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3 Essential Kitchen Knives

By Jeremie Plane


The most frequently asked question is "What knives should I have in the kitchen?" To be honest, the knives you need in your kitchen are based on what you enjoy cooking. This article presents what, according to us, seems essential for a good start.

It's good to know that when a knife is expensive, you are paying for the quality of the material, especially the steel, which often translates to the blade holding its edge well. In general, it's better to have a few high-quality knives than a cheap 12-piece knife set. Although the set will make you feel like you've saved a lot of money, however, in the long run most of the knives will go unused and the few knives you actually use won't last long. The rule of thumb for buying knives is that quality comes before quantity.

GYUTO: The Chef Knife

The Gyuto is the Japanese equivalent of the chef knife, nimble and well-balanced for a comfortable grip, able to cut anything except bones and frozen food. A hybrid between a Japanese and a German blade profile, the slightly curved belly allows a rocking motion for effortless chopping and mincing, while the lowered tip makes precision work easier.

Gyuto, which means “beef knife” in English, is a perfect tool for cutting meat into pieces (without the bones). It is also effective for slicing herbs or cutting vegetables.


Chef knives come in a variety of sizes. They range in size from 14 to 30 centimetres (5 to 12 inches), but the most common size is 20 centimetres (8 inches). Chef knives have a long, wide, and sharp blade that is designed for chopping, slicing, mincing, and dicing. They are usually made of high-carbon stainless steel, which provides a good balance of sharpness and durability. 

KOTAI's Recommendations:

Chef knives are versatile kitchen tools that can be used for a wide range of tasks. We recommend that you purchase a full tang knife, where the blade extends completely into the handle, right to the end. You will feel a perfect balance when holding such knives.

A full tang knife is more robust and lasts longer than a half tang. You should also consider buying a knife with a good weight, as it will be easier for you to cut fruits and vegetables with touch skin, such as butternut squash or pumpkin. The weight also prevents wrist injuries, especially for professional chefs who spend hours preparing food. 

KOTAI’s chef knife (Gyuto), 20 cm blade is forged with Japanese 440C high-carbon stainless steel that will stay sharp up to 10 times longer than other knives. 440C combines a high carbon content for hardness and edge retention with the optimal amount of chromium for corrosion resistance.

PARING KNIFE : The Peeling Knife

A paring knife is a small, versatile kitchen tool that can be used for a wide range of tasks, including mincing garlic and herbs, peeling and slicing fruits and vegetables, and even removing the eyes from potatoes. These knives have a sharp, pointed blade that is usually 8 to 10 centimetres (3 to 4 inches) long. They are designed to be held in the hand, allowing for greater control and precision when working with small items. Paring knives are an essential tool for any home cook or professional chef, as they make it easy to prepare ingredients quickly and efficiently. 


There are three main shapes for paring knives:

Bird's Beak: Shaped like a “Toucan” beak - It is used for peeling, trimming and doing finer work that most home cooks don't have to worry about.

Spearhead: Has a classic shape that you see in many stores. It is essentially a miniature version of the chef's knife; it can be used for many tasks such as cleaning, shaping, peeling and other delicate jobs.

Sheep's Foot: Is a straight blade, making it suitable for straight intricate cuts like julienne ginger.

KOTAI’s Recommendations:

Paring knives are made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, high carbon steel, ceramic, and even Damascus steel; however, most chefs prefer a high carbon steel to the other material. 

KOTAI’s paring knife is a hybrid between a “sheep’s foot” and a “spear tip”. Its blade edge is mostly flat, allowing great precision and easy peeling, while its tip is slightly pointed for intricate coring tasks. KOTAI offers the paring knife, 9 cm blade in two collections, Pakka and Bunka. 

The handles of Pakka paring knife, 9 cm blade are made of a solid piece of black pakkawood, a stabilized wood ideal for its grip, water resistance, lack of splinters and ability to age well. The hand-polished, round handles ensure a firm and comfortable grip, even with wet hands, for right-handed and left-handed chefs.

Just like the Pakka paring knife, the Bunka paring knife, 9 cm blade has a small blade with a flat profile; however its tips are different, with an “inverted Tanto profile” or “K-tip” for the Bunka version. The signature octagonal handle is made of ebony wood, a beautiful dark natural wood famous for its hardness and ability to age well.

To explore our entire range of Pakka and Bunka collections, please visit our boutique

SERRATED KNIFE: To Cut Soft and Delicate Items

Serrated edge bread knives are suitable for fruits and vegetables with a more waxy surface or anything with a hard exterior and a soft interior such as bread, roast meat, watermelon, tomatoes, cakes, etc. Indeed, the serrated bread knife can cut through the outside without damaging the inside.


It is important to note that serrated knives should only be used for slicing. You need to use a sawing motion that allows the teeth of the blade to grab and cut the ingredient, which is one reason why the serrated knife is not suitable for small ingredients. This knife also lets you apply less pressure when cutting because the serrated edge does the work for you.

KOTAI’s Recommendations:

Many factors go into determining what is a good serrated knife and what is not.

There are serrated knives that have a razor-sharp tip, while others are more rounded. You should also consider the depth of the gap between the teeth, which will also influence the grip you will have; the deeper the slot, the greater the surface area, giving you more grip. As a rule of thumb, choose a model with a relatively small amount of razor-sharp teeth and deep slots between them. 

Kotai’s serrated bread knife, 20 cm blade, is an ideal if you’re trying to cut food with a hard crust without squashing the delicate inside. Crusty bread, tomatoes, roasts, watermelon or pineapple, whatever you throw at it, the Kotai bread knife will make neat slices of it, thanks to its serrated blade.


A fish fillet knife features a flexible blade that can bend and contour to the shape of the fish or meat being filleted. Its pointed tip is meant for precise cuts and maneuvering around bones. It is frequently used to remove bones and skins from fish.


Fillet knives tend to be flexible, thin, and have a relatively short, narrow blade, which can help create a more precise cut needed for delicate tasks like cutting and filleting fish. This kind is ideal for fish because it allows better mobility.

KOTAI’s Recommendations:

For fillet knives, it is important to choose a quality knife because a bad knife can waste meat and make cutting much slower and more frustrating. The best material is a high quality stainless steel (which will not tarnish) with full protrusion, which allows for balance and increases control and stability. The length of the blade generally varies from 10 to 23 cm; the shorter end of the spectrum is suitable for smaller fish, while the longer blades are better suited to filleting large fish. This type of knife is commonly used for removing fish bones and skins. Most chefs recommend a 15-20 cm blade, as one is likely to be dealing with smaller fish.

KOTAI’s fillet knife, 20 cm blade, features a thin, long and flexible blade which moves easily along the backbone and under the skin of fish. Boning and removing skin from meat is easier, too, thanks to the narrow blade that reduces drag as it cuts against fibrous tissue. The blade’s unique flexibility ensures maximum yield, meaning more food with less waste.


In conclusion, having a chef knife, paring knife, and serrated knife in your kitchen is essential for any home cook or professional chef. These three knives, each with their own unique function, will allow you to tackle any cutting or slicing task with ease and precision.

  • A chef knife is great for chopping and slicing
  • A paring knife is perfect for peeling and trimming
  • A serrated knife is ideal for slicing through tough or delicate foods.

Investing in high-quality knives will not only make your time in the kitchen more efficient, but it will also make cooking more enjoyable. With the right tools, you can create delicious meals with confidence and ease. KOTAI offers you a wide range of knives to make your life easy in the kitchen.

News: We are soon going to introduce our new collection of Damascus knives, designed for the professional chef and home cook. The Damascus blade is forged from 67 layers of steel and has an
exceptional cutting life, while benefiting from increased durability and resistance to chipping. Get
ready to elevate your cooking game with our upcoming knife collection.
Available for pre-order now!