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A good knife is one of those things you don't realize you need until you actually use one that's high quality. Then, you'll give your old collection the side eye for good.
Chefs swear that having stellar knives as part of your culinary arsenal just makes you better prepared in the kitchen. "A great knife allows you to not fight with your food," Top Chef star Antonia Lofaso, author of The Busy Mom’s Cookbook: 100 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, Home-cooked Meals, tells Yahoo Life. "When you have a good quality sharp knife, you’re able to cut more precisely, intentionally and efficiently."
Chef and Iron Chef America judge Donatella Arpaia agrees. "A good quality knife also leads to consistent cutting and less accidents—hopefully," she tells Yahoo Life.
It can also make food look better, Alex Guarnaschelli, executive chef at New York City's Butter restaurant and author of Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Chef, tells Yahoo Life. "A good knife that feels right in your hand and is comfortable and sharp—that can make cooking a lot easier," she says. "We always want to save time and yield a tastier, more beautiful result."
And don't assume that you have to pay up. Per Lofaso: "The most expensive knife doesn’t mean it's the best knife."
She recommends buying one that fits your measurements. "If you’re a taller individual—5 feet 8 inches to six feet or taller—I’d recommend a 12- to 14-inch chef's knife," she says. "If you’re more petite, I’d recommend anywhere from eight to 10 inches, depending what feel most comfortable to you."
As for the type of knife to get, Arpaia recommends making sure you have a chef's knife, a paring knife and a serrated knife. Beyond that, you can add steak knives and other kinds to the mix.
Scroll for a few chef-approved knife options.
Love a good steak dinner? Then you'll adore these knives. Arpaia lists Wustof knives as one of the "brands I love most," pointing out that the company is especially great at making steak knives.
This four-piece set has triple riveted synthetic polypropylene handles that resist fading, discoloration, heat and impact. They also last—and stay sharp—over time. Also, you can't go wrong with a steak knife set. "It’s amazing how much joy we can get from a nice set of steak knives," Guarnaschelli says.
Lofaso and Arpaia are big fans of Shun knives, and this particular paring knife from the brand is hand-crafted in Japan. It features hand-hammered blades and a light PakkaWood handle, with a two-position design so that you can use a trigger grip for pull cuts and a pinch grip for others. The knife has a lightweight blade that's perfect for paring, trimming, peeling, mincing and slicing.
Arpaia is a fan of J.A. Henckels knives, and the company's chef's knife is 40 percent off right now! Made from German stainless steel, it's durable and comfortable, with a seamless transition from the blade to the handle. It's also ergonomic and has a triple rivet handle for balance. It's even dishwasher safe.
This Wustof knife has a double serrated blade that can effortlessly work through crusty breads, as well as thick-skinned vegetables and fruits (looking at you, pineapple). The blade is especially made to create fewer crumbs while slicing—a nice perk. It's also perfectly tapered from bolster to tip, and from the back of the blade to the edge, for a great balance.
Need a do-it-all knife? You've found it. Shun's utility knife has a 6.5-inch blade that can work through just about anything, from fresh produce to meat, fish and cheese. The wood handle is a nice touch.
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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