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When it comes to buying kitchen knives, go for the highest quality you can afford and select pieces that will serve your particular cooking needs. If you are a novice in the kitchen, a good basic chef’s knife, a paring knife for smaller tasks and a good quality serrated knife (to use on foods with slippery skin and dense foods like bread and meat) will do. For advanced chefs, a larger collection will likely be necessary. Good knives are meant to last a lifetime. If cared for properly they will do just that.


For best results, wash all knives (even though labeled as dishwasher safe) by hand. In addition, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions so as to be made aware of any discrepancies.

All knives are comprised of a blade (the shape and size of which determine their function) and a handle (which come in a wide array of materials and sizes). The bolster lies between the handle and the blade, helping to strengthen, reinforce and add balance.

To increase stability and control, use one of the following methods:

Pinch the blade between your thumb and forefinger and place your other fingers around the handle.

Put your thumb at the base of the blade and the rest of your fingers around the handle.

Always make sure to keep your fingertips drawn back to avoid accidents!

How the Blade was forged: Stamped vs. Forged

Stamped Knives are essentially steel cut outs. Although not as thick as professional grade forged knives, they are less expensive and more readily available.

Forged knives are better quality-wise, and therefore often preferred by chefs. Produced by a process of repeated heating, folding and cooling, they offer better balance, are denser and retain a better edge.

Different Ways of Cutting: Slicing, Chopping, Pairing


Serrated knives are necessary for preparing fruit, vegetables, sandwiches, poultry and meat into long, uniform slices. They come with either sharp or rounded tips and flat or serrated surfaces.


To create small, even pieces, use a knife with a sharp blade like a chef’s knife. Whether you’re working with herbs, fruits, vegetables or meat, chopping in a smooth, repetitive motion will give you the results you’re looking for.


Paring refers to any cutting that takes place up in the air and off the board. These knives demand the use of a different sort of grip – the choke grip, which leaves your thumb free so you can sweep food towards it.

Paring knives are available in three styles: standard (which is essentially a chef’s knife), bird’s beak (which should be used with round items) and sheep’s foot (which has a drop point in order to reduce the likelihood of an accident).

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel knives are durable and give off an esthetically pleasing shine. In order to avoid rust, they should be regularly sharpened and properly dried.

The best models are high carbon. This ensures that there is enough to provide sufficient strength, but not too much that they will be prone to breakage.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel knives retain sharp edges, are typically on the inexpensive side and are easy to sharpen. Unfortunately, they are also susceptible to stains and rust and require a higher level of care (ideally they should be cleaned and dried after each use).


For a more advanced (albeit difficult to maintain option) opt for a ceramic knife. They are lightweight, rarely require sharpening and are rust and acid resistant.

To prevent chips, it’s important to remember that these knives are delicate and can break if dropped or used on hard foods. And because they need to be sharpened with tools designed specifically for them, maintenance is a bit trickier.