What are different knives and what are they for?

What are different knives and what are they for?

November 13, 2020

There are various styles of knives that you can find in the kitchen at any given time and if you are just starting your culinary journey it can be a bit confusing. I have several knives that I keep in my kit and I will focus on those for the purpose of this article.

One of the best investments feel I have ever made is purchasing a good set of knives. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so for me personally, I feel it helps to have several styles of knives. Although you can get away with just having one really good chef’s knife, it is always great to have options. I did a lot of research when I was shopping for a knife and the main factor in my decision was the price point. There are knives that range anywhere from $10 to $500 and up. Price point was a big factor for me, but while I was doing my research I found that you can find good knives that won’t break the bank. I stumbled upon Victorinox knives - the swiss army knife company makes some really good knives. There are some knock offs, but true Victorinox knives have a stamp on them.  

When I was doing research, my price point was around $150. That means I was willing to spend $150 for one good knife. Then I found that I can get a Victorinox knife kit that comes with a bag, 8” chef knife, 12” meat slicer, 12” offset bread knife, 6” semi-flexible boning knife, and a paring knife. The whole set on Amazon cost me about $120 as they had a special at the time, so this was a win-win for me. I have had the set for a year and a half now and I have been very satisfied.

So let's dabble and talk about the different knives and what they are used for.

8” Chef’s Knife

This knife is the work horse in the kitchen and you can essentially use it for any purpose.  If you have a good chef knife this is one of the best tools in your kitchen. You can slice, dice, chop and cut with this one knife. The way the blade is shaped is conducive to taking care of all jobs in the kitchen. I have had several different sizes of chef knives and I feel the 8” version is the best. Anything shorter and it makes it harder to cut longer cuts of meat and inversely anything longer feels a bit cumbersome. The reason I fell in love with the Victorinox chef knife is that it held up to tough use. Also, the fibrox handle made sure I had a good grip. Long story short, get a good chef’s knife and you won't regret it!

12” Meat Slicer

This knife is great for cutting large cuts of meat. Here in Southern California, we cook a lot of tri-tip and having a knife that is long makes easy work of cutting across the grain with those cuts of meat. The fact that is had divets in the tang of the blade make it so that air pockets can get in between the the knife and the meat, thus what you cut will not stick to the blade. Also, this is a solid knife to have when you carve a turkey for Thanksgiving or having to cut a ham for Christmas.


12” Offset Bread Knife

This knife is one that I do not use all too often, but when I do, it is nice to have a blade with a serrated edge that is long as it is. Most bread knives do not have an offset handle. This is not a deal breaker, but having an offset knife means you do not have to scrape your knuckles against the cutting boards.


6” Semi-flexible Boning Knife

If you ever had to butcher a chicken and get into tight spots, this is the knife for that! Keep it really sharp and it will be your best friend, when the need arises. Have you ever made chicken wings from scratch? This is the knife for that. Also, you can use this knife to fillet fish.


Pairing/ Utility Knife

This is a very multi purposeful knife which comes in handy for smaller tasks. This is good when you have to make precise cuts on fruits and vegetables. Although I personally do not use this knife a lot, I love to use it when I am cutting into a perfectly cooked ribeye steak.


Honing steel

So this knife set also came with a honing steel, which is amazing because it adds longevity to the edge of the knives. I always hone my knives prior to using them. If you would like to know more about the difference between honing and sharpening, feel free to read our other article about the subject.

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