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Dec 26, 2013 02:55 PM

Inexpensive (cheap) Chef's knife

Friend of my wife was saying she needed a knife sharpened to carve the Christmas goose, I said I would sharpen her knives without thinking about it. X-mass eve she came by with a six knife block that had 3 steak knives, 2 fillet knives and a carving knife, she has been cooking daily (for her teeny son) with these knives for years.
I dealt in antique and vintage cutlery before retiring, two things came of that... 1. All of my knives are carbon steel forged before the second war. 2. I know nothing of or about the economical stainless knives to be had today and being a pensioner, I lack the resources to get her a proper knife.

I'd give her a good knife from my collection had I not sold them off years ago. Your thoughts?

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  1. I have more expensive knives, but this if the one I use most often:

    Top-rated in Cook's a couple of years back.

    2 Replies
      1. re: bebevonbernstein

        I got this one for Christmas and am very happy with it.

      2. <X-mass eve she came by with a six knife block that had 3 steak knives, 2 fillet knives and a carving knife, she has been cooking daily>

        So you want to get her a Chef's knife because she does not have one? Do you know if it is possible that she may not like Chef's knife and prefers something like a utility knife or a Santoku...etc instead?

        As for giving her an inexpensive stainless Chef's knife, I think most people will tell you that a Victorinox Forschner or a Dexter Russell stamp Chef's knife is a very good start for $30-40.

        Both companies makee these knives for restaurants, so these are real workhorse knives.

        If you want something of the same price point but of forged knife, then Mercer is probably a good choice:

        If you want something cheaper still, then I will recommend $10 Komachi or $10 Kiwi:

        8 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          < possible that she may not like Chef's knife... >
          Single mother with knives from a food bank, she makes do with what she has. When cooking in my kitchen, she loves working with a 1940's 10" Sabatier nogent style chefs' knife I have.
          Inexpensive chef's knife, a steel and a maple cutting board will make prep much easier for her.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Hate to admit it, but... I do not even know what a Santoku is, Gustav Emil Ern, Sabatier and other old world knife makers are what I know. I spent 18 years acquiring a complete set of WM. Beatty & Son (1835 - 1900) commercial cleavers, from the smallest, 11" poultry cleaver to the 32" carcase splitter.

            1. re: Master

              Santoku is not a brand, but rather a style of knife.

              They usually look like a straighter, and shorter Western Chef's knife.



              In recent years (say last ten years), many people, especially female chefs, like them a lot. Rachael Ray advocated them in her shows. Giada also likes Santoku as well.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I've been describing them to people as "a Japanese-style cook's knife."

                That seems to register with folks as "smaller than a chef's, but bigger than a utility knife."

                1. re: Eiron

                  It appears Henckels makes a version of the Santoku style knife in China.


            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Hi Chem -

              I have to say, it makes me happy when someone who has a passiona dn deep knowledge ina subject does not reflexively go for some arcane manufacturer with an outrageous price ("These are made on only one island in the Japanese archipelago. At night. Using only the oldest meteors for the steel, and petrified wood sourced off of a reef somewhere off the coast of New Guinea....").

              I have, and like, my Dexter chefs knife. It has the big white Sani-Safe handle.

              But...if just one knife....I'd go with my Dexter Chinese cleaver. It always seems up to any task, even if it is not perfect for any one.

              1. re: Westy

                You left out "hammered out and folded over onto itself 20 times creating a million layers within the blade".

              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                We have the Victorinox Fibrox 10 inch in YELLOW!!!
                How cool is that!
                They make them in different colors to match your decor! LOL

              3. I love my Ikea slitbar chef's knife. I have the damascus version.

                  1. I have a Cuisinart chef's knife that was cheap, has a good feel to it, and i'm quite happy with. Doesn't have the snob appeal of my Wuesthofs, but it's a good, cheap knife. I don't remember where I got it. But it's avaiable all over.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: EWSflash

                      I picked up some of these at Tuesday Morning. Great knives