Essential Kitchen Knives for Catering

If you're setting up a catering business, you`ll have a great deal of equipment to buy. Whilst it`s relatively easy to pick out a dishwasher, sink and catering fridge, some pieces of equipment take a little bit more research. Kitchen knives are one of these essentials and it pays to spend a little time getting to know the market and trying out knives yourself to see which ones suit you best. There are a number of factors to bear in mind, particularly the balance between budget and quality.

Remember that a really good kitchen knife should last for years if it is properly looked after, so investing in a good set of knives should pay off. Cheap knives not only have a shorter lifespan, but they can be dangerous. Whilst it is true that there is a knife for almost every task in the kitchen, some chefs maintain there are only three knives you actually need, if you know how to use them properly. To take a central position, here we look at your most basic knife requirements and why each knife is important.

Chef's Knife
The `Chef`s Knife` will become your closest companion in the kitchen. It`s a hardworking knife which is used for most tasks, such as dicing, slicing, cutting meat and chopping herbs. Heavier knives are chosen for heavier work, but many chefs find an 8" knife one of the most versatile, since it is small enough to manoeuvre delicately, yet heavy enough for tougher tasks, such as cutting up root vegetables and meat. You can prepare almost all your food with this one knife, so make sure you choose wisely and take time to find the chef`s knife that is most comfortable and balanced in your hand.

Serrated Slicer
This is great for slicing delicate items such as bread and cakes. It`s also the best choice for cutting soft items such as tomatoes and citrus fruits. Due to its extra length, it is also good for cutting up quiche, pies and tarts. Choose an 8-10" knife, depending on preference. Some chefs prefer the larger size for cutting bread in particular.

Paring Knife
This knife is used for jobs that need precision and a lighter touch. It`s used for peeling, deveining prawns and shrimp, cutting citrus into sections, coring apples and slicing tomatoes. It`s ideal for cutting smaller, more delicate fruits, such as strawberries and plums, as it doesn`t damage the flesh of the fruit as it cuts. Use a paring knife on anything that the Chef`s knife would be too long for. A 3.5   5" paring knife is the most common choice. Look for a slightly flexible blade, which can help when using the knife in tight places.

Filleting Knife
This is a thin-bladed knife with plenty of flexibility, used for filleting, deboning and skinning fish. The length and flexibility of the blade allows it to follow the contours of a fish when filleting, which helps with accuracy and a stylish, uniform finish.

Cleaver
The cleaver is a really useful helpmate in a busy kitchen. It`s a big, heavy knife with a large blade and some serious weight behind it. It`s an essential for cutting through bones or sinew when prepping meat and also for butterflying chicken or chopping up large joints of meat. Its weight makes it ideal for chopping solid vegetables such as swede, squash, pumpkins and beets. It`s a great knife for fine chopping herbs with minimum effort. The weight of the cleaver takes the grind out of kitchen tasks. You`ll be surprised how often you`ll use it.

These are just some of the knives you might decide to purchase when setting up a new catering company. Online companies such as cs-catering-equipment.co.uk and other quality sites, have a wide range of knives for you to consider. Most sites have a wide range of prices, so you can consider your budget and buy accordingly.