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Knife set culinary school: these knives are a must

It is step one for any chef in training: a good knife. But what type of knife? We believe that a good basic knife set is comprised of four knives. A chef's knife, a paring knife, a bread knife and a carving knife. Each knife that is added to that range is an addition.

Let's start at the beginning: the chef's knife

A chef's knife is absolutely indispensable. With a chef's knife you can basically cut it all. Vegetables, meat and fish: it will be a piece of cake. But also finely chopping herbs, crushing pepper corns and peeling cloves of garlic is easy with this all-rounder. As a chef in training we recommend starting with a forged chef's knife with a 20 cm blade. Like, for instance, one of these:

You can also go with the Japanese version of the chef's knife: a santoku. The word Santoku means: three qualities. According to some, this refers to the cutting, crushing and scooping qualities that the santoku is known for. Others say it stands for meat, fish and vegetables. We know one thing for sure: a santoku is an incredibly versatile kitchen knife, perfect when cutting, crushing and scooping meat, fish and vegetables. Please note: a santoku requires a different cutting technique than a chef's knife. Read all about the differences between a chef's knife and a santoku in our infotopic: 'Chef's knife vs Santoku: the differences’.

The perfect addition: a paring knife

Each set should contain a paring knife. Paring knives are small, practical knives with a blade length of (approximately) 7 to 11 cm. The shape is narrow and pointed with a straight edge and looks like a small chef’s knife. You use them for the finer cutting and peeling work. They are, however, also great when decorating and garnishing a dish. Perhaps the most underestimated kitchen knife and definitely indispensable.

Think of the serrations: a bread knife

A bread knife is a long, serrated knife that is used to cut all types of bread. From hard to soft crusts, from soft buns to baguettes. But did you know that a bread knife can also be used to cut pies and cake. And that a bread knife can easily cut through hard vegetables and fruit such as melons, pumpkins and celeriac? So, secretly it is also a universal knife that shouldn't be missing from your set.

To complete the whole: a carving knife

You use a carving knife to cut pieces of meat. The blade of a carving knife is thinner and slimmer than the blade of a chef's knife. As such you can accurately get to work. The length of the blade of a carving knife is between 15 and 25 cm. If you are a chef in training we recommend a carving knife with a blade length between 16 and 20 cm.

Please note: you only use a carving knife to cut boneless meat. If you want to cut meat that still contains the bones you need another knife. Because of the hard bone, pieces of the blade can break off. For these tasks you should use a cleaver.

Of course there are other knives for all these tasks that will function a little better. But those knives can often only do just that while you can use a chef's knife, paring knife, bread knife and carving knife for almost anything.

We believe these four knives are the perfect set when you start culinary school. Will you carry out more specific cutting tasks? Think of expanding your set with a boning knife, filleting knife or turning knife.


Once you have found the perfect knives you want to make sure they retain their sharpness. That is why we will give you a couple of tips. Only use cutting boards made from wood or plastic, immediately wash your knives after use and dry them properly! Safely transport your knives. Use, for instance, a knife bag or knife roll.

Want to learn more about maintaining your kitchen knives. You will read all about it in our extensive info-topic: 'how do you maintain a kitchen knife?'


In time each knife will become blunt, no matter how well you take care of it. That is when you should sharpen your knife. A tip: It is easier to keep a reasonably sharp knife sharp than to sharpen a blunt knife. That is why most culinary schools recommend a honing steel or ceramic sharpening steel for daily maintenance.

For the larger maintenance jobs we advise sharpening stones, a pull-through sharpener or a sharpening system. Whichever tool suits your style best. And we will, of course, give you all information you might need. After all, you can easily sharpen your kitchen knives yourself!

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