All About Knives

Wednesday 24 September 2014


(Click on the above picture to enlarge for more detail.)

One of the first things I was taught, amongst other things, when I went to Culinary school was the proper use and care of knives.   A good knife is one of your most important tools as a chef, or a cook . . .  and it's really important that a person knows how to use and care for them properly.   Not only are they one of the most important tools in the kitchen, but they are also one of the most dangerous tools in the kitchen, so proper care and safety is essential!  Knives must always be handled with respect, used correctly and taken care of so that a professional performance can be achieved.

Some safety rules for knife use are:
  • Always carry your knifes, point held downwards
  • Knives placed on tables must be placed flat and not project over the edge of the table
  • When using knives, always concentrate on the job at hand.
  • Keep knives sharp and use the correct knife for the correct purpose.
  • After use, always wife the knife, blade away from the hand.
  • Keep knife handles clean and do not leave in the sink.
  • Never misuse knives.  After use wash, rinse, dry and safely put away.
  • Colour coding of knife handles can assist in preventing cross contamination
Two tools are available for sharpening knives, a steel and a carborundum stone.  Periodically knives may need to be ground.  To retain sharpness, always use a cutting board.   A good craftsman or craftswoman never blames his or her tools since they always take good care of them.

It goes without saying that for a tool as important as a knife you will want to invest the most that you can in them, as you will want them to be of good quality and to last you for a lifetime.  It is more than worth the money to invest in something as important as a good set of knives.  My mother is still using the same knives she purchased back in the 1950's.   They may have seemed expensive at the time, but they have more than paid for the initial investment through the years and have served her very well.    When I was getting kitted out for culinary school, the knives were the major part of my financial investment, aside from the course.  I can never under-estimate the important of having good tools to work with.   Some of the best quality chefs kitchen knives can be found online at kitchen specialist websites such as Milly's Store.

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It's important to remember also that speed is not essential when using your knives properly.   When watching celebrity chef's on the telly, they always whiz through their chopping amazingly quickly and it can be impressive to watch.  Don't forget that they have had years of professional training and experience . . .  and their knifes are really sharp The most dangerous tool in the kitchen is a dull knife.  Never forget that.   Remember also, that control is much more important than speed.  With time and experience you may well become just as fast as they are, but really all you want to be is safe.

So, with good quality knives, taken care of and used safely . . .  you can be well assured that you are well on your way to becoming a master chef in your home kitchen.


  1. Marie I agree. Dangerous knives are blunt knives despite what people may think. The force used to counteract with the dull blade is the problem.

    For many years I had one decent knife. It was a paring knife and a very good brand. One day it just disappeared. I have my ideas but no one will admit what happened. I know have a block of knives. I do not advocate buying a set but in this instance it was very good value and I do use every knife in the block. My present knives are Japanese and are one material all the way through. Woe bride anyone who mistreats a knife.

    I also agree with the never put them in the sink rule. Someone in my life does this. This person rarely washes up but dumps them into pure hot water and leaves them for another to deal with. I have had some very nasty cuts cleaning up the mess over the years.

    Buy a good knife and treasure it. You really only need a few and it is best to buy the one that fits your hand etc. Once again celebrity chefs are not in the choice. They are often given knives etc to advertise them.

  2. OH for sure Suzan, but having said that the knives I use all the time are the ones I received from Jamie Oliver!!


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