As famed Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto once said, “a kitchen without a knife is not a kitchen.” And he certainly was not wrong. More often than not, a strong, durable chef’s knife is the true workhorse behind any great meal. But unlike the celebrity chefs we see on TV or read about in magazines, most of us aren’t about to shell out thousands of dollars for a premium set.
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The good news is that you don’t actually have to. Today, there are plenty of high-quality kitchen knives available that will not only get the job done, but can also stand the test of time. So whether you’re an aspiring Bobby Flay, or more of a home cook amateur looking to step up your kitchen game, these kitchen knives from Calphalon and Cutco will help you out.
Wüsthof is a family-owned German knife manufacturer that has been crafting some of the world’s finest blades for more than 200 years. Their Classic Ikon collection is a favorite of chefs across the globe thanks to their versatility and elegant design.
Bob Kramer is one of the greatest American bladesmiths of all time, and his handmade knives are considered to be among the best — and most expensive — in the world. So his Essential 6-Inch Chef’s Knife by Zwilling J.A. Henckels is a total steal.
If you buy one chef's knife, you should grab this one. Not literally of course. Its standout features include VG-1 Japanese steel for sharpness and ultimate edge retention. The blade is made of 32 stainless steel layers, which makes it exceptionally firm and rigid. You get a smooth, silky slice.
If you’re chopping veggies or dicing anything, this is the knife to get. Because of its layers, this kitchen knife is exceptionally sharp, and never loses its edge. It takes a whopping 42 days to manufacture each of these knives, so you know you’re getting something good.
If you're slicing thin, delicate pieces of fish or chicken, you need this Cutco knife. It has a seven-inch blade.
New York-based Cutco is known for its precision, high-quality kitchen gear. And this knife is no exception. It has a universal fit for any hand size, and works for righties or lefties. This kitchen knife’s serrated edge provides a clean, smooth cut. Period.
Inspired by the Zen principles of simplicity and the elimination of the non-essentials, the Shun Kanso Chef’s Knife cuts right to the chase. The 8-inch Japanese blade is forged from refined high-carbon, vanadium stainless steel and comes with Kanso’s Heritage finish, giving a rustic look that effortlessly hides dings and scratches.
Full-tang construction allows for balance and precise control, and its slightly contoured handle uses sturdy tagayasan (also known as wenge) wood. It also features a flat profile and wider heel, so even beginners can master every cut. This knife goes back to basics, which lets you master any task at hand, from slicing vegetables to cutting up protein, and even gently julienning fresh herbs or spices.
Another 8-inch blade, the MAC Professional Series Chef’s Knife is one with a bit more personality. The thin 2.5-millimeter blade is dimpled along the edge, helping the knife glide through such sticky foods as squash, apples, and starchy potatoes.
It’s one of the most popular Western-inspired models available today, beloved by professionals and newbies alike. Thanks to MAC’s proprietary chrome-moly vanadium steel blade, the entire knife weighs just 6.6 ounces, making it extremely maneuverable. Fans praise the knife for its long-lasting blade and sheer usefulness for virtually any kitchen task. The company is so confident in their product that each knife comes with an impressive 25-year warranty against any defects in materials or workmanship.
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