In my current position as head chef, I like to "give back to the industry" by offering work experience to chefs, young and old. Students and mature learners alike. And one of the questions I get asked is "What are the best knife sets to get?"
So I thought I should write down my personal view on the tools of our trade.
There are several great brands out there. From a classic Sabatier from France to the hand crafted British made blades. Knives are personal, individual and there is no “One size fits all” system. For me, I love a wooden handle. I tried using Global knives but it felt weird in my hand. Also I don't like the nylon/plastic handled knives. These always feel cheap. Maybe they just remind me of when I used to teach at college and the students would be issued with some useless, unbranded, cheap training knife. What's the point of that eh? Poor knives slow chefs down and that’s something we don’t need. My day to day knife brand is Victorinox, Rosewood handles. They tend to suit my budget and the steel is a good quality, hard wearing steel.
I was given a beautiful Japanese “Shun” knife a few years back. This was a thing of beauty. Layers of folded samurai steel with a perfect black wooden handle…. Then a waiter took it as a cake knife for a customer to cut their £2 Mr Kipling Victoria sponge birthday cake and it was never seen again. I now, don’t like to let my knives out of my sight. This tends to be a chef law standard. Other rules include:
As for knife sets. I recommend NONE! By sets, I’m talking about the 10 piece trainee sets on offer in theNisbets/Russums catalogues. Most chefs can survive on 3 or 4 knives to complete their day to day tasks. A good paring knife, a solid 8,10 or 12 inch cooks knife, a filleting knife and a boning knife. The last two are interchangeable in my opinion. Find the right knife for you. You may like the heavyweight European blade or lightweight Japanese steel. The choice is totally yours.
Knives should be looked after. I carry a wet stone and a steel. Only I am allowed to sharpen my knives. No other chef should ever try to sharpen another chef’s knife. That’s a bad move. I’m getting upset just thinking about it! Get yourself a good roll, case or box to store them in. Count them in, count them out!
Don’t let your knives go through the dish washer. This really messes them up. Especially the domestic dishwasher you have at home. I don’t know why or what goes on in there but They will just come out blunt, grey and if they have a wooden handle, this will be ruined.
In time, you’ll start to realise which knives you’ll like. I’d always suggest seeing it in real life first. Looking at something online is a world away from filleting 5 stone of Sea Bass with it.
A good quality knife will last you your entire career. That’s a fact.
Take a look at some of the links below. These are pretty cool. The video on knife sharpening goes on a bit, but highlights the need for a good quality wet stone.
links to some cool suppliers....
I do like CRAFTSMANSHIP though...
Here are my most used knives at work.
Thanks for reading Brian P @UKChefChat,
Other articles worth checking out. GQ's Michelin Starred knives and what does Anthony Bourdain think?
Some may know me, most wont. I am Brian a chef from the east of England. Head chef of a pub and owner of a small catering business. I've been a chef for 25 years. I do this web stuff purely for fun. It's literally just me and my laptop. No big corporation. Just a chef, wanting to connect with other chefs. Enjoy.
This website is part of Knife Of Brian Cookery and catering.Click below to see what else I do professionally.