Having a great knife set can transform your kitchen. It seems to make everything easier, and cooking more fun. I’ve had my Wüsthof kitchen knife set for just over 10 years, and I remain a huge fan. Here are my go-to blades, and some basics on my experience in care and upkeep. The very cool thing about this set is that, despite being made in Germany, it’s relatively affordable. These days, a 7 piece set very similar to the set I started out with is only $120 on Amazon.
My go-to, the Chef’s Knife
For me, this knife has gotten the most use. I use it for dicing onions, slicing pineapple, and large citrus. It even works well going through bone and joints when spatchcocking a chicken. (If you’re not familiar with this, Google it. It’s a great way to prep a chicken for fast cooking.)
Have you ever smashed a baguette trying to slice it? This knife should help eliminate that from happening. A serrated bread knife is must for any knife set.
My wife’s go-to, the 6″ Utility Knife
This is one of my favorite knives too. Not as hefty as the chef’s knife, but just as long, this one is great kitchen tool. Thanks to the long blade, it’s capable of cutting through most big pieces of fruit and larger size vegetables like squash or celery. A downside is that since the blade doesn’t have the same height your knuckles can hit the cutting board before the blade does. To avoid this, I usually use this knife near the edge of the counter. This knife gets so much use, we’re considering getting a second one.
3″ Paring Knife, and 4.5″ Utility Knife
These knives perform as expected, and are great for smaller tasks like slicing limes or peeling an apple. We don’t do a ton of cooking requiring paring, but these are both good-to-haves and round out our set.
These bad boys are so awesome! Who would have thought that scissors could be so useful in the kitchen? These kitchen shears get a lot of use in our kitchen. The thing you have to keep in mind is to not use the scissors like you would a normal pair of scissors. It’s not worth sacrificing blade sharpness in order to open packaging for instance, so I like to reserve these for kitchen specific tasks. Some of the tasks I use the scissors for are cutting herbs and flowers, or opening food wrap like the plastic on whole chickens. The scissor blades detach to allow for more thorough cleaning.
Don’t let this tool collect dust. It’s essential to keeping your blades honed. Honing rods don’t technically sharpen, but they do smooth over imperfections that can cause your blades to dull over time. Follow this link to view a 2 minute video on how and why to hone your blades.
Wood Knife Block
I get it, most people want their kitchen to look sexy, and they do that by showing off their fancy knives and hanging them on the wall using magnetic knife racks. I’ve never gotten around to doing a magnetic knife rack for a couple reasons, one is that the magnetic knife rack needs to be mounted somewhere, and in my experience there’s not typically great spaces in kitchens to devote to hanging knives on the wall. Another reason I don’t like magnetic knife racks is that you can chip your blades if you pull your knifes off incorrectly. Ideally one’s supposed to pull the blade away first and then the back of the knife second.
So maybe you can remember to pull the knife away correctly from your magnetic knife rack, but will your partner, roommates or friends? If that’s a risk you’re willing to take, then by all means go for it but for me a sturdy block knife rack makes the most sense. The wood itself can’t dull or chip the knives. That said, butcher block knife racks do take up counter space, and you should be careful removing your knife and try not to skim the blade on the block itself and put needless wear on the knife. Despite these limitations, a block is a very solid place to store knives that will cause minimum wear on your knives keeping them sharp.
A few notes on care:
10 years later my knives are still pretty sharp. I’ve had one professional sharpening in that span, but regular honing, as kept the blades very sharp. Follow these care tips and your knife set should last as long as mine:
- Always hand wash! Dishwashers are like a reverse hone. The coarseness of detergent and high pressure water dulls the blades sharpness and takes color off the knife handle.
When you hand-wash don’t use the green and yellow sponge which can cause scratches. If you do use a sponge with a scrubbing side, make sure it’s clearly labeled as non-abrasive. This is primarily for aesthetic purposes, so as to avoid scratching the side of your blade. I typically use the non-scratch sponge pictured here.
- Always use a cutting board. I know it’s tempting to cut something on the counter, a plate or in a pan if you’re in a rush, but those hard surfaces will dull your knife. Always using a cutting board for your slicing and dicing.
10 Years Later I Still Love This Set and Use it Daily
Having a Wüsthof knife set has been an absolute joy. There’s an old adage that sharp knives are safer than dull knives and I think that’s true. Dull knives aren’t safe because they don’t slide smoothly and in turn they skip and smash through or over your produce an you can end up with cuts or injuries. That said, sharp knives do have hazards. Something I noticed when I started using a good knife set like this one is that I ended up with a number of nicks and cuts on my hands just from lightly grazing the blade. Due to their sharpness, even slight touch on a blade so sharp can cause a cut.
Whether or not to buy this particular brand or knife set, I highly recommend that you consider investing in a nice knife set for yourself or for someone you love. With good care a knife set can last a really long time.
Thanks for reading.