Have you ever wondered why there are so many different types of knives? Are you confused on what is the right knife for you?
Knives come in many shapes and sizes, and several material types, yet most people seem to default to an 8” French Chef’s knife. We believe knives are a very personal tool and we ask our customers to try our knives before buying them – it’s going to be a long term relationship so spend some time deciding, to get it right.
How? A good knife should simply feel like an extension of your body, which is why it’s important for you to know what you’re looking for in a knife, as well as how it feels. Balance and motion are critical. How is it’s handle size compared to your hand? Is it too long, or not long enough? Does one glide just that much better than another?
Unfortunately, we can’t tell you how one knife would feel over the other in your hand through our website, so drop into any of our locations to test drive a bunch of our knives. We have a wide selection of models to choose from and it’s not unheard of for someone to take an hour or more to choose the right knife.
Thinking you might need more than a little help? We can teach you the purpose and function for each knife type at our Knife Skills cooking class that are held monthly in North Vancouver and Victoria.
I’ve also written a simple summary to help give you a better idea of what you might need (or want!). Here’s the breakdown of the most popular knife styles:
French Chef’s knife
A Chef’s knife is one of the most versatile types of knife. They’re mid-sized to large knives (ranging from 6″-14″) and are great for slicing, dicing, and chopping. The curved blade allows you to use a rocking motion to quickly mince and chop up your food. People that prepare an even split of meat to veggies (or more meat) typically prefer a Chef’s Knife. Check out our full collection of chef’s knives
Santoku means ‘3 uses’ in Japanese: Slice, dice and mince. A Santoku knife is a Japanese-style knife (but not necessarily Japanese made) with a well-balanced blade and handle. They have a relatively straight edge, making them a good knife for slicing and chopping with a more up-down motion. Depending on whether you prefer a rocking motion or chopping motion, this knife can also be as versatile as a chef’s knife. Veggies are terrified of this blade. Check out our full collection of santoku knives!
Paring and peeling knives
These knives are small and easy to control, making it perfect for peeling, cutting small fruits and vegetables, deveining shrimp, or doing any other task that requires precision. Paring knives are essentially a smaller version of a chef’s knife – it serves a lot of different purposes but in a smaller package. A peeling knife is a paring knife with a beaked tip. Check out our full collection of paring knives!
Typically larger than a paring knife, a utility knife is a small to mid sized knife that can handle chopping where a paring knife is too small but is still small enough to be used in your hand, off the board.
Bread knives are usually 9” to 14” and have a serrated edge. Using a sawing motion, you can easily get clean cuts through thick crusts and soft loaves, without squishing the bread. These are also ideal for squash, watermelon and other hard cased veggies. Check out our full collection of bread knives!
Specialty knives are knives that do one job very well. Some examples of specialty knives are: carving knives, filet knives, and boning knives. Each knife is designed to excel at their specific task. Check out our full collection of specialty knives!