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Knife thoughts for starting culinary school

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I've done some reading and think I've got a "starter" list of cutlery to get. I'd appreciate some input if possible. My thoughts on the list would be:


10" chef

6-7" utility

10" bread

6" Petty(is this needed if you have a utility of the same length, or is this better?)

3" paring



From what I've read, a fillet is not as necessarily common for beginning culinary students?



As far as brand goes, I was originally leaning towards a ceramic approach but figured trying to lessen sharpening practice isn't necessarily the best road to travel if you're actually trying to learn all of the trade. I hear they are quite fragile, as well which, may not be the best thing at a culinary school. I'm now looking at MAC. I have a friend that has a chef and paring still brand new in the box that he'd sell me for a nice discount. Is there any benefit to buying a couple of different brands to round out the list? Maybe to get a feel for different brands?

post #2 of 3

Chef's Knife - Invaluable. Invest in a good one that you are completely comfortable with, even if it means you have to hold off buying some of the other knives for a while. 10" is somewhat long for a beginner's knife, I would suggest an 8". I would highly recommend going to an actual store and getting your hands on a few different knives to get a feel for what works for you. Everyone is different. Some prefer lighter knives, some heavier. Some prefer longer blades, others shorter. German vs Japanese style, etc... The only way to figure this out for yourself is to get your hands on them. Get a "feel" for them, including your friend's MAC.


Utility Knife - I never use one. They could probably be useful for butchering or some fine cutting/carving, but I pretty much go to my chef's knife for everything. Put at bottom of your priority list IMO.


Bread Knife - Offset serrated knives are also extremely useful for other things besides bread. Try peeling fruit or slicing tomatoes. Don't waste money on a "name brand" one. I buy one or two every year for $10-$15 a piece and just throw them away after they begin to dull. Worth investing in, and because they are relatively cheap, getting one shouldn't be a problem.


Petty - I think if you have a utility knife already, there is no point to having this. Similar to the utility, put on very low priority.


Pairing - I slmost never use one but keep one on hand because they are cheap. I don't see the point of buying an expensive one unless you are doing some very intricate garnish work on a regular basis. Buy a cheap one and then decide if you need a better one for your particular needs.


What works for me may not work for you. As you acquire and familiarize yourself with your knives, you should begin to form more solid preferences and expectations for future purchases..

post #3 of 3
If you have a bed bath and beyond near you, they sell wonderful knife sets. Try there ft. Also when buying a knife, high carbon steel knives are the best! J Henckles knives are a good place to start. Not the most expensive, but not the cheapest either.
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