Double Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc shares with us his kitchen essentials.
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Most modern knives are made of hard, high carbon stainless steel sharpened to a very keen edge. They will retain their sharp edge for a long period. Good European knives have a 'taper grind' where the back of the knife is thick at the handle and becomes steadily thinner up to the point of the blade. This taper acts like a wedge to split tough foods apart as the cutting edge slices through it.

Granton Edge

The pattern of hollows ground into the blade is known as a "Granton Edge" (first patented by Granton of Sheffield in 1886). The hollows reduce friction between blade and food making slicing cleaner, easier and neater. Granton edges are commonly found on carving knives, Santoku knives and some cooks knives.


The bolster connects the handle to the blade. This block of metal provides strength and balance and defines the handling of the knife. The contoured shape at the back of the blade is called the 'Web'. This makes the knife more comfortable to handle when cutting into food using a forward stroke.


Most knife handles are made from strong synthetic materials or stainless steel - both are hygienic and comfortable to hold. Some are still made from wood for a lovely natural feel but these must be cleaned with care. Often handles have a piece of metal or 'Tang' down the centre. This connects to the bolster spreading the force and effort applied to the handle evenly through the length of the knife, making it stronger.

Fully forged construction

In a fully forged knife, blade, bolster, web and tang are all formed from a single piece of red hot steel. The hot steel is rapidly cooled till hardened and then tempered by gentle heating to reduce its brittleness while retaining its strength. This makes the knife extremely strong and suitable for cutting tough red meat, cabbages or root vegetables.

The most important tool in your kitchen, every good cook needs a great knife. Start by considering what you want your knife to do: slice, chop, mince, dice, fillet, joint? then follow our simple guide to finding the perfect tool for the job. Read our knife buying guide

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