What Knives Does A Chef Need?

Whether you are an aspiring cook or an accomplished chef, having the right set of knives will put you on a path for kitchen success.

Using the wrong type of blade can make it hard for you to prepare your ingredients appropriately and potentially inflict cuts and other injuries.

On the other hand, with the right type of blade, the food preparation process becomes fun, thrilling, and intriguing.

There are tons of blades in the market, but it goes without saying that you do not necessarily need to have hundreds of blades in the kitchen for food preparation.

This is because most kitchen blades can be used interchangeably.

So, which are the blades that a chef needs in the kitchen for food preparation?

A chef knife

Top of the list is a chef’s knife.

A classic chef’s blade is arguably the single most important cutting tool in the kitchen.

This product is versatile and efficient, thereby making it useful for most cutting, slicing, and chopping tasks in the kitchen.

It is recommended to use an 8-10-inch chef blade for daily food preparation in the kitchen.

However, you may also opt for a shorter or longer blade, depending on your needs.

It is crucial to note that a chef’s blade is the ideal tool for nearly 90% of regular kitchen tasks.

The most common cutting tasks that can be accomplished using this blade include slicing & dicing fruits, meats, fish, poultry, and vegetables.

However, it would help if you did not use this blade for puncturing holes in cans, cutting through frozen foods, carving poultry, and deboning.

These tasks can easily damage the cutting edge and hence make the knife dull and dented.

Full tang chef knives are a better choice than half tang ones as the full tang ones are easy to control for precise and accurate cuts.

Additionally, full tang models are sturdier, more balanced, and are long-lasting.

Therefore, they will give you the best and most reliable service throughout their life.

A paring knife

Paring knives are excellent choices when dealing with food items that require attention to detail.

The length of these knives averages about 3 ½ inches.

A paring knife is a great blade for mincing and slicing food items that are considered small to cut using 8-10” chef knives.

They are perfect for hulling strawberries, peeling fruits, mincing garlic, and chopping vegetables.

Do not use a paring blade for cutting tough vegetables like carrots, parsnips, or celery roots.

These cutters are not sufficiently heavy for slicing through foods unless you apply excessive pressure.

Like other types of cutlery, always ensure that your paring knives are sharp at all times for the best cutting performance.

A serrated knife

Serrated knives are also known as bread blades as they are commonly used for slicing bread.

These toothed blades are perfect for undertaking all cutting tasks that are not suitable for a straight blade.

Serrated blades have an average length of about 6 inches and are particularly useful for cutting through foods with waxy interiors and surfaces.

These are foods like pineapples, peppers, tomatoes, citrus, and watermelons.

These blades are also perfect for slicing cake layers.

The cutting edge of these blades is designed to grip and penetrate slippery surfaces and provide clean, smooth, and consistent cuts.

It would help if you only used these blades for slicing foods rather than chopping.

A boning knife

A boning blade comes in handy for boning or cutting up meat, fish, or poultry.

These blades are designed to separate steak from bones, joints, and ribcages.

The blades are flexible and hence maneuver easily to cut around bones.

It is worth noting that these blades should not be used for cutting through bones.

The best boning blade should have the flexibility of separating meat from bones and slicing through cartilages and joints.

A set of steak knives

Steak knives are intended for slicing thin cuts from large chunks of steak and other cooked meats.

These knives are thin and feature ultra-sharp cutting edges that allow for precise and accurate cuts with minimal effort.

Besides having them in your kitchen, you should also have a sharpener and honing steel.

A knife sharpener helps in refreshing a blade’s sharpness whenever it becomes dull, while the homing steel helps in straightening the cutting edge to reinforce its sharpness.

A bonus tip

It would help if you never washed your kitchen blades in a dishwasher.

Instead, use a soft towel and a mild detergent to wash your blades by hand gently.


With these knives, it becomes possible to tackle a wide range of cutting, slicing, dicing, and chopping tasks in the kitchen.

These are standard blades that do not require any special handling.

As such, the blades are perfect for use by everyone, from pros to amateurs and beginners.

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.