Tag Archives: cutlery

Slice and Dice

Slice-and-DiceDo you have a whole block of knives in your kitchen but find yourself using the same few over and over again? Correctly using each knife will help to keep you safe and make the slicing and dicing task easier.  Here is a simple guide we have created to show the various types of knives and their uses.


Chef Knives
A chef knife is one of the most popular and versatile kitchen knives. Use this type of knife to slice and dice fruits, vegetables, meats and fish.

Pairing Knives
This knife is used for small tasks like peeling and slicing small fruits and vegetables.

Boning Knives
Extremely sharp blade used to simply remove meat from the bone. Boning knives are available in different flexibilities.

Bread Knives
A narrow serrated blade designed to quickly slice through soft products with a tough outer layer. This type of knife is great for slicing bread, tomatoes and melons.

Cleavers are available in a variety of thicknesses. Thin cleavers with fine blades are great for chopping and slicing vegetables. Thick cleavers are used to cut through firm vegetables, meat and poultry bones.

Slicing Knives
A slicer is used to carve meat into especially thin slices.

Explore other knives in your knife block and discover how simple slicing tasks become with the correct tool. Don’t forget to shop the large variety of knives from Instawares.


Five Must Have Knives for the Home Chef

chef-knivesThe definition of tools of the trade as a noun is any instrument, implement, device or piece of machinery that is needed to expertly and correctly conduct an occupation, trade or profession. It should be obvious that in the food preparation industry, for a Chef, knives qualify as a tool of the trade.

Upon graduating from culinary academies, a graduate will probably have their set of basic knives that travel with them everywhere. There is one rule that is pretty standard among chefs: You do not share knives!

When traveling, chefs need to take precautions to wrap their knives well, protecting them from shifting and bumping, and to protect the edges of the blades. Some chefs may wrap their knives in towels, and others wrap them between articles of clothing or pieces of leather. Some may even have specially designed cases.

There are five basic knife needs and/or tools that any chef must have. As they progress in their careers, they will probably include dozens more of experimental and specialty tools, but with these five knives, most any meal can be prepared.

Knife Steel (or Sharpening Steel)
This has a handle like a long knife, but instead of a blade, there is a circular steel rod. Not only does it sharpen knives, but it keeps the blades aligned by reshaping the rough edges resulting from use. A good chef uses the knife steel before and after preparations on one of his trusty knives.

Serrated Utility Knife
Serrated edges are a must for cutting bread (especially with a hard crust), other foods with hard skins, and for very juicy vegetables such as tomatoes.

As the name implies, this cleaves and debones large cuts of meat that need to be sectioned in hefty pieces as opposed to being cut precisely.

Chef’s Knife
This is the most popular knife of all. Chefs use this knife during preparation nearly 95% of the time. In the right hands, it can slice, dice, chop, and debone smaller pieces of meat with expert precision. A well-crafted, top quality, forged stainless steel chef’s knife is the chef’s best friend and can last a decade with the proper care.

Filet Knife
This knife is used for filleting fish, handling very fine and soft meats, and can be used for slicing very thin luncheon meats. Sometimes it is used when preparing chicken, turkey, and other poultry.

Most chefs prefer high quality forged stainless steel blades. Mainly, the basic knife needs of a chef include heft, seamless design with no joints, a secure, comfortable grip, and a blade of high polish that resists rust and corrosion. Reputable chefs never use dull knives. They recommend professional sharpening every 12 to 18 months, and never sharpening serrated edges.

Some chefs only carry a select few knives, while others may keep an assortment of every type. The type of food a specialty chef works with will guide his/her selection. For instance, vegan chefs do not need the same knives as a pastry chef or Sous-chef.

Cutlery Cheat Sheet: Everything You Need to Know about Knives

professional-knives-instawaresWhen it comes to great food, texture is as important as taste. From slicing and dicing to chopping and mincing, a great cutlery set
can transform any ingredient into a culinary delight that looks and feels as good on the palate as it tastes. Knives are one of the most crucial elements of any kitchen, yet so many of us do not know what to look for when purchasing them for our restaurants and homes.  Here are three key factors to consider when shopping for knives.

Shape and Size

Cutlery comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, all designed for specific purposes. Every professional chef and home cook should own five basic types of knives.

Professional chef knives make slicing, dicing, and chopping large amounts of food easy. Although their blades are generally 6 to 14 inches long and about 1 ½ inches wide, chef knives vary when it comes to blade shape. Two of the most common chef knife blade shapes are French and German.  French
blades are straight with a curved tip while German blades feature a curve throughout the cutting edge.

Paring knives are constructed with small, sharp blades. These types of knives are generally used for peeling produce, coring fruit, and slicing smaller foods.

Carving knives are ideal for cutting large pieces of meat like hams, roasts, and whole turkeys. Built with a long thin blade approximately 8 to 15 inches in length, carving knives are excellent for creating thin slices of meat for sandwiches.

Unlike chef, paring, and carving knifes, which feature a smooth cutting surface, utility knives have serrated edges. Very versatile, utility knives can be used to slice a variety of foods.

Bread knives are designed to quickly and easily slice all types of bread. With serrated blades that are between 6 and 10 inches long, bread knives are designed to prevent crushing when cutting soft bread.


Professional knives are properly balanced and have a blade that goes completely through the handle. Blades can be constructed out of a variety of different materials. Four of the most common are:

Carbon Steel Blades – Although they are tough and have a great edge, carbon steel blades can become discolored when used to cut tomatoes and acidic fruits. Rusting may also be a problem for knives with this type of blade.

Stainless Steel Blades – Resistant to rust, stainless steel blades are durable but do not keep a sharp edge as well as other blades, requiring frequent sharpening.

High Carbon Stainless Steel Blades – More expensive than carbon steel and stainless steel blades, high carbon stainless steel blades are tough, won’t discolor, and hold a sharp edge.

Titanium Blades – The most costly kind of blade, titanium blades are of better quality than steel blades and offer more wear resistance. They are frequently used for boning and filleting.


Handles affect more than just grip on knives; they also impact weight, sanitization, and maintenance. Wood, plastic, composite, and stainless steel are among the most common handle materials.

Wood – Wooden handles look good and have a great grip but are harder to maintain. Their surfaces easily harbor bacteria, leading many local health departments to prohibit their use in restaurant kitchens.

Plastic – Inexpensive, light-weight, and microorganism-resistant, plastic handles are an economical and sanitary choice. However, plastic handles can be a safety hazard, becoming slippery when wet.
They are also not as durable as other kinds of handles, often cracking over time.

Composite – The most popular option for chefs, composite handles combine the benefits of wood and plastic handles. They feel like wood, are well-balanced, and are easy to sanitize like plastic.

Stainless Steel – Virtually maintenance-free and the most sanitary, stainless steel knives may become slippery so caution must be used when cutting with them. Steel is the heaviest handle material, so while it can help balance a big, heavy blade, it will usually result in an unbalanced knife that takes more effort to use.

Paying careful attention to the size, shape, blades, and handles of knives while shopping helps to ensure that you select the best cutlery pieces for your culinary endeavors.