A Superb knife serves as the foundation for a great dish. If you ask three cooks what makes an excellent knife, you’ll probably hear at least five different responses. The truth is that the best knife for you will be determined by a variety of factors, including your knife comfort level, hand size, and the type of food you enjoy cooking. The standard 6- to 8-inch chef’s knife is widespread for a reason: it’s the most versatile tool. The chef’s knife is capable of dicing vegetables, slicing meat, pounding garlic, chopping herbs and nuts, and even going through small bones without difficulty in a pinch.
The Wüsthof Classic Ikon Chef’s Knife is the most conventional western knife available: it’s large, weighty, and made of soft, rust- and chip-resistant stainless steel. When it comes to high-quality knives, this is the one we’ve discovered can tackle the toughest jobs with agility and precision. Before we go any further, keep in mind that, of all the kitchen knives you may buy, a chef’s knife is the most personal choice you’ll have to make. Your chef’s knife, no matter which one you choose, will be the one you use the most. It has the largest surface area for greater chopping and slicing chores, as well as the ability to withstand the most force for tougher root vegetables, pork, and poultry. Different designs may favor chopping and dicing over slicing (and vice versa), but the Wüsthof Classic Ikon’s only slightly rounded belly hits a happy medium for the two chores.
The Misen Chef’s Knife is another good all-around chef’s knife at a good price. If you’re just learning how to use a chef’s knife, the 8-inch Misen is a good place to start. It’s lightweight and easy to maneuver, which is ideal for novices. It handled all of the cutting duties with ease, albeit certain materials adhered to the knife, such as onion slices and chicken breast strips. Extra pressure was required to cut the sweet potato in half, like with the Made-In, but it worked better on the basil chiffonade, leaving minor bruising. After most cutting operations, it washes clean, though extra scrubbing was required to remove the marks left by dicing the sweet potato. The Misen also comes with a card insert that includes recommendations on how to hold the knife and how to care for it so it lasts longer.
The Santoku from Global is one of the sharpest knives we’ve tried, and it’s made entirely of stainless steel, so there are no crevices along the handle to trap food. Vegetables won’t stick to the blade since it features hollow slots along the edge. This Japanese knife excelled at all jobs, but we were particularly impressed by its ability to pierce chicken bones.
Although the Miyabi Birchwood was the most costly knife we tested, we felt that the blade’s sharpness and precision of cuts were unrivaled. Its wafer-thin asymmetric blades produce a razor-sharp blade with a silky smooth cutting edge, living true to the product’s tagline: Beauty of Sharpness. The knife was easy to use and produced exact cuts for all of the prep tasks: slicing into a tomato was like cutting through paper, cutting into and slicing an onion didn’t make our eyes water, there was almost no bruising on the basil, and slicing into a raw chicken breast didn’t stick. Cutting the sweet potato in half took more work than the other knives, but it diced the sweet potato the best of all the knives.
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