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Catering Cutlery Guide

catering cutlery guide

If you’ve ever delved into the world of catering cutlery and found it a little overwhelming then don’t worry, you’re not alone.  With so many styles, finishes, brands and designs to decipher you’d be forgiven for wanting to push this to the bottom of your to do list.  But not anymore! Today is the day, the day we tackle the terminology and make those all important decisions. So, whether you’re looking to kit out a new restaurant or simply looking to upgrade your current cutlery, here’s the definitive guide on what you need.  

What style of cutlery suits my establishment?

If you want to give your guests an experience to remember from the minute they sit down then it’s the finishing touches that matter.  The location and decor might be all you imagined and more but if your guests sit down to less than adequate cutlery, then I’m afraid it’s strike one. . .and we all know how important those reviews are.  So when it comes to catering cutlery it’s worth taking the time to assess what you are looking to achieve by asking a few simple questions, such as 

  • What is your market?  
  • Are you fine dining or a casual?  
  • What will the cutlery say about you?  

All of this will have a huge impact on what catering cutlery  you choose as fine dining is an experience and requires attention to detail, whereas casual is far more relaxed.

The Different Styles of Catering Cutlery

This is where we get down to the nitty gritty of choosing each piece of catering cutlery.  Surely it’s as simple as knives, forks, spoons, right? Wrong. There are so many variations of cutlery which are very much dependent on the type of cuisine being served so let's look at this in more detail.


A staple item for cutting, spreading and slicing, the main difference when it comes to knives is whether it’s pointed, serrated, blunt, rounded etc, these include:

  • Butter knives
  • Steak knives
  • Fish knives
  • Dinner knives
  • Formal dinner knives (a larger, heavier version of the standard dinner knife)


A meal without a fork is simply inedible therefore choosing the right fork is essential to the experience, examples of this are:

  • Dinner forks
  • Formal dinner forks
  • Dessert forks
  • Salad forks
  • Fish forks


Available in various shapes and sizes and serve many purposes, such as:

  • Teaspoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Serving spoon
  • Soup spoon
  • Dessert spoon
  • Sundae spoon

Catering Cutlery Components

Did you know that stainless steel cutlery is divided into two grades, 18/10 and 18/0.  Stainless steel itself is a mixture of steel, chromium and nickel, so these numbers represent the percentage of each present.  For example:

18/10 means 18% chromium, 10% nickel

18/0 means 18% chromium, 0% nickel

The key difference here is the nickel content, as the higher the content, the higher the quality will be.  Nickel makes the steel incredibly tough, rust free and super shiny. That said, nickel is an expensive component therefore 18/10 cutlery is usually more expensive so it’s worth keeping in mind when choosing.  A fine dining experience is almost certain to need 18/10, however for a more casual setting 18/0 will be just fine.

Stamped vs Forged Cutlery

We’ve touched on this in a previous blog when we discussed the best professional chefs knives, but for those who haven’t read it yet (we know you will), here’s a little recap.

When we talk about stamped or forged, we are referring to the way the cutlery is made. A forged knife is usually made from a single piece of steel that is heat treated and hammered into the shape.  Forging steel makes it stronger, therefore, more durable as the cutlery is less flexible and less prone to breaking under pressure.  This is particularly important when it comes to chefs knives as it has a knock on effect to the tang and bolster, but when it comes to cutlery it’s more a case of preference and sometimes budget.

Stamped cutlery, however, is made by cutting each piece out of a large sheet of steel (imagine a cookie cutter), which is great for flexibility but not so much for endurance. 

To the untrained eye there may be very little difference, but when entertaining foodies, believe me they will know, afterall they are paying for an experience so of course every detail counts.

Choosing Your New Catering Cutlery

If this blog has tickled your taste buds and you’re ready to choose your new catering cutlery, then take a look at some of our recommended cutlery collections such as Oxford Cutlery and Amefa Cutlery.  

Alternatively, for more information, simply call our friendly team on 01904 481000 who are ready and waiting with expert advice.