The best kitchen knives, by chefs
If you know your usual slicer has become lacklustre (and sharpening it isn’t enough), here’s where to invest
“My first ever chef knives were a set of Swiss Victorinox,” says Francesco Mazzei, Chef Patron of Sartoria. “I hold them so dear I keep then in my house in Cerchiara, Calabria. They have a wooden handle, I sharpen them with a special sharpening stone, and the blade is extraordinary. Plus they are rather affordable compared to other brands. I currently own over 100 knives but my favourites are still those Victorinox.”
“I favour the old school German knives over the Japanese style that most chefs and enthusiasts favour,” explains Ben Tish, Chef Director of Salt Yard Group. “I like how solid and heavy they are and I find them really reliable. My favoured brand is Wüsthof and I've got some knives from them on my rack that I’ve had for 20 odd years. I get them professionally sharpened once a year and then sharpen myself daily.”
For Gary Lee, Executive Chef of The Ivy, “My Chinese cleaver is always by my side in the kitchen. I chop, bash, slice, dice, filet fish (less easy!) and butcher meat with mine. I’ve spent hours watching the guys in Chinatown using cleavers. I sharpen it on a wet stone regularly. It has excellent leverage, is well weighted and incredibly strong.”
“One of my first knives I proudly gifted myself in culinary school was a classic Global Cook’s knife,” says Shirin Kouros, Executive Chef/Co-Founder at The Good Life Eatery. “The weighted hollow handle is wonderful to grip and easy to manoeuvre. The knife has an extremely sharp blade which is great for chopping vegetables, and strong enough for basic butchering. It really is an all-round great knife, you can’t go wrong!”
"I love using knives from the Japanese Knife Company in my kitchen, especially the JKC Damascus 33 Layers Utility knife,” suggests Liam Smith-Laing, Head Chef at Bluebird in Chelsea. “Japanese knives are considered the best in the world, for good reason! The craftsmanship which goes into these handmade, multi-layered blades is incredible and has been honed over centuries".