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Jan 23, 2012 02:00 PM

all things knife

i've been cooking for a while, but have decided that 2012 is the year where i finally get all the good stuff i've been wanting for ages. first things first: knives. i have one good paring knife (wusthof), but what else is indispensable? next on the list is a 7 or 8 inch chef's knife... what beyond that?

perhaps more importantly, i'm looking for storage solutions. i have zero drawer space, and hardly any counter space. to complicate things further, i rent, so i don't want to get those super nice magnet bars unless they're easily moveable and won't ruin the wall.

a friend told me about some magical magnetic knife stand, but i haven't seen this thing. what about the bodum ones with the sticks where you can put whatever knife in there - are those any good?

thanks in advance!

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  1. I think to add to your list is a bread knife .
    I just bought the Wusthoff 8 inch Ikor hollow edge blade chef knife and am loving it. I'm partial to Wusthoff.
    If you have the room, I'd also suggest a carving knife.
    For the bread and carving knives, I recommend Forschner. They're prices for value and terrific. For the chef's knife, go for the gusto, whatever you choose.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monavano

      After deliberation over what particular knife to ask for, I just got my first Wusthoff for Christmas -- I have had my Henckels set for a couple of years and it is great, but it lacks a 6" chef's knife and the 8" is just too large for all applications -- anyway, oooomg do I love this thing! You chow folk know your stuff :)

    2. A chefs knife (or Asian equivalent) is significantly far more important than any other knife you'll own. And sharpening is far more important than what knife you buy. So first off, if you haven't already done so either find a professional sharpener in your area who does good work (maybe your paring knife is due for a good sharpening) or invest in an at-home sharpening system. Next, invest the majority of your remaining knife budget into the chefs knife. You'll use it most, so prioritize it.

      Once you have a chefs knife, what other knives to buy (or not) depends on how and what you cook. Your chef knife can function adequately for most tasks. But say you love crusty bread - a bread knife might be nice. Or if you do some of your own butchering - a boning knife (Western or Japanese) might be nice. Slice a lot of large roasts? A long slicing knife might be useful.

      ... Or it's quite possible that the chefs knife (along with your paring knife) is all you really need, and that you'll get the most out of practicing with and focusing on that. Frankly, most people who buy big knife sets are just buying knives they don't need and won't learn how to use.

      Most wall magnets are mounted on a couple fairly small screws. Not hard to spackle them over when you move out, but that's between you and your landlord.

      As for a magical magnetic knife stand, maybe your friend meant this?
      Attractive, reasonably compact, but pretty steep.

      The Bodum and Kapoosh universal knife blocks are more or less what they look like. I had one, didn't like it too much, and gave it away. My qualms with it
      - it takes up more counter space than I'd like
      - it doesn't fit as many knives as you would imagine. After 7 or 8, it's too tight to jam any more in
      - If your knives are sharp, they'll cut little slivers off the sticks
      - Minor concerns about how sanitary it is
      - Some knives, notably any form of cleaver or nakiri, don't fit into to it easily at all.
      - Knives longer than 8" don't fit into it without some of the edge hanging out (at least the Kapoosh one


      Don't get me wrong - it's not awful or useless. I just decided I prefer a wall magnet.

      1. How about a good fillet knife? I basically have three knives - an 8 inch chefs knife, a pairing knife and a fillet knife. The fillet knife is good to remove the silver skin from beef and pork and also for slicing up small cornish hens, etc as well as filleting. I have a high end knife (wustof) but i have found that the cheap, plastic, food service chefs knives are pretty darn good. I use my wustof sharpener on them, and to be honest, I like the cheap knife better than my wustof. I think they are made by Bakers and Chefs.

        As far as storage, thats a good one - I found a cheap magnetic one at IKEA that attaches to the wall - It's so, so. I keep my blades in the drawer with an edge protector on them. Maybe you can use a knife block if you have the counter space.

        Hope that helps.

        1. Well, after I got a Santoku style chef's knife, I really don't use my chef's knife very often.

          The other 2 indispensable knives I use are the 10 inch serrated bread knife and the 6 inch serrated utility knife. I use them for slicing bread, tomatoes and chopping up chocolate. I did get a flexible boning knife but for the most part, you could use the pairing knife for boning and removing silverskin. You could use the boning knife for a filet knife, too.

          For storage I use a block but I have a lot of counter space. If I didn't, I think I would look into a magnetic strip. You had better check that your knives will stick to a magnet first. Anyway, find some way of mounting them to the backsplash over your cutting area.

          Here is an interesting knife block. It mounts under the cabinets. I think that would be very handy and use zero counter space.

          1. Shun Ken Onion Santoku. You won't need much else.