If you’re a college student, a casual cook, or someone who just doesn’t want to budget for a pricy set of kitchen knives, you can still find a great set of knives at a price that is more than reasonable. The Forschner line of knives is produced by Victorinox, the folks behind the timeless Swiss Army knives (Wenger, which was the other maker of Swiss Army knives, was acquired by Victorinox in 2005- as a general rule, Victorinox Swiss Army stuff is higher quality). Forschner knives use a premium quality steel that is both tough (won’t chip or break) and easy to sharpen and hone. Best of all, a decent set shouldn’t set you back more than $100, and their chef’s knives can go on sale for $25. One thing that is a little lacking is the handle material in most of their knives, which is basically compressed plastic- there’s no real loss in utility, but it just feels cheap.
Mid-range: Wusthof Classic or Henckel’s Twin
Both Henckel’s and Wusthof make mid-range knives that perform excellently. While these are (significantly) more pricy than Forschner knives, they offer the added benefit of a traditional three-rivet design in the handle, excellent warranties, and excellent blade steel in most of their lines. I personally own the Wusthof Classic line, which uses “X50CrMo15”, which is incomprehensible to me, but in practice performs like 440C, a premium cutlery steel found in mid-range pocket knives that is known for being tough and offering decent edge retention (ability to stay sharp). Henckel’s doesn’t provide a fancy name for its blade steel, but it again performs similarly to 440C. One caveat- if you purchase Henckel’s, stick with the TWIN (Zwilling) line (you’ll know by the two stick figure logo rather than the lone stick figure).
Premium: Shun Ken OnionIf you drive a Porsche and need a knife set to complement your opulent lifestyle, get some Shuns. Okay, this is slightly exaggerated, but the fact is Shun knives do not come cheap. The Ken Onion chef knife, probably the best chef knife I have ever held apart from a few custom works, can run between 220-300 bucks. You get what you pay for, however: all of the Shuns have a unique bevel in the handle that provides superior ergonomics, and use VG10 blade steel sandwiched between softer, but more durable, 410, which makes for a blade that won’t chip or break under normal use, and holds its edge indefinitely. Plus, it has a cool hamon, a Japanese design along the edge that distinguishes the steel layers.
|Opulence. I has it.|