questionswhat's a good starter's chef knife?


Knives are one of those things you really need to get "hands on" with, to test the weight and balance to see what feels right to you. There are different weights of steel or ceramic, with handles that are metal, wood, plastic, and who knows what else. One man's/woman's "perfect" knife may feel all wrong to you.

I have a couple of very nice chef's knives that sit in a drawer because they are too heavy for me. The one I actually use, and love, is this one:

Of course, it takes a really self-assured soul to use a pink knife.


I've got a $30 8" Henkles Santoku that I got at Target that quickly became my go to knife. I'd recommend them to anyone as a starter knife. I much prefer the ergonomics of the Santoku to a western chef's knife.

Get a steel and learn how to use it properly, and keep the knife out of the dishwasher.


Hands down, the Victorinox Fibrox chef knife -

$22, I have one (albeit 10", because that was in the box set I bought), I love it. More importantly, Cooks Illustrated loves it.

Honestly, the conversation really ends with that knife. The Henckels in the price range are fake - they are crappy Chinese knives with the Henckels logo on them. Tip: Henckels knives made in Europe (aka the good ones) have two men on them, their International line (aka the crappy ones) have one man on them. OXO? Blah.

If you'd like a santoku, I also have the Fibrox one. It's a good knife. I don't know that I'd rave about it like the chef, though. But, I would buy it again.


I love my Kai Tan's I bought here, but I haven't seen them in a while.


I own the pink knife the first poster referenced. It's a decent deal...I guess, but it's not really sharp at all.

I have a MAC chef's knife that is much sharper (also much more expensive), but my favorite knife is a Shun boning knife. A bit smaller than the chef's knife but extremely sharp and versatile. 80 bucks from Gilt.


I agree, a knife is a matter of fit and feel. It's hard to recommend something if you haven't tried any out. A Sur la Table, Williams Sonoma, or other cooking supply store should be able to let you feel the knives in your hand.

I also suggest taking a look at a santoku, I think they are a more useful everyday knife than a chef's knife. I have a Hammered Damascus Kikuichi Santoku that I love. But, good quality santoku knives are available in your range.


@90mcg112: I love Damascus and other hand folded/welded steels. I've done a little forging and quite a bit of other metal work. I want to get a kiln, so I can start hammering my own.

I'm not too sure it's the best metal for a starter knife, though.

edit: That is a gorgeous knife.