My wife loves to cook, and she’s always talking about how she wishes she had better knives. So we decided to go out and find the very best knives we could for a budget not to exceed $500.
Now, if you think spending upwards of $500 on knives, this review probably isn’t for you. For most of us, the standard knives we receive in a box set work well enough. But for someone like my wife who cooks all the time, having a few really good knives makes a world of difference. Personally, I don’t cook enough to even understand the difference in knives, so I set out to get educated as a first step.
I enlisted the help of my friend Haidar, an award-winning professional chef at Proof, an award-winning DC restaurant known for its cuisine. In fact, Haidar recently won an Iron Chef-style “Capital Food Fight” competition hosted by Anthony Bourdain and cooking legend José Andrés.
In Haidar’s professional chef world, he uses knives are so good they are can be used to cut sushi, and are only sharpened on one side.
Haidar said his absolute favorite knife in the world is this Masahiro MV-H 10 inch Chef’s Knife (available on Amazon for $189.95). So I bought that one, which is 10″ long, along with the smaller 6″ Masahiro MV-H 6 inch Utility Knife, which was $105.95. So in one corner I had about $300 worth of knives from Masahiro as recommended by the best chef I know.
I also kept hearing about Shun knives when talking to other who know knives. And in fact, Haidar said his sous chef swears by Shun knives. They’re beautiful, insanely sharp hand-built knives made from wood and etched steel, with a beautiful pattern on the sharpening side. I purchased the sushi knife set on Amazon for $399.91 (list price just under $600), which contains an Usuba, Deba, and Yanagiba knife in a beautiful bamboo case.
The set contains a square Ususba knife, which Haidar recommended as the knife to use for most things. There’s also a long Yanagiba knife for delicate cuts like filleting fish. And lastly, there’s a weighty Deba knife for larger cuts of meats. All three knife handles have flat bottoms.
Lastly, I bought a 1000/6000 grit Shun DM0600 Combination Whetstone from Amazon for $79.95. It’s pricey but I figured if I’m buying $400 worth of knives, I’d better buy a whetstone that can keep them performing.
Here is a video with Haidar showing us how to use the knives, and the differences between the Masahir and Shun knives: