When it comes to food prep, having the knife for the job, understanding it’s anatomy and knowing how to use it properly is crucial. Learn about the basic knife types and the importance of sharpening below to implement in your foodservice establishment.
Knife Anatomy 101
Wusthof knows a thing or two about knives as they have been in the industry since 1814. Referencing their diagram below, when holding a knife, balance it gently in the palm of your hand with your hand open. Then, place your middle, ring and little fingers around the handle, with your middle finger on the knife’s bolster. Use your thumb and index fingers to clasp the blade and you are ready to go.
For more cutting tips and techniques, learn more on Wusthof’s website.
Basic Knife Types
Having the right knife for a task is essential for efficiency and safety. Below is a guide of basic knives and uses from Dexter-Russell, who has also been in the industry since the early 1800s.
Ideal For: Delicate foods such as pepper rings, olives or cherries. Also great for removing corn from the cob, breaking up heads of lettuce, peeling fruits and vegetables.
Additional Information: Four style types (curved, spear, sharp or clip point).
Ideal for: Slicing non-solid fruits and vegetables, large melon rings, cutting lettuce heads into wedges, preparing cabbage or cutting citrus fruits in half.
Additional Information: Use a stainless steel knife when cutting acidic fruits.
Ideal For: Roasts, hams, lamb or veal legs or filleting fish.
Additional Information: Simplify carving and get additional servings by boning out a roast when it is partially cooked.
Ideal For: Dicing salt pork, cubing cooled meats, cutting steaks or trimming raw meats.
Additional Information: Great for odd jobs around the kitchen.
Ideal For: Opening lobsters or when cutting poultry and joints.
Additional Information: Wide blade helps to cut through thick foods.
Ideal For: Dicing or mincing foods such as onions, celery, nuts, meats, parsley or peppers. Also carves hot roasts.
Additional Information: Is the most versatile knife in a kitchen. When used properly, a cook will position the point of the cook’s knife on the cutting board beyond where the food will be cut then without lifting the point, work the knife in a rocking motion to quickly cut evenly.
Ideal For: Carving rounds, boneless roasts, boiled briskets, pot roasts, butt roasts and standing rib roasts.
Additional Information: Slicers and carvers need an adequate length for smooth slicing.
Using a dull knife can actually create a dangerous situation as the operator is required to use more force than they would if the knife was sharp. There are two ways to keep knives in tip-top shape: Honing and sharpening.
“Honing re-aligns the microscopic teeth in the blade, but doesn’t remove steel to create a new edge the way “sharpening” does,” explained Wusthof. “Honing can be used frequently- even after each use. Sharpening a knife actually takes a small amount of steel off the blade. Depending on how often the knives are used, they may only need to be sharpened once or twice a year.”
Wusthof cautions over sharpening knives so the operator doesn’t lose the original shape of the blade itself.
Let Central Help
Ready to buy new knives? Central has a wide selection of knives, sharpeners and other accessories (i.e. cutting boards or gloves) in all price points. Shop our website, call a product consultant at 800-215-9293 or live chat for help!