Mark my words, you will collect many kitchen knife types with many specialized functions during your life as a gourmet cook. No matter how many knives you have, it seems you are always happening upon something new and different, the latest thing in knives, and you just have to have it.

But that comes later. Right now what you need to focus on is how to put together a great set of basic kitchen knife types, a basic set to support you in your efforts to become a gourmet cook.

The following list includes the most basic, and indispensable, kitchen knives and sharpening equipment . . .

Kitchen Knife TypesFrench or Chef’s Knife

This is an all purpose knife used for chopping, slicing, and mincing. The blade is usually 8 to 14 inches long and its shape is wide at the heel and tapers to a point at the tip. If you were to buy 1 good kitchen knife type, I think it should be a Chef’s knife.

My absolute favorite knives are Wusthof!

Utility Kitchen Knife TypeUtility Knife – This knife is used for cutting fruits and vegetables and carving poultry. The blade is usually 6-8 inches long and is shaped like a chef’s knife but narrower.

Boning Kitchen Knife TypeBoning Knife – This knife is used to separate meat from bone. The blade is usually 5 to 7 inches long and may be flexible or rigid.

Paring Kitchen Knife TypeParing Knife-This knife is short and used for detail work or cutting fruits and vegetables. The blade is 2 to 4 inches long.

Cleaver Kitchen Knife TypeCleaver-This knife has a large and heavy rectangular blade and is used for chopping or cutting through bones.

Bread Slicer Knife TypeSlicer – This knife has a long, thin blade and is used for slicing cooked meat. The tip can be round or pointed, and the blade may be flexible or rigid. A slicer with a serrated edge is used for slicing bread or pastry items. Bread slicer shown.

Butcher Kitchen Knife TypeButcher Knife – This knife is sometimes known as a scimitar because the rigid blade curves up in a 25 degree angle at the tip. It is used for fabricating raw meat.

Clam Kitchen Knife TypeOyster and Clam Knives – On these knives, the tip is blunt and only the clam knife has a sharp edge. They are used to open oyster and clam shells. Clam knife shown.

Kitchen Knife Sharpening StoneSharpening Stone – This is also known as the whetstone. These are used to put an edge on a dull blade. The most practical sets include both coarse and fine grit stones. A dull knife is very dangerous. Always keep your knives sharp.

Kitchen Knife Sharpening SteelSteel – A slightly abrasive steel rod used to straighten a blade after and between sharpenings.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the basic kitchen knife types available, and which ones might be right for you.