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Kitchen Knife Basics

These are every cook's top three: the knives no one can slice without.

Photography by: Mike Krautter

Most meal preparation can be accomplished with just three knives: a serrated knife, a chef’s knife, and a paring knife. Of these three, the chef’s knife is most essential -- it can handle a large range of cutting jobs. If your culinary endeavors become more advanced, consider purchasing specialty tools, such as a cleaver or a boning knife. To ensure the best performance, sharpen your knives every three to six months. Invest in a whetstone, or take the knives to a professional sharpener.

Serrated Knife

The scalloped-edge “teeth” easily slice through soft foods, such as bread and tomatoes.

Chef’s Knife

Chop, mince, and slice vegetables, fruits, and herbs with this kitchen workhorse.

Paring Knife

A short blade allows for precise trimming, coring, and peeling.


Now watch how to slice, dice, and julienne: