When an upcoming Masterchef like yourself selects a kitchen knife, it's important to know what you'll be using it for. Do you need a knife for meat, for cutting vegetables, or a versatile all-purpose knife? While a chef's knife is a must-have tool for any home cook, knowing how to use it correctly for cooking techniques like paring, peeling, and carving.

What are the most important kitchen knives?

For those seeking an efficient toolkit with limited space and budget, it is recommended to possess a Chef's knife, a Paring Knife, and a Serrated Knife. These three types of knives can cover a broad range of food preparation tasks, from dicing onions to peeling potatoes, and even carving through tough meats, French loaves, and stubborn tomatoes.

For more specialized tasks, such as carving, boning, and filleting, a knife block collection may be the more comprehensive option, as it provides a knife for every food group and is often equipped with a sharpening steel. Alternatively, some home cooks may opt for a high-end knife that can perform all tasks, such as the Santoku.

What is a Santoku knife?

Santoku (三徳包丁 ), roughly translating as ‘three uses’ or ‘three virtues’ in Japanese, is the perfect multipurpose knife for those looking for a culinary investment that can slice, dice and carve without congesting their countertop.

Visual twin to the better known Chef Knife, the key distinction between Santoku and Chef is in the non-stick indentations running along the Santoku blade that prevent food adhesion when preparing ingredients. If you want one knife that can play the key roles without breaking the bank however, a robust Chef Knife will suffice.

Aside from kitchen knife uses and functions, there are some other key elements to consider when selecting your toolbox.

How to care for your knives?

Taking good care of your knives is important whether you're a seasoned chef or just starting out. If you cook frequently, it's recommended to opt for dishwasher safe steel knives, which can save you time and effort. For those who prioritise practicality over culinary experimentation, non-stick stainless steel knives with a food-grade coating can provide a cost-effective and convenient option, especially for daily use.

Investing in a good knife set depends on how long you want your knives to last. Keep in mind that daily use can take a toll on any knife, but certain steel types are more conducive to sharpening than others. So, it's important to consider your culinary needs before investing in premium forged steel knives.

Whether you're a beginner or an expert, there's a suitable knife (set) available for everyone. Take some time to think about your culinary intentions and choose the right knives that will make your cooking experience enjoyable and efficient.