Chef Knives for Christmas

I need to procure a set of knives for my wife for Christmas. We do a lot of cooking together and have both agreed we both favor the Santoku style for general purpose prep work. I have been all over Amazon but until you actually hold a knive and put it to use, one can never tell. So, can anyone recomend some good brands that you might have used. I am looking to spend less than $200. Answers and Replies Related General Discussion News on Phys.org Chi Meson Science Advisor Homework Helper Wusthof makes a really good santoku, about$100 for a 7" in most kitchen specialty shops. Classic German knife company. An actual Japanese santoku will be two to three times that. Unless someone knows of a good deal somewhere

I saw that name come up in my searches. Thanks Chi, for the recomendation.

Chi Meson
Homework Helper
I have several Wusthof knives we got for our wedding 16 years ago. They now have a couple of levels of quality. It's always worth going for the top end of quality with knives. Be sure you are looking at the classic handle with three rivets and the red trident logo

I own a complete set of wusthof knives. Hideously expensive and worth every penny. I can not stress how important a high quality set of cuttery is in the kitchen. It is one area you definitely don't want to skimp out on. You'll loathe having to use a lower quality knife once you start slicing with a wusthof.

Evo
Mentor
Wusthof for me too, excellent quality.

turbo
Gold Member
Ronnin, have you ever used a high-quality French chef's knife? They can be expensive (my 4-star Elephant 6" Thiers Issard was about $75), but I wouldn't be without one. I prefer the sharpness and edge-holding of forged carbon steel, but since I cut acidic foods frequently, I elected to get the SS version. Still hand-forged and beautifully-balanced. A 6" Thiers Issard chef's knife and a paring knife from the same company would easily keep you 'way under budget. Admittedly, that is a small "set", but I'll bet they would very soon become your go-to knives. If you can visit a store that carries Thiers Issard knives, please do, and get a feel for them. Don't be fooled by the "brand" Sabatier, since a large and growing number of cutlery producers have been using that name, and not necessarily delivering the quality you might hope for. I have picked up Santokus before in high-end cooks' stores, but was put off by the thin blades. Also, the pricier models seemed to have hidden tangs, which I don't care for. The Thiers Issards feature full tangs and are not only solid but well-balanced. I do a lot of canning, pickling, and freezing (we have a pretty big garden), and if you're going to process large amounts of vegetables, balance becomes an issue for me pretty quickly. My wife has very small hands, and she always goes for the French knives first. Edit: I have a bit of arthritis creeping in, especially on rainy days when I tend to do canning, and the shape of Thiers Issard handles makes them easier to use than some of the other knives that we have. That, and the lovely balance makes it easier to slice and chop large quantities of vegetables without using a lot of hand-strength. My father still has my mother's old German cutlery, which I will probably inherit, someday, though I have been thoroughly spoiled by high-end French knives. As gravenewworld mentioned (just below) you're not going to get any set of high-end knives for$200. A starter set of high-end knives is going to run you probably $400-500 minimum, for 3-4 knives, and maybe a fork and a steel. Last edited: Btw you won't be able to buy a good set of knives for just 200. Id recommend just building up your set one peice at a time if you can't afford it all at once. 1 good chef's knife will run you 100-200 alone. Anything made out of http://www.e-tokko.com/eng_vg10.htm" [Broken] steel would be good. It seems to have the right balance between hardness & durability. Last edited by a moderator: Thank you everyone for your replies. They will help tremendously. I knew I would find some good recomendations here. mgb_phys Science Advisor Homework Helper Rather than buy the set of 7-8 knives and the wooden block - you only really need 2, an 8in chefs knife and a 3.5-4.5in vegetable knife. Spending the same money on just these two (and a sharpening steel) will be much better. edif - amazon have some good deals, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00005MEGG/?tag=pfamazon01-20 Last edited by a moderator: BobG Science Advisor Homework Helper Who cares how good the knives are. I just like a cool knife holder. (The knives are pretty good, as well). minger Science Advisor Some other nice (and usually pricey) brands are Henckels and Globals. I agree with mgb though, you really only need like two good knives, a chefs and a paring. I would go with a MAC knife... really amazing santoku knives. Chi Meson Science Advisor Homework Helper Who cares how good the knives are. I just like a cool knife holder. (The knives are pretty good, as well). That is AWESOME! Head over to Williams Sonoma. They have top brands. Who cares how good the knives are. I just like a cool knife holder. (The knives are pretty good, as well). This depicts what might happen in my house if my spouse purchased me a new set of knives. Thank you everyone for the replies. I think I may be leaning toward the MAC. I just wish I could find somewhere her in Houston I could actually put my hands on them. I would also like to try the the French versions mentioned earlier as well (Turbo, you were right about all those other knock offs!). Now my lovely bride has informed me that she also would like something like a skillet, stainless or alum, that we can braise in then move it into the oven. I guess i've got my work cut out for me. Anyone use that Calphalon cookwear?? I love to eat so I never complain about anything for the kitchen. I'm glad so many people here love to cook! Last edited: Thank you everyone for the replies. I think I may be leaning toward the MAC. I just wish I could find somewhere her in Houston I could actually put my hands on them. I would also like to try the the French versions mentioned earlier as well (Turbo, you were right about all those other knock offs!). Now my lovely bride has informed me that she also would like something like a skillet, stainless or alum, that we can braise in then move it into the oven. I guess i've got my work cut out for me. Anyone use that Calphalon cookwear?? I love to eat so I never complain about anything for the kitchen. I'm glad so many people here love to cook! Honestly, what you need is a good old-fashioned cast iron skillet. I have one that is older than me and it works awesomely. And though you could pay$150 for one at Williams Sonoma, you should be able to find the real deal for less then $75 easily. The ones at WS are way overpriced since they have the hoity-toity colorful enamel coating on the bottom so that it matches the curtains. I might have 1 or 2 Caphalon products lying around, but I cannot recall what. I can say that All Clad is awesome. turbo Gold Member Thank you everyone for the replies. I think I may be leaning toward the MAC. I just wish I could find somewhere her in Houston I could actually put my hands on them. I would also like to try the the French versions mentioned earlier as well (Turbo, you were right about all those other knock offs!). Now my lovely bride has informed me that she also would like something like a skillet, stainless or alum, that we can braise in then move it into the oven. I guess i've got my work cut out for me. I love to eat so I never complain about anything for the kitchen. I'm glad so many people here love to cook! Glad to raise the alert about the French knives. Thiers Issard is the gold standard, and most of the other "Sabatier" knives are imposters, riding on a "brand" that they did not earn. If you can get to a store that carries the "4-star/elephant" brand (especially the carbon steel models) and other competitive brands, you will probably rein in the "set" goal and start buying very small "sets" of open stock. For some reason (deaths of relatives, estate sales at the church, etc) my mother managed to get an old used Wusthof and a couple of Henkels many years ago. They are very nice knives, but are blade-heavy and are not as nice as the French knives in sharpenability and edge-holding. The Henkels butcher knife in particular is a dud - it functions well for separating joints, busting rib-cages, etc, but it's way too heavy and way too thick for most other uses. Did they design this as a cleaver???? Honestly, what you need is a good old-fashioned cast iron skillet. I have one that is older than me and it works awesomely. And though you could pay$150 for one at Williams Sonoma, you should be able to find the real deal for less then \$75 easily. The ones at WS are way overpriced since they have the hoity-toity colorful enamel coating on the bottom so that it matches the curtains.

I might have 1 or 2 Caphalon products lying around, but I cannot recall what. I can say that All Clad is awesome.
I saw them online, thanks for the recomendation. I have a cast iron skillet but my wife doesn't like to use it because she won't immediately clean it, dry it, then re-oil it. I normally only use that for deep frying on my turkey fryer.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Any high end department store will sell brands like Henkel's and Wusthof. You may not want to buy them there if you can find a better price elsewhere, but they are a good place to go to see how they feel in your hand and decide if you like the balance, weight, etc. for your own personal preferences. Regarding Henckel's, beware that they also sell a low-end line of knives. You want to be sure you're buying their drop-forged knives, not whatever the cheap ones are.

I also agree with the suggestion that instead of buying a whole set at once (which might require compromising quality for cost), just buy one or two of the type of knives you use most often, and then build a set gradually. The nice thing about high quality knives is they will last you a LONG time, so you can build the set gradually.

turbo
Gold Member
I also agree with the suggestion that instead of buying a whole set at once (which might require compromising quality for cost), just buy one or two of the type of knives you use most often, and then build a set gradually. The nice thing about high quality knives is they will last you a LONG time, so you can build the set gradually.
I went to college with a butcher knife, a crappy chef knife, and a few others, including a really nice paring knife. I had hand-me-downs. I've got a lot of cutlery these days, but the ones that I'll always grab preferentially are a 3-4" parer and a 6" chef's knife. Get those two covered with the best knives that you can afford, and fill in your "set" from there.

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If you want to spoil her rotten get 1 copper piece of cookware. Its quite amazing how much different copperware is.