Ask Evan: What Knives Are Essential For Home Cooks?

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Every week I answer a question from a Good Food listener. You can email me a question, leave one on Facebook or add one in the comments section here. This week’s came from Eron:

I’m writing a blog post about my ordeal trying to learn enough to buy my first nice chef’s knife. But in the process of researching, I’ve run across so many ridiculous samurai-tinged myths and material-siences-PhD-speak that I got to thinking — What specific chef’s knives actually get used in restaurant kitchens?

Good question.  First of all, never buy a set.  As with pots and pans you end up using two or three all the time and the rest almost never.  I find that my most often used knives are the following:  A traditional European shaped chef’s knife; I prefer an 8 to 10 inch knife.  Santoku chef knives are great too, it just depends on your cutting style in the kitchen.  Then I love an expensive artisan produced high carbon steel utility knife that I use constantly and my  paring knives (I keep three in rotation, but to be honest I use the inexpensive plastic handled ones).  Those are my everyday knives.  Then I have two boning knives (one stiff, one flexible) that I use but be realistic.  If you don’t see yourself boning out chickens or filleting fish then don’t bother.  In my opinion everyone needs a long blade serrated knife.  Don’t forget a good steel to keep the knives straight and the edge in good condition.  I still use the carbon steel knives I inherited from my father that he used in the navy and old Sabatier’s that I bought at flea markets in France.