When it comes down to it, the choice of the best kitchen knife is as personal as the palm of the hand that holds it. Yes, a good chef's knife needs to meet some minimum requirements: a high-quality steel or ceramic blade, superior craftsmanship holding the parts together with a tight fit, a durable handle, and well-balanced design. The knife is an extension of your hand, so how it feels, fits, and maneuvers is going to be different for every cook (hold before you buy!). We asked our editors to share their go-to kitchen knife; the one knife that they can't live without. Here are the results:
Above: Alexa's pick is the Global GF-33 Heavyweight Chef's Knife (her mom, a former chef, swears by her set of Global knives) because she likes its stainless steel blade, and for her knives to have a little weight to them, like good piano keys. Michelle agrees. She bought this knife as a gift for her husband years ago, and it has become her favorite: "It has a nice heavy handle and the blade holds an edge well." It has a unique single-piece all-metal design and an 8.25-inch-long blade; $148 at Amazon.
Above: "One Christmas, my sister-in-law from Taiwan brought me a Kyocera ceramic knife, and I have been a convert ever since," says London editor Christine. "I especially like its light weight and manageability." The Kyocera Revolution Ceramic Chef's Knife has a 6-inch ceramic blade and a resin handle; $59.95 at Williams-Sonoma.
Above: Erin's knife of choice is the Wusthof Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku Knife. "A true creature of habit, I reach for this knife every time I make dinner. At just 5 inches long, I can manage it more easily than I can our 7-inch chef's knife," says Erin. The high-carbon-steel blade has shallow oval-shaped depressions that keep foods from adhering to it; $89.95 from William-Sonoma.
Above: Justine is coveting the Coltellerie Berti Chef's Knife. Handmade in Tuscany, the knife features a finely balanced stainless steel blade and lucite handle; $296 at Quitokeeto.
Above: Francesca is hooked on R. Murphy knives (thanks to the Wellfleet Oyster Knife). She recently acquired the American-made R. Murphy 8-Inch Chef's Knife. "I love the wood handle and handmade feel," she says. The blade is handmade, of carbon steel with a curved edge perfect for the rocking motion used for mincing and fine chopping; $90 through R. Murphy.
Above: Kendra keeps an Opinel No. 8 Knife by the back door. Not your ordinary chef's knife, it's supposed to be for gardening. But, as Kendra says, "It's brilliant for paring fruit, so it only finds its way outdoors if we are eating in the garden. I love it because it's always sharp while my kitchen knives are permanently blunt." It's $14.95 through Opinel. Image by Jim Powell.
Above: Margot has her eyes on the Schmidt Bros. Cutlery Carbon 6 Chef's Knife with a high-carbon German steel blade attached to an unpolished steel handle with a contrasting black scorched finish (heated to 2,750 degrees). The handle is shaped with a space to put your forefinger to easily guide the knife; $49.95 at Crate & Barrel.
Above: Next on Sarah's list is the Pallares Solsona Kitchen Knife, a beautifully designed multi-purpose kitchen knife made from carbon steel, sold by Heidi Swanson's Quitokeeto and recommended by Lisa Minucci of Heritage Artifacts— two people who know their way around a kitchen. Hand-fashioned in Spain from carbon steel with a boxwood handle, it's $49.
Above: Isabella has the Masanobu VG-10 Petty Knife on her wish list. Made in Japan, the knife features a very thin blade crafted of strong hard-wearing Japanese steel and a traditional octagonal wood handle; $195 at Best Made.
Above: The Wusthof Classic 8-inch Chef's Knife is my go-to kitchen knife. I like the weighty blade and uses it for tasks big and small. Made with a high carbon forged stainless steel blade, it's $129.95 at Amazon.
Above: Designed for cutting vegetables, Nakiri knives are versatile tools in the kitchen. Julie is hoping to add this Nakiri Knife ($279.50 NZD through Everyday Goods) to her arsenal. The similar Shun Classic Hollow Ground Nakiri Knife is available for $139.95 at Williams-Sonoma.
Above: Looking for a practical and budget-friendly quality knife? Consider the highly rated Mercer Cutlery Renaissance 8-Inch Chef's Knife; $51.90 at Amazon.
Take good care of your knives with Expert Advice from the Town Cutler.