Knife Shapes

 

Petty: Often called paring or utility knife, the petty knife is made for smaller cutting tasks. An indispensable tool in any knife kit, it excels at cutting herbs, slicing garlic, dicing shallots, peeling fruit & veg, and even boning certain cuts of meat or breaking down poultry. Petty knives can vary in size (75mm -210mm) and shape.

 

Santoku: A well-rounded knife that can carry out a lot of cutting tasks. Santoku translates to “3 problems”, the 3 problems in this case are slicing, dicing, and mincing, think of it as a cross between a Gyuto (chef knife) and Nakiri (veg knife). Generally short in length, 160mm-190mm, the santoku is a superb knife if space is an issue.

 

Nakiri: A double bevel knife designed specifically for taking care of vegetable prep. Nakiri’s are quite recognizable by their flat profile and squared off nose, which aid in the push/pull chopping style. Generally these knives are ground quite thin for refined chopping.

 

Gyuto: A general purpose knife that most chefs would say they could not do without, it is the Japanese knife makers answer to the western “chef knife”. Gyuto translates to “cow blade”. They are generally tall at the heel, flat throughout, and rounded toward the tip of the knife for rock chopping.

 

Sujihiki: Simply means “slicer”. Designed to make slicing meat as effortless as possible, the short height and generally thin blade on the Sujihiki are intended for the user to make a slice with one clean motion.

 

Deba: This would be the first knife a sushi chef would reach for at the start of each day. Traditionally the deba is a single bevel knife, designed specifically for fish butchery. It is also quite adept to other butcher jobs as well, try breaking down some chickens when you first get it, you’ll thank me. Deba translates to “short fat tooth” which resembles a shark’s tooth….pretty rad I’d say! Once you use a deba you will ask yourself, why have I not owned one of these until now?

 

Honesuki: A Japanese boning knife, traditionally single bevel, it is designed to make breaking down poultry a breeze. A very rigid knife, it is meant to cut through the joints of birds.

 

Bread: Really…..do you need an explanation? Ok, not meant for slicing tomatoes, herbs, or meat. Bread, you slice bread with it!!

 

Boning knives: These come in various shapes and rigidness, and are designed for cleaning bone in proteins.

 

Usuba: Single bevel vegetable knife. Think nakiri sharpened only on one side. Used for refined vegetable work. If you have ever watched the original Iron Chef TV show, then chances are you have seen someone prepping long sheets of radish or other veg using a Usuba.

 

Bunka: A cross between a santoku and nakiri, the bunka excels in veg prep where push/pull chopping is used.

 

Ko-Bunka: A small version of the bunka, I like to call these little beauties shallot slayers.

 

Kiritsuke: A general-purpose knife traditionally reserved for the head chef, these knives have become popular in western kitchens. Slice meat, chiffonade herbs, chop veg, this knife does it all.

 

A fillet knife (also called a filleting knife) is a kitchen knife used for filleting. It gives good control and aids in filleting. It is very flexible boning knives that are used to filet and prepare fish.

 

A cleaver (Japanese: クリーバー) is a large knife that varies in its shape but usually resembles a rectangular-bladed hatchet. It is largely used as a kitchen or butcher knife intended for hacking through bone. The knife’s broad side can also be used for crushing in food preparation (such as garlic).

 

YANIGIBA: A SINGLE BEVEL KNIFE USED FOR SLICING RAW FISH. GENERALLY VERY THIN FOR PRECISION KNIFE WORK, IT IS DESIGNED FOR THE PULL CUTTING TECHNIQUE USED BY SUSHI CHEFS. THE SINGLE BEVEL DESIGN ALLOWS THE KNIFE TO GLIDE THROUGH FOOD DISTURBING AS LITTLE PROTEIN MOLECULES AS POSSIBLE, RESULTING IN SHINY SLICES OF FOOD PERFECT FOR RAW PRESENTATION.

 

CHINESE VEG CLEAVER: A FAVOURITE KNIFE UTILIZED HEAVILY AMONG CHINESE CHEFS. THEY TEND TO BE QUITE LARGE FOR JULLIENNE PUSH/PULL STYLE CHOPPING THAT YOU WOULD SEE WITH STIR-FRY VEGETABLE PREP. THEY ARE VERY HANDY FOR SMASHING GARLIC AND OTHER QUICK JOBS ON THE CUTTING BOARD. DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY THE SIZE, THEY ARE A JOY TO USE.