The Importance of a Good Knife

A knife is one of the most important tools for quality cooking.  You can read an excellent article on Wikipedia regarding the traditional chef's knife.  Like everything else in this world, you get what you pay for in a chef's knife.  That does not mean you need to sell a kidney to get a titanium-bladed chef's knife with ivory handle (do they make those, if so, I want one!)

While a high quality chef's knife will cost you much, it will serve you tremendously well.  There are some bragging rights to having a "badass" knife in your culinary arsenal.  A good knife will improve your cooking in some ways as well, but it will not turn you into Escoffier by no means.  The most important aspect of a high quality knife is they are safer than low quality knives.

A high quality knife will have the following characteristics:
  • Balance: the knife is well balanced, easy to handle, can literally balance on your fingers: the handle, not the blade!  A well balanced knife will keep the muscles in your hand and wrist from too much strain, and you will have less of a chance of dropping it.
  • Sharpness: The sharper the knife blade, the smaller the cutting surface area.  Going back to physics class, we know that pressure increases as area decreases.  Sharper blades need less force to create the same cutting pressure.  You don't have to push as hard, decreasing a chance of slippage and a call to 911.  Hopefully, it is not a joke in your town.
If you have only enough money for one knife, purchase a 6" or 8" traditional chef's knife, depending on your hand size and personal preference.  If you are splurging also add: a paring knife, a boning knife, a serrated knife, a cleaver, a steel or stone, cutting block, storage block.  You can find a good video on knife techniques here.

I have linked a few knife sets below. All links are from Amazon.  Feel free to search the internet for better deals. I use a Wusthof knife at home and love it.  I can personally recommend them. 

Slitzer® 21-Pc. Professional Chef's Cutlery Set with Case
Saber F-11 Working Chef Knives with Chefs Knife Bag
Wusthof Classic Gourmet 3-Piece Knife Set
Victorinox 5-Piece Chef's Knife Set, Molded Handles

I hope this article was useful, and I look forward to hearing of your cooking successes after purchasing a great new chef's knife.


  1. We got a nice set of Henkel knives when we got married, and this was by far the most useful gift we received. Henekl is a little hit or miss since they make some cheaper sets, but their higher end knives are really good.

    Also: use a cutting board to keep the knive sharp and remember to hone and sharpen them every so often or you are just going to end up with an expensive dull knife in 18 months or so..


  3. Yeah, the cutting board is also an important purchase. Wood is nice, but take care of them! Most restaurants hire a company that brings sharp knives once a week and take the dull away.

    Have you thought about submitting your blog to the Internet Archive "Wayback Machine"?