The most important tool in the kitchen is a knife. While a knife block looks pretty on the countertop, it comes at a hefty price tag and is usually filled with knives you'll probably never use or need. Most chefs carry a few trusty knives that they use for just about everything. Knives are an investment. If you take the time to visit a kitchen store and test out different knives, you'll find that they come in every shape, size and price point. The three knives crucial to any kitchen are a chef's knife, serrated knife and paring knife.
The most important of the three knives is your chef's knife. This will be your go-to knife for chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing and more. The blade ranges from six inches to ten inches long. If you feel intimated by the larger blade, spend time using the knife to gain your confidence and learn how to maneuver the food on the cutting board.
A serrated knife is great for slicing bread, bagels, cake and other baked goods. In other words, it's great when cutting foods that have a different texture on the inside then from the outside. It also comes in handy when slicing tomatoes or other soft fleshed foods. You'll want to purchase one with at least a nine inch blade.
The pairing knife is designed to be an extension of your hand. You will use it for more delicate tasks such as peeling fruits and vegetables and trimming smaller foods. This miniature chef's knife should have a blade between three and four inches long.