In our own kitchens, we often fancy ourselves to be a professional chef. Whether it’s filleting fish, deboning meat, or even finely chopping onion, we all love to feel like we could rival the top tier chefs out there. But to reach our maximum potential, everyone needs to use the tools appropriate to the task, so why hinder progress with low quality equipment?

Buying a knife set is a good way to guarantee consistency within the kitchen, as the knives will all be fresh, and none will need replacing. Sets can consist of usually 4 or more knives, and ensure that all basic functions can be met with the collection.

Materials

The materials used to create a knife heavily dictate the maximum potential it can achieve. Stainless steel knives are heavily criticised for dulling rapidly, and not having the same potential sharpness as other materials. There are multiple factors that affect how sought after a knife can be.

The biggest variable is often the levels of carbon within the metal, as higher carbon knives are widely accepted as superior to those of lower carbon content.

Two other slightly more high end options are Damascus Steel and Ceramics. Damascus Steel is high carbon metal forged using a folding technique, creating a very unique and very desirable look. Ceramics are known to be razor sharp, and hold their level of sharpness far longer than other knives, yet are much more prone to chipping or breaking.

Quality

There are many arguments about which knives are the highest quality, and it often falls to preference. However, the few things that many professionals seem to agree on is the fact that high carbon knives are generally far higher quality than other alternatives. The reason for this is the fact that high carbon content allows the knife to be sharpened far beyond the levels of other materials, and will hold the level of sharpness far longer than that of stainless steel or low carbon.

Stainless steel, although very convenient, as high carbon steel will rust if not properly cared for, is recognised as lower quality. This is because it is extremely difficult to sharpen stainless steel, and due to it being softer, it loses the sharp edge rapidly.

There are high quality knives made from stainless steel, but these differ from lower quality in the way that they still have steel coating to ensure a next level sharpness. 

Uses of knives

There are multiple different knives in a set, sometimes sets can include every type of knife, but most include 3 or 4 different knives to enable any function to be achieved in the kitchen.

Chef’s Knife: A solid all-round tool, essential for any kitchen. Dice and slice fruit, veg, fish and meat. As the Chef’s knife is a larger sized blade, it often needs an accompanying smaller one.

Paring: Often seen as the perfect match to a Chef’s knife, the Paring knife is the smaller counterpart. Used for cutting smaller, soft items, or able to pay attention to detail.

Serrated: Commonly referred to as a bread knife, they are usually used for food items that could potentially be crushed; such as bread or tomatoes. The serrated knife is very helpful for slicing.

After speaking to Kitchen Knives, they advised “Purchase a knife set that includes a Chef’s knife, a Utility knife, a Paring knife and a Serrated knife. This will allow you to be boundless and never be held back by a lack of knife.” 

Maintenance

The levels of maintenance with purchasing a knife set should be fairly equal, if all knives are sharpened at similar intervals, kept clean and dry and kept in a good storage unit. Often knife blocks are used to store good quality knives, as they help preserve the blade.

Higher quality sets of blades will require more vigilant maintenance, but this helps assure that the set will remain in the best condition possible.

Just remember that although the new knives are going to be nice, shiny and new, you can still injure yourself just as easily with them. Always follow proper knife safety rules, check out the HSE page on knife safety here.

There are many different knives, and the choice to advance to becoming a the pro of your household awaits! Let us know what you think of your knife choice, what you choose and why!