Any chef will tell you that the most valuable tool in a kitchen is a good knife. As basic as it may be, a knife is an extension of a chef’s hand and can be the difference between a good dish and a great one.
Selecting the right knife is a personal choice, with many chefs preferring to carry their own set. And the reasons for that are the many factors to consider when shopping for a knife – with sharpness being just one of them. The shape of the handle, the weight of the knife and the thickness of the blade are equally important.
There are many good brands out there offering an assortment of knives. So we’ve sliced and diced a selection of the best ones from around the world.
Henckels & Messermeister from Germany: The home of precision engineering
As you would expect from world-class German engineering, these knives have heft. Solid handles and blades give these knives a signature weight and balance for precision cutting. Both brands carry mid- to high-range knives and most come with a lifetime guarantee. Both brands have a wide range of blade style and price points.
Misono & Takamura from Japan: Centuries of the craft and art of knife forging
Japan is the undisputed leader in making knives, using forging techniques that are centuries old. These knives are more works of art than tools. But don't be fooled, these are some of the lightest, sharpest and durable blades around.
View the forging process used to create Japanese knives
New West Knife Works & Middleton Made Knives from America: Innovation and technology
These knives draw on blade technology and different materials for handles that are both stunningly beautiful as well as supremely comfortable. The wide range of styles means there is a knife to suit any hand and every cutting task.
These incredibly sharp and excellently balanced knives were created by Swiss pioneer Karl Elsener, who invented the revolutionary compact Swiss Army Knife. They combine quality, functionality, innovation and iconic design.
Some chefs say finding a suitable knife is like choosing a dancing partner. You won’t know which one matches your style and feel until you test the partnership in the kitchen. But once the right one is found, the alliance often lasts a lifetime.