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A Guide to Essential Kitchen Knives

HG Cooks

A Guide to Essential Kitchen Knives

Blades of Glory

When it comes to kitchen know-how, most chefs or serious at-home cooks will tell you that knives are the most important piece of kitchen equipment you can own. And while owning one high-quality, über-sharp knife is better than a drawer full of dull ones, a variety will help take your cooking to the next level. To help you understand what to look for when chopping, dicing or slicing — or to simply upgrade your knife knowledge — read on. We'll help you discover and understand what to look for when buying and caring for knives and give you a glimpse into our expanded offering of these essential cooks' tools.

What to Look for When Buying and Caring for Knives?

When buying a new set of knives, look at ones manufactured with high quality materials, as the quality and hardness will dictate how long the sharpness will last and how easily the knife can be maintained. It should be fully precision-forged, giving it strength along with the weight of the bolster which helps with balance, comfort and ease of use.  A good knife also means a sharp knife, which is ultimately a safe knife as it requires less pressure to cut and is less likely to slip while slicing. When caring for your knives, the rule of thumb is to never put them in the dishwasher, and after washing by hand, dry immediately. And don't forget to sharpen them regularly.

Stainless or Carbon Steel?

Generally speaking, there are two classifications in knife blades: stainless or high carbon steel. Each has pros and cons. Stainless steel knives are tougher but not as hard. They resist rust, stains and corrosion more than carbon blades, but they also lose their edge faster as the steel is softer. Also on the plus side: stainless steel is one of the most recyclable materials today. When it comes to carbon steel, you're purchasing strength, which makes it the sharpest knife in your drawer, and you won't have to sharpen it as much. However, it has poor rust resistance, so you'll need to clean your knife right after use and make sure it's guarded against moisture when stored. Professional chefs normally prefer carbon steel because it provides a better precision cut.

Chef's Knife

Also called a cook's knife, this is arguably the most important knife in your kitchen. It's a workhorse that rocks back and forth to dice onions, mince herbs, chop larger fruits and vegetables or prepare meats . The blades can differ in length, with the smaller option easier to control and ideal for those with smaller hands.

Pairing Knife

This is your everyday knife, used mostly for smaller fruits and veggies. It's especially good for peeling, and its size helps you tackle delicate or detailed tasks, such as deseeding small chillies, segmenting oranges or removing blemishes on a potato. It's also your go-to for garnishes, such as lime wedges for your cocktails.

Serrated Knife

Also known as a bread knife, a serrated knife can tackle both hard and soft foods. Use it when you want to gently saw through something and avoid squashing the interior, such as slicing crusty bread or tomatoes. The small grooved blades of a serrated knife also hold their sharpness for a long time, so one of these knives will last you a long time.

Carving Knife

This long, sharp knife is generally used to carve thin, uniform slices of poultry and roasts of meat. Most have a plain edge but some are serrated to help saw through the meat.  Think Thanksgiving turkey or a Sunday roast.


Alright, we admit these guys aren't completely essential, but from where we stand, a spreader goes a long way, be it for butter, condiments or even soft cheeses.

What Knife Set Should I Get?

We've been busy adding to our treasure chest of cooks' tools, and landed on what we believe are not only the best rated knives in terms of performance, but also the most beautifully designed. Our goal is to make choosing your next kitchen knife easy, just like a hot knife through butter.