I was gifted a 12-piece knife block from my wedding registry. However, it quickly became an eyesore on my countertop, I constantly placed the knives back in the wrong slots, and they became dull even with regular sharpening. Maybe I didn’t mind using one or two of the knives, but I was stuck with a set of knives I didn’t love yet struggled to let them go.
As I became a more educated home chef, I realized that having just one high-quality chef’s knife for the vast majority of kitchen tasks made me a better and happier cook. Far more than owning 12 knives I didn’t love, used less and less over time, and cost way more as a set. I knew I had to free myself of my knife block the more tentative I became about cooking with them. This awakening came to me during a cooking class at my local Sur La Table.
The chef instructor shared that what separates an exceptional kitchen knife from a mediocre one is that it feels comfortable in my hands and is easy to use, for me. You have to try the knife before buying it! His recommendation and the one he swore by was the ZWILLING Pro 8-inch Chef’s Knife ($159.99). I tried it during the class, purchased it, and after all these years, it’s still the only knife I go to for most tasks.
As the name suggests, a chef’s knife is the most versatile knife you can get your hands on because it is best for most uses. From slicing and dicing vegetables and mincing herbs to more skilled tasks like cutting, carving, and even spatcocking a chicken, a high-quality chef’s knife is all you need for everyday cooking. Since ditching my 12-piece knife block for my go-to chef’s knives, I’ve unlocked the power of easy kitchen prep.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Chef’s Knife
Commitment to proper handling, washing, and storage can extend the life of your chef’s knife exponentially. Here are three easy tips for taking care of your chef’s knife.
- Keep your knives sharp. A sharp knife is safer to use—you should never have to fight with your knife to chop an onion. Unless you learn to properly sharpen your knife at home, I recommend taking your knives to a professional sharpener at least every six months or if your knife is feeling dull.
- Avoid the dishwasher. It’s best to wash your knives by hand with soap and dish detergent after every use. Do not wash them in the dishwasher.
- Store them properly. Storing knives in a drawer with other utensils can cause the blade to dull or get damaged. Plus, you can accidentally hurt yourself reaching in to grab it. Chefs recommend using a magnetic strip to hang your knives and to get easy access when needed.