Types of Knives for Commercial Kitchen Restaurants

If you're operating a restaurant or any type of establishment with a commercial kitchen, there's no question that your kitchen needs to be stocked with the proper selection and quantity of knives.

However, there are many different types of knives that are suited to specific purposes within the kitchen, and it's not always easy to know which particular knife is best to use in a given situation.

This article will discuss the most common commercial kitchen knife styles, but first, let's take a look at the various components of kitchen knives and the manner in which these knives are constructed.


A Lesson in Knife Anatomy

It shouldn't come as a surprise that all knives come with a handle and blade - but things do get more specific from there. The knife handle, also referred to as the scales, provides for an easy grip.

The butt is the bottom end of the knife handle, while the tang is an extension of the metal blade that juts through the handle and balances the blade and handle together. Turning to the blade, the heel is at the back portion and is best utilized for cutting thick or tougher food products that require greater force.

The edge is the sharp part of the blade that does the cutting, extending from the heel to the tip. The tip is the front portion of the blade that does most of the cutting and can be rounded or pointed. Rounded tips are suited for slicing thinly, pointed tips are suited for cutting small portions.

The spine is located opposite of the edge on the blade, while the point is found at the very top end of the blade.


How Commercial Kitchen Knives are Constructed

Commercial kitchen knives are constructed through one of two processes - either forging or stamping. Forged blade knives initially take shape from heated, compressed steel under a drop hammer that is later refined through a grinding and honing process that results in the final shape and edge of the knife.

Stamped blade knives are initially cut by a hydraulic press from a flat sheet of steel, followed by a similar grinding and honing process. Comparing the two types of knives, forged blade knives are generally thicker, more durable, stronger, and more expensive.

Most commercial kitchen knives are typically constructed from high-carbon stainless steel (VG-10, 420HC and 440C) that contribute to edge-retention, sharpness and durability.


Best Knife for Cutting Meat

There are many different types of commercial kitchen knives, each designed for a specific purpose. For instance, the best knife for cutting meat won't be the same knife as the best knife for cutting vegetables.

Speaking of which, a meat carving knife is best suited for slicing thin cuts of meat such as poultry, hams and roasts, while its pointed tip is excellent for cutting along a board. Meantime, a meat slicing knife is generally longer than the meat carving knife and its straight blade is best suited for slicing cooked meats and large fish.

The chef's knife, or cook's knife, is the chopping knife most commonly found in commercial kitchens. This chopping knife is commonly found in lengths ranging from eight to twelve inches with a wide symmetrical blade that culminates in a tapered point.

The boning knife can be equipped with a flexible, semi-flexible, or stiff blade. Boning knife uses will depend upon the degree of flexibility within the blade, with flexible blades typically utilized for boning roasts, hams and leg of lamb or veal.

Semi-flexible boning knives are used for cutting close to the bone, while stiff boning knives offer the most precision. Finally, the cleaver, with its long wide blade, easily chops and cuts thick meat and bone.


Best Knife for Cutting Vegetables

When it comes to cutting fruits and vegetables, the paring knife is a small but extremely versatile utility knife that comes in several varieties, any of which can function as an excellent vegetable knife.

Spear point paring knife uses range from peeling fruits and vegetables to cutting beans to removing corn from a cob. Sheep's Foot paring knife uses include chopping and julienning vegetables and fruits with its rounded tip on a cutting board.

The Bird's Beak paring knife is a curved knife best suited for peeling round fruits. The Nakiri knife is best utilized for cutting razor-thin slices of seedless vegetables.


The Curved Knife

The butcher knife, which is one of the best knives for cutting meat, is also a curved knife. Its wide, heavy, curved blade is well suited for cutting and trimming large sections of meat.

The breaking knife is similar to the butcher knife, with a somewhat narrower and smaller curved blade that is effective at breaking large cuts of meats into smaller pieces.

The breaking knife is widely used for trimming fat and cutting through tougher sections of meat that may include cartilage and small bones.

The cimeter is also somewhat similar to the butcher knife and breaking knife, with an upwardly curved blade that cuts and trims steaks effectively. Finally, the bread knife will often feature a slightly curved blade with a serrated edge that is well suited for cutting bread and fruits with hard rinds.


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