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high quality but inexpensive knife set [moved from Home Cooking]

My flatmate who owns the knife set is moving out, and I'm going to need a new full set of knives. I'm on my way to culinary school, so it needs to be a quality set to get me through the next year or so. Unfortunately, even though I know knives are a worthwhile investment, I really don't have more than a few hundred dollars to spend until after I finish school and start working. Any advice?

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  1. The school will likely have a knife kit deal through their school store or, as was the case when I went to culinary school, a local kitchen supply shop. I'd check with them before you buy a set separately. My experience was that the knives weren't worth much but we were required to have that specific set (yes, it was a racket). Since you've got a limited budget, make sure you get the essentials that will be required by your program before moving on to other knives.

    1. This may be terribly déclassé, but the plastic handled knives at Sam's are pretty nice - especially for someone who has a series multitude of flatmates and flats, as I did when I was in Grad School

      1 Reply
      1. re: rich in stl

        Second the kinives @ Sam's Tramontina 2 knife set @ $13. They are sharp, cheap, and clean. They do the job. But the blade is on the 'flimsy' side. The edge is sharp but it gives a 'fragile' feel on the hardwood board. I used it on plastic board and it feels all right though. Another thing, the blade of the 8" one is wider than usual, which makes rocking motion a bit more difficult to execute. The 10" is too long for me. My hands are not small either (Sabatier handle is too small for me).

      2. Yes, check first on school requirements. If buying on your own, look at Dexter Russell and Forschner from restaurant supply stores. They're widely used in restaurant kitchens, and in my experience are one-quarter to one-third the price of famous-brand stuff from department stores, gourmet catalogs, etc.

        You might find this story interesting:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/09/din...

        4 Replies
        1. re: mpalmer6c

          Forschner is a great recommendation if you have to go it alone on a knife kit for school. Also remember that you'll need several non-knife items for such a kit (peeler, melon baller, thermometer, spatula and off-set spatula, etc.)

          1. re: ccbweb

            I agree, the Forschners are terrific. I'd say at least half of the chefs at work use them.

            1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

              Not only are Forschners great knives but they also offer several different sets, including (I believe) one that is the basic five or six knives that are essential. This means that you get the buying-as-a-set discount without having to take the bird's beak peeler, or eight steak knives, etc.

              1. re: Carruthers

                Love my Forschner knives. I've pretty much stopped using all of my other knives. The only problem I had with mine was the 8" chef knife was a bit wider than what I had before and it doesn't sit flush in my knife block. No idea if this is because the block was for a narrow knife or if the Forschner knife is indeed wider than normal.

        2. i see you are in nyc, you can buy a good quality japanese chef's knife at a korean supermarket in Jackson heights (Chonghap? I always forget the name) Roosevelt ave and 72nd st in Queens, right by 74/Roosevelt ave subway stop. knives are under $20. good blade. I have bought a really good paring knife for under 10 bucks at Marshalls. IMO, if you have a very good chef's knife and a paring knife, you can pretty much furnish the rest of the set from thrift stores, yard sales and Cheap Jacks.

          1. I have a set of Forschner knives in my cooking kit that i use when I cook away from home, but my daughter gave me a Kitchen Aid santuko for X-mas. The Kitchen-Aid knives are very nice for the price, but I am somewhat hesitant of recommending a Chinese made knife over the American made Forschner's.

            Forschner slicing and paring knifes are best in the business.