Chef Knives

Cut cleanly and safely with chef's knives

Choosing quality chef knives is essential to the efficiency and safety of your kitchen. Manufacturers offer a wide range of chef's cutlery and commercial knife sharpeners for every job.

You should have a good working knowledge of the different types of chef's knives and the various materials and blade styles your cooks prefer. This will help you choose quality chef's cutlery and ensure you have all the tools your kitchen staff needs.

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Chef Knives: Blade Styles and Materials

There are eight major styles of cutting edges on chef knife blades, each of which has very specific characteristics and applications:

  • Straight edge blades. These are the simplest blades and are completely straight along the cutting edge, though some may be slightly curvy. Straight edge blades are best for cutting soft but firm foods, like meat and fruit.
  • Serrated edge blades. A serrated edge has small "teeth" carved into the sharp end of the blade and doesn't need to be sharpened as often as a straight edge. These blades are ideal for cutting bread and baked goods as well as soft fruits and vegetables.
  • Saw and raker blades. A saw and raker blade alternates a serrated edge with double-toothed blade extensions. Saw and raker blades are effective cutting tools for hard or frozen foods.
  • Hollow ground blades. A knife blade with a continuous beveled edge is known as a hollow ground blade. These blades are excellent for slicing, but they are not a good choice for chopping.
  • Hollow edge blades. This blade is like a hollow ground blade, except that the bevels are not continuous – they are vertically oriented and evenly spaced along the edge of the blade. Hollow edge blades are recommended for chopping.
  • Convex ground blades. A convex ground blade is the exact opposite of a hollow ground blade. Rather than having a beveled edge, convex ground blades have protruding edges. They are excellent for chopping and for cutting thick, tough foods.
  • Flat ground blades. This blade provides excellent stability and features a straight edge along the blade's face. Flat ground blades are great for continuous cutting or chopping.
  • Taper ground blades. A taper ground blade is thicker near the handle of the knife and tapers to a thinner point at the tip of the blade. Taper ground blades provide a clean but textured cut to a wide variety of foods.

Chef Knife Types

While blade edges provide specific types of cutting power, blade shapes are equally important. Some of the essential chef knife types include boning knives, cheese knives, filet knives, cleavers, deli knives, paring knives, mincing knives, carving knives and general purpose slicers. For meals that require precision, having the right knife is as important as having the right professional cookware, so be sure to invest in at least one complete set of chef knives for your kitchen.