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Chef Knives - What to Look for When Buying

Still the best all around knife: the chef's knife is a must have! Chef knives, also referred to as French knives and cooks knives, provide the versatility that most other kitchen knives, besides the santoku, do not. If you take cooking as seriously as you do eating, take your time in finding a chef's knife that feels so comfortable in your hand it will soon have your name on it.

Here are several quality chef knife choices grouped according to price range. FYI - I love the my Wusthof Chef's knife!! We hope you find this list helpful:

Affordable Henckels Chef knives Under $50

Good Quality Chef knives Under $60

Premium Quality Chef knives from $85 to $200

Chef Knife Basics

If you're unsure what size chef kitchen knife to buy, go with an 8." Not only is this the most popular size cooks knife sold, generally the most comfortable size for average home cook. The longer bladed ones: leave those to the worlds' finest chefs, those with great big hands or special techniques. With smaller hands, and your average Joe or Joanne: stick with the 8" knife size.

Buying: What to Look For?

  • Curved blade - A chef cutting knife is designed for chopping food on a cutting board. With a curved blade you will be able to rock the knife from tip to heel for efficient cutting. A straight blade doesn't rock. Believe me - the rocking motion will save you from fatigue.
  • Balance - look for a knife that has the weight equally balanced between the handle and blade.
  • Grip - This is important for safety. If you're working with greasy meat or chicken, your hand can slip off the handle if the material is slick like pure stainless steel handles. Look for grips that have texture such as the dots on Global knife handles. Also, the handle should feel comfortable in your hand.
  • Strength - If you go to cut the pumpkin and the knife feels flimsy watch out. Look for a cook's knife that is strong and up to various cutting tasks.

Some suggestions:

Three under $60 that were recommended after a 2005 test trial, published in Cook's Country, sister magazine to Cook's Illustrated:

  • Forschner Victorinox Fibrox Chef's Knife
  • Wusthof Gourmet series
  • MacChef series

$85 to $200 look at brands: Wusthof le cordon bleu, grand prix II, culinary or classic; Kershaw Shun; Global; Sabatier province and more.


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