Knife 101: What's That Knife for, Anyway?


Anyone who enjoys cooking will agree on one thing.

You need a good knife. Need.

The modern godmother of cooking, Ina Garten, has even been quoted on saying all you need is a few good pots and pans and a good set of knives. Our dearly loved Ina has praised Wüsthof knives and we couldn't agree more. These are the knives our founder has used since she began cooking and hasn't stopped since.

But, what do you do with all of those knives anyway? Which ones do you really need? What should you be using each for?

This kitchen essential is the littlest guy in your knife block, but small is mighty in this case! Pairing knives are intended for small tasks like coring strawberries, peeling potatoes, apples or oranges, and deveining shrimp. It’s also handy for tasks where a larger Cook’s knife works, but a smaller knife means less to wash - like mincing garlic.

Attention meat lovers! The serrated “Sausage” Knife like this one from Wüsthof’s new Epicure line cuts through sausage, meats and cheeses with ease. If your ingredient has a slightly tougher outside, with a softer inside the serrated edge works through it like a breeze. But don’t just think about meats - it works great when for cutting tomatoes, helping you slice the skin all that much easier.

Well, it cuts bread of course. Don’t discount the importance of a great bread knife to do the job. A great bread knife ensures a clean cut for rolls, artisan loafs and others, reducing the ‘squish’ when making that perfect bruschetta for guests. A serrated knife will do the job, but the longer blade on a knife designed for bread will make the task that much easier.

This is your essential kitchen knife. This “king of knives” let’s you slice, dice, chop, and shred. While some smaller tasks may be better for the pairing knife, you can mostly to everything with a great Cook’s Knife. We recommend buying a a “forged” Cook's Knife. This means the blade is made from a single bar of steel, heated and then pounded into shape. It's generally of higher quality than a “stamped” knife which is stamped out of a larger piece of steel and then honed.

Fantastic knife for cutting meat, herbs and vegetables. The blunt tip makes it easy to rock back and forth making things like finely diced herbs a breeze. But what are those scalloped edges? Those edges add air making it easier to remove food from the blade. So, if you’re slicing something thinly, this is a good knife to use.

The Chef & The Dish only partners with companies we love and are truly the best in their industry. We’ve partnered with Wüsthof to help bring extra knife skills to several of our cooking classes, including Goulash & Strudel with Chef Agnes Barath and Chicken Satay with Pickled Vegetables with Chef Paul Then. The new Wüsthof knife line, Epicure is one of the most beautiful and easy to use knives we've ever used. It marries the legendary German quality with Japanese styling. A great gift for any cook on your list.

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