Andy needs advice on buying a good knife for his kitchen.

Click on over and confuse him with well-meaning-but-contradictory advice.

Here’s what I told him. . .


Don’t listen to Dolphin. Except for their scissors, Cutco is crap.

Go with something from Solingen, Germany. And that almost certainly means Wustof or Henckels. You might also look for Messermeister. Harder to find, but worth the effort.

Or go on and go with Global — Japanese knives are wonderful. However, for the kind of cutting and slicing needed to make most Western dishes, they aren’t appropriate. (Knives evolve in conjunction with the foods being prepared with them, it’s true.)

Also, buying just one knife will not make you happy.

You’ll need, at minimum:

An 8″ slicer
A 6″ or 8″ chef’s knife (perferably a “wide” version).
A heavy cleaver.
A serrated utility knife.
A 7″ Santoku knife (buy that one from Global, for sure).
A 10″ bread knife.
And at least four serious, non-serrated steak knives.


Eventually, you’ll also want 10″ versions of the chef’s and slicer blades. And a proper block to store them all in — keep good knives in a drawer, and I will hunt you down and kill you, Andy.

Don’t worry about getting them all at once as a set — that’s an expensive proposition, and locks you into a single brand.

Start with the chef’s knife, then the slicer, then the Santoku (which is somewhere between a chef’s and a cleaver, and utterly indispensable).

Also, you’ll need to learn how to properly use both a sharpening steel AND a stone. Or just get yourself a high-quality Chef’s Choice electric sharpener.

I live to serve.


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