There is a plethora of different knife types available for food service establishments. Each knife has a specific use, and it is important to use each piece of commercial cutlery only for its intended purpose. Listed below are the most common knife types found in commercial kitchens:
Choosing the Right Knife for the Job
Used to separate meat from bone with a blade specifically designed to pierce flesh and closely follow the bone.
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Straight or slightly curved blade with a serrated edge. The serrated edge is designed to slice through a product’s tough outer skin or crust while protecting the soft interior. Can be used on hard rind fruit in addition to bread.
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Can be used both in the kitchen to slice large slabs of raw meat or during serving to slice thin portions.
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Also called the cook’s knife, it is the most versatile cutting tool found in a commercial kitchen. Used to cut, slice, chop and mince a variety of different products.
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The largest piece of commercial cutlery, a cleaver has a long, wide blade and is used to cut and chop through thick meat and bone. Can also be used to open lobster.
Spear Point Paring Knife
Also called a chef’s parer because of its versatility. Used for peeling, slicing small produce, removing stems and other small precision cutting tasks.
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Sheep’s Foot Paring Knife
Also called a stylet, this knife has a blunt blade tip that maximizes contact between the food and blade. Used to slice small foods like shallots and garlic.
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Bird’s Beak Paring Knife
Also called a tourné knife, it has an arching blade ideal for both peeling round fruits and garnishing tasks.
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Serrated Edge Paring Knife
Also called a wavy edge parer, this type of knife is used primarily to slice small fruits and vegetables.
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Has a short blade with a slightly sharp edge and rounded tip. Used to pry open clams.
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Has a short, blunt blade and is used to pry open oyster shells.
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Has a long, thin, flexible blade with a pointed tip. Designed to remove scales and bones from fish.
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The slicer is used to carve roasts, turkey or ham into serving portions. The long, thin blade promotes maximum contact between the food and blade, for producing very thin slices.
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Also called a sandwich knife, the utility knife has a serrated blade edge and is used to slice small pieces of meat, produce and sandwiches.
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Used to cut steak, chicken, pork and other main course entrees. It can have either a serrated or smooth edge and pointed or rounded tip. The serrated edge can cut tougher items with greater ease, and a pointed tip steak knife can easily cut meat into smaller bite sizes.
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