Early Man’s greatest invention after the fire was probably the discovery that a rock could be shaped, carved and used to make hunting and cooking easier. Today, a kitchen without knives is an oxymoron; it simply wouldn’t be possible. Knives are what come to define a chef and his work in many cases. Of no surprise, then, that sometimes the selection of kitchen knives while planning a commercial kitchen can be daunting. But we’re here to give you the lowdown as commercial kitchen planners. Commercial kitchen design and planning guides to everything you need to know about kitchen knives.
Knives were originally more spear-like in the days of early man and were primarily used as hunting tools. With the invention of knives, the early man went from the near bottom of the food chain to becoming apex predators. Man still used to eat with his hands at the table, however, and there wasn’t much that they cooked.
It was many many years after early man, with the advent of early civilizations, that knives started to become smaller, easier to use, and a common household object. The discovery of metals also contributed significantly to easier production of knives in early industrial kitchens and blacksmith workshops. Handles were developed so that one could grip the knife without effort. These handles would often dictate the class of knife used and the person it was being made for.
And from here onwards, different styles of blades and points were developed for different styles of cooking. Knives silently became synonymous with the kitchen, the paintbrush of every great chef that stepped into those tiled floors.
The parts of a knife:
One might see this instrument as a simple blade and handle, but there’s a lot that goes into a knife. Some knives actually take days of work before being finally assembled into a sharp instrument of glory. The average time to make a professional Santoku knife can be anywhere from 15 to 20 hours, getting all parts of the knife right. In the case of Damascus Steel, the highly sought after steel specially for blades, forging, and crafting takes up to a week.
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Here’s a rundown on all the parts of a knife:
- Point: The sharpest tip of a knife, often used in scoring food and poking through food.
- Blade: The elongated part that we are usually familiar with, the blade’s characteristics come to define what sort of knife you have. This usually means the size of the blade, its shape, and so on.
- Edge: The sharpened part of the blade is its edge. This is the part that always comes in contact with a sharpening stone or the material you’re cutting.
- Spine: The upper straight side of the knife is called the spine. This gives your blade strength and some weight usually.
- Heel: This part of the blade is used when you’re cutting through strong material like meat or tough vegetables.
- Tang: The part of the blade that connects it to the handle is called the tang, an underrated part of any blade.
- Handle: As with all knives, the handle is the part that chefs hold/grip while cooking. Handles are also extremely underrated; you need a good handle to ensure a good strong and most importantly clean cut without slips and damage to your hand.
Now that you have a basic idea of what goes into all knives, here’s a broad selection of knives you cannot do without in a commercial kitchen. These are the same recommendations that a commercial kitchen planner could help you with.
- Chef’s Knife: The de facto blade of choice for every cook in the kitchen is a chef’s knife. These knives are versatile, chop nicely, and last longer too. They have a broad blade that allows a broad edge so you can also cut more of the produce. You can use a chef’s knife to cut, chop, slice, mince, and score things. They are easy to wield when compared to smaller knives and get the job done faster. The downside is that they might be more expensive than smaller knives.
- Paring Knife: Paring knives are more delicate knives that are used when handling seafood or vegetables that need some level of attention, but they are still very much allrounder knives. Think of paring knives as smaller chef’s knives.
- Cleaver: For the hardcore that needs to constantly chop vegetables and meats every day, a cleaver is a chef’s knife and then some. Cleavers are bulky, sharp, and unforgiving in the kitchen.
- Serrated knives: These knives come with serrations or cuts on the edge of the blade. These are especially useful for cutting through bread or hard substances like packaging.
Whether it’s simple kitchen equipment or large scale commercial kitchen planning, HPG can help you get on the right path to growing a successful commercial kitchen operation.