Guide to Knife Types
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
Boning KnifeUsed to separate meat from bone with a blade specifically designed to pierce flesh and closely follow the bone.
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Bread KnifeStraight 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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Butcher KnifeCan be used both in the kitchen to slice large slabs of raw meat or during serving to slice thin portions.
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Chef's KnifeAlso 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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CleaverThe 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 KnifeAlso 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 KnifeAlso 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 KnifeAlso 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 KnifeAlso called a wavy edge parer, this type of knife is used primarily to slice small fruits and vegetables.
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Clam KnifeHas a short blade with a slightly sharp edge and rounded tip. Used to pry open clams.
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Oyster KnifeHas a short, blunt blade and is used to pry open oyster shells.
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Fillet KnifeHas a long, thin, flexible blade with a pointed tip. Designed to remove scales and bones from fish.
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Slicing KnifeThe 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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Utility KnifeAlso 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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Steak KnifeUsed 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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