Knives and Knife Etiquette

By 4th April 2015Advice

Hello, and welcome back to our ongoing series of kitchen quick tips and tricks to making the most out of your quality Silke kitchen. Last time, we covered chopping boards and what you should use with what kind, and today, we’re covering the utensil used most often in tandem with them; Knives and Knife etiquette.

By now, most of you will have seen celebrity chefs use different kinds of knives, and that there are at least two kinds of knives- ones you use at the table, and ones you use when cooking. Truth is, there a great many kinds of knives, and every one is expertly designed and crafted to serve a specific purpose, all the way from boning fish down to, well, being all-purpose. Don’t worry, we’re not going to give you an encyclopaedic breakdown of every single kind and style of knife; we’re going to stick to the kinds you are most likely to find in consumer kitchens, and a few little things to bare in mind when using them.

Knifes for Chefs

Perhaps the most common and most important knife in your arsenal is the Chef’s Knife. Also known as the French Knife, it is the all-purpose multi-use knife, and is included as one of the primary knives in any Knife Block; originally designed specifically for cutting beef, Chef’s Knives have curved edges that allow the user to rock the blade back and forth for a more precise cut, but they can be used for almost any task that requires a cutting utensil, from mincing to slicing, and chopping to disjointing. These are the bog standard large blades celebrity chefs will be seen using on air.

Bread Knives are the next most common sight in a bog standard kitchen; they feature long blades and a serrated edge, most often inclined with the axis of the blade, that allow the user to cut into bread evenly and neatly, without crushing it with the excessive force used when cutting with a blade that has a fine edge. Bread Knives can also be used to cut some soft-yet-thick baked goods such as cakes if desired, but as a general rule they aren’t required for the task.

Bonning Knives

These are another common knife found in Knife Blocks, but it’s almost guaranteed that the average kitchen goer isn’t immediately aware of what it is, or what it’s primary function is. Bonning Knives have thinner, narrower blades, designed for the specific purpose of removing bones from meat, poultry, and fish, and come in stiff and flexible variants; stiff blades are preferred for thicker cuts of meat, whereas flexible blades are used most often for poultry and fish.

Trimming Knives generally round off the bog standard knife block, coming in handy specifically for the smaller tasks such as trimming, decorating, and peeling. They usually round off at a length of 5cm. Some Knife Blocks will also come with a smaller serrated knife that’s good for cutting vegetables, particularly ones with thicker skins.

Although something of a more “advanced” technique, it comes in handy to have a Blade Sharpener laying around, as knives can do get dull, sometimes very quickly. They’re very simple to use, requiring nothing more then a steady hand, and a swaying motion that allows both sides of the blade’s edge to sharpen up. Another good tip to bare in mind when cutting is to use what is called the Cats Paw technique; instead of holding the item you’re cutting with fully extended fingers, you curl your fingers inward- so only the first joint of each finger is extended- and press down slightly with your knuckles, allowing you to safely and securely hold the item without danger of cutting your fingers. Any celebrity chef worth their salt will advocate this technique.