How to Choose the Proper Knife for Every Type of Food [INFOGRAPHIC]

knife-types

When I’m preparing a meal in the kitchen, I grab the nearest utensil in my proximity. Now, whether I’m attempting to slice a slab of brisket with a bread knife when I should really be using a chef’s blade, is another issue.

For those of us who momentarily consider the difference between a steak knife and a smaller pairing knife, then recklessly reach over for the vegetable knife to cut our steak — this insightful infographic was made for us. Although, there’s no guarantee it’ll convert us to proper kitchen chefs overnight.

Anything can happen when all the appropriate knives are dirty in the dishwasher and all we have to filet our salmon is a petite decorating knife. Just clean the salmon knife, you say? Psh, you’re not our mama.

[click on infographic to enlarge]

knife-infographicPicthx dailyinfographic



Charisma has an undying love for gritty literature and drinks coffee like water. She also hails from Toronto, Canada and is a die-hard Maple Leafs fan, sigh.



In this article:
  • Bree

    No knives in the dishwasher – ever… unless of course you like the rust appearance, mashing your food instead of cutting it because of the dull blade and having to buy new knives every couple of year, then dishwasher away!

    • Ant

      Perhaps you should spend a little more on your knives? Because larger professional restaurants generally tend to have massive dishwashers to facilitate efficiency, and I’ve not had a corrosion issue before.

  • Ant

    As a qualified and successful chef of 16 years, let me just say that the above and the notion of ‘proper’ knives is largely horseshit. That being said, it does bug the shit out of me when folks refer to a Chinese veg knife as a cleaver by virtue of it’s shape alone.

    • Mickleludicris

      I will have to respectfully disagree with you chef. I have found that a specific knife for a specific job works well for me. Here are my examples. Say you are fileting a whole salmon, a salmon slicer is more flexible so you can direct the cut with more precision. When you are cutting off the rib cage the length and flexibility help you get the bones of the flesh with one long even slice. I sometimes use a 12″ French knife but the salmon slicer works best. When you are slicing fresh bread a serrated bread knife used in a sawing motion will make a better slice than any other knife. Same with cutting ripe tomatoes.
      Different knives are designed with their purpose in mind. A boning knife is flexible so you can bend it when butchering meat . You need to be right at the bone to get every piece of meat. A paring knife is small to cut small foods or peel onions. A French knife has a big heel so you can rock it back and forth as when chopping fine herbs. A truffle slicer is super sharp with a dial for thickness, try getting the required paper thin slice another way.
      Different knives for different jobs gives cooks the range of cutting edge that they require to perform fine cuts.
      In conclusion I would have to say that I am imagining a perfect world. I work in a four diamond restaurant and between my tools and what the restaurant has, we are fully equipped. In my early days of course I have peeled onions with a boning knife or butchered a beef tenderloin with a French knife. In the kitchen you can only use what you bring and what the kitchen provides and some places do not provide much. Respectfully submitted by a cook.

  • Dale

    It would have been nice to have a chart you could read without using the zoom feature to excess.

  • Anonymous

    I find it interesting that you have a carving fork, but left off the all-important carving knife. You mention it with the fork, but don’t actually have it on the chart.

    Also, one of my most frequently grabbed knives is the sandwich spreader. Serrated edge and wide rounded belly makes it the perfect knife for making sandwiches, slicing tomatoes for said sandwiches, and slicing (and spreading cream cheese on) bagels.

    • Mickleludicris

      The salmon knife and the granton slicer are both referred to as carving knives. Respectfully submitted.

  • Anonymous

    no “butter knife”? no “steak knife”? no “Carving knife” even though you just mentioned it? boo.

    • Mickleludicris

      Long time chef says that the granton slicer is the carving knife. Most cooks call it the slicing knife . Also the salmon knife is a slicer as well. It is not just for salmon but can carve most large joints as well. Maybe a new poster was posted with the steak knife being the fifth from the bottom. Respectfully submitted.

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