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3 essential kitchen knives

par Jeremie Plane

Here's the question : Which knives are in my kitchen? To be honest, knives that you probably will need in your kitchen are based on how you’re actually cooking. This article introduces, for us Kotai team, which knives are the most relevant to get an essential starter set?

It is good to know when a knife is expensive, you pay for the material quality, particularly the steel, that is translated by the sharpness of the blade. In general, it's better to have a few high-quality knives than a set of 12 cheap knives. Although the set gives you the impression to be fully equipped and save money, most of the knives will be useless and some of them won’t last long. The basic rule for buying knives is that quality takes over quantity.


Very versatile, this knife is frequently used by renowned chefs as a tool of choice. It is probably one of the most used knives in the kitchen. It is primarily used for chopping, but you can use it for slicing and, dicing… Fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.

Characteristics :

A chef's knife usually has a blade length of 15cm or 25cm. There is no perfect size; it all depends on how comfortable you are with it. It's worth investing in a high-quality chef's knife because you use it 80% of the time.  

KOTAI recommandations :

We recommend that you buy a full blade, i.e. one whose steel covers the entire length of the handle. When holding, you will first achieve perfect balance.

They are sturdier and last longer than partial blade knives. You should also consider buying a knife with a good weight, as it will be easier for you to cut through firmer fruits and vegetables, such as butternut squash and pumpkin. The weight also helps prevent wrist injuries, especially for professional chefs who spend hours preparing food.


More commonly known as the paring knife is a small all-purpose knife that cuts and chops small foods. You should use this knife for delicate and intricate tasks, such as peeling fruits and vegetables, deveining shrimp, removing seeds, and cutting smaller garnishes.

Characteristics :

For paring knives, there are three main shapes:

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's basically a miniature version of the chef's knife; it can be used for many tasks like cleaning, shaping, peeling and other delicate work.

Sheep's foot : is a straight blade, which makes it good for straight cuts like julienned ginger.

KOTAI recommendations:

Like any knife, they are made from different materials; however, most chefs choose to purchase a high carbon steel option. Whatever the material, a paring knife must withstand wear and tear. The size of the blade varies from about 6 to 10 cm. In general, cooks with smaller hands feel more comfortable with a smaller paring knife. 


Serrated 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, etc. This is because the serrated knife can cut through the exterior without damaging the interior.

Characteristics :

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 allows you to apply less pressure when cutting because the serrated edge does the work for you.

KOTAI 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 also need to consider the depth of the gap between the teeth, which will also influence the grip you will have; the deeper the slot, the larger the surface area, giving you more grip. As a general rule, choose a model with a relatively small amount of razor-sharp teeth and deep slots between them.


This type of knife is frequently used to remove bones and skins from fish.

Characteristics :

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

KOTAI recommandations :

For filet 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 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 fileting large fish. Most chefs recommend a 6-8 inch blade, as you'll likely be dealing with smaller fish.