ALL-PURPOSE KNIFE - A versatile kitchen knife that can be used for a range of jobs, from slicing and chopping vegetables to trimming bacon fat, cutting meat and peeling fruit and vegetables.
BONING KNIFE - A specialist preparation knife with very sharp points for removing bones from raw poultry and other meat. Boning knives can have rigid or flexible blades.
BREAD KNIFE - A bread knife has a long, rigid scalloped-edge blade ideal for tackling bread or foods with a hard surface and soft interior.
BUTCHER’S KNIFE - A broad-bladed knife mostly used by butchers for butchering animals and for meat processing.
CARVING FORK - A large fork used to secure meat when carving, which is used with a carving knife. It differs from a table fork in that it has only two prongs.
CARVING KNIFE - Carving knives are long and are available in a range of styles to suit the food to be carved. For joints of meat a reasonably rigid blade is needed, with a sharp point to work around bones. Poultry requires a slightly more flexible blade, while cold meats require even more ‘spring’.
CHEESE KNIFE - Used for cutting cheese into slices, a cheese knife has a blade that widens out from the handle towards the tip, and is somewhat rectangular in shape. It also incorporates a series of large holes in the blade, which help the slicing process and also prevent the cheese from sticking to the blade; the holes create air gaps which interrupt the ‘suction’ which can build up between the blade and the food. This same anti-sticking feature also makes the cheese knife useful for cutting boiled eggs, butter and cake.
CLEAVER/CHOPPER - A large hatchet-like knife with a broadly rectangular blade, used for chopping through boned joints. It can also double up for chopping vegetables. Chinese Cleavers tend to be lighter and used as a general purpose knife and as a spatula for transferring ingredients to the wok or pan.
COOK’S/CHEF’S KNIFE - The cook’s knife, or chef’s knife, is a large, versatile, all-purpose knife. The blade has a straight edge from heel to halfway along the blade, which then gradually tapers towards the point. The blade is broad and strong, and the user can chop, using a rocking motion, with one hand, while controlling the blade with the other.
MEZZALUNA - A curved bladed knife with two raised handles (literally a half moon), used for mincing or dicing vegetables and other foods by a rocking motion. This can have a single or two parallel blades and is often sold with a cutting board which may, in turn, have a hollow well in the centre in which the demilune is used. Also known as a hachoir.
FILLETING KNIFE - This knife has an extremely thin, flexible blade so that when pressed against the backbone of a fish it will follow its curve and the flesh can be swept off cleanly.
HAM/SALMON SLICER - A knife with a long slim, usually flexible blade with rounded end, used for thinly slicing joints of ham, beef and smoked salmon. The blade can be with or without scalloping or fluting.
NAKIRI - A Japanese knife which is usually rectangular in shape used for cutting and dicing vegetables and fruit, etc. This should not be confused with a cleaver, which is of similar shape, but more substantially made for heavier tasks.
PALETTE KNIFE - An extra long, well-balanced and blunt knife with a flexible blade, used for a variety of kitchen tasks. It will act as a fish turner, lift rolled-out pastry off the work surface, flip over scones or biscuits and smooth out icing on cakes. The ‘blade’ can be in a variety of lengths, and can be either completely flat or cranked/bent.
PARING/PEELING KNIFE - A small, all-purpose knife with a sharp point, ideal for all sorts of intricate and fiddly jobs. Peeling knives tend to be slightly smaller and may be ‘spear point’ shaped or ‘lamb foot’ shaped, or curved
PIZZA CUTTER - A tool with a flat cutting disc, used to make a rolling cut through a pizza.
SANTOKU KNIFE - Literally meaning ‘three uses’ or ‘benefits’, this Japanese-inspired knife, which has become very popular in the west, is similar to a chef’s knife in that it can be used for a variety of dicing, chopping and mincing jobs. The razor-sharp blade has a straighter edge than a chef’s knife and the end is somewhat rounded.
SASHIMI KNIFE - A traditional Japanese knife for preparing and slicing raw fish. The long-bladed knife is traditionally ground and sharpened on one side only to produce a bevelled edge, with the other side being completely flat. This makes for a very sharp cutting edge which helps to maintain a right-angle cut without damaging the remaining food, and is also good for skinning or filleting fish. There are two main types of Sashimi knives: Yanagi, which has a sharp pointed end, and Tako, with a chisel-like square end.
SERRATED KNIFE - A knife with a single-sided, wavy, finely-toothed blade edge used to cut smooth-skinned, slippery fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, lemons and grapefruit, or crusty foods such as bread. Serrated edges are very sharp and retain their sharpness, with the downward-pointing peaks of the wavy edge making the first cut and protecting the sharpness of the troughs.
SLICER - A type of carving knife with a rounded end, as opposed to the very sharp tip on standard carving knives. They are used for carving boneless joints, particularly ham, beef or salmon.
SLICING KNIFE - A knife with a long blade, used for slicing meat. It is easy to manipulate and has a very sharp point, which can be used for removing meat right next to the bone.
STEAK KNIFE - A table knife with a sharp, narrow, serrated blade that makes it easier to cut tough meats such as steak. Steak knives are often supplied in sets that coordinate with kitchen knives.
UTLILTY KNIFE - An all-purpose knife that is bigger than a paring knife and smaller than a chef’s knife or cook’s knife. It has a finer blade than a chef’s knife, and is used for carving and slicing fine meats and soft vegetables.
VEGETABLE CHOPPER - A small worktop gadget like a mini food processor, for chopping vegetables and other foods such as eggs and fruits. The food is placed in the enclosed container and then pushed down by means of a knob onto a blade. The blades then rotate and chop up the food.