving Fork, Straight (GF-24)
Peeling Knife 8 cm Blade (GSF-15)
Palette Knife – Flexible 15cm blade (GS-21/6)
Global Sharpener 260mm (10″) rod (G-38)
Peeling Knife Curved 6 cm Blade (GSF-17)