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Old 10-02-2011, 01:15 AM   #1
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A good set of chef's knife for around 100 bucks?

My mom offered to buy me a set of chef's knives (complete with the block) for my birthday. She asks me to look for a set that costs around 100 dollars. Well, the knives I have been using are cheap brand/value brand that's no more than a sharpened piece of sheet metal, and I really want those super sharp forged ones that allow me to cut like a real chef.

Can someone please give me advise on where to buy a good set of forged knives for 100 dollars :)

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Old 10-02-2011, 02:28 AM   #2
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Unless they're stolen you're out of luck! Honestly I'd ask for one good chef's knife instead. Better one really good knife that you'll use a lot than a block full of junky ones that you won't. It depends a bit, of course, on your level of cooking interest and ability. I cook professionally and take knives very seriously (or at least as seriously as I take anything!). Most of my knives are around the $200 mark (each) with an occasional one running over $300. But there are several knives in the roughly $100 range that I would be perfectly content using at work. Do you need that level of a knife? Hard to say. How often do you cook?

Short of the "one good knife" deal, I would suggest looking at the Forschner Fibrox line. Many pro cooks use them, and all of the house knives (ie the knives provided by the restaurant) where I work are Fibrox's. You could get the "Big Three" (Chef's knife, bread knife and paring knife) for a hundred or less. Those would do 98% of all the jobs in the kitchen with no problem.

One problem with block sets is that they include a knives with too much overlap, plus things that are just filler. For instance, many blocks will have, say, a 5" utility knife and a 6" utility knife. Why would you really need both? Another thing they like to throw in is cheap steels and junky scissors. At first blush it looks like you're getting more but in reality you're getting useless stuff that will just clutter your kitchen. I've never seen a cheap block set steel that wasn't complete crap- you're honestly better off honing on the back of a ceramic coffee mug than a cheap steel.

Here are what I consider useful knifes, as in everyday useful:

Chef's knife- In reality, you can use a chef's knife for almost every task. Most of your veggie prep (slicing, dicing, mincing, chopping, etc) is done with this knife. In a pinch you can also peel with it, and it will cut breads well if you keep it sharp.

Bread knife- Most people prefer a serrated bread knife for breads that have hard crusts, like French Batard and some rustic bread boules. If you bake your own bread you'll almost certainly want a decent bread knife.

Paring knife- Most people really like paring knives for cutting & cleaning fruits and veggies. I prefer a peeler for stuff like potatoes and carrots but many people use the paring knife.

Slicing knife- While not indispensible, I really like a long-ish (9" or longer) narrow, pointed slicing knife. I use the Japanese style called a sujihiki (or sujibiki). This is especially nice for stuff like turkey carving.

Santoku- I blame Ray Ray for the santoku craze. This knife really is a jack of all trades but master of none. Anything it will do, a chef's knife will do better. The only real purpose of this knife is for kitchens where you're really tight on space or for those intimidated by larger knives.

For most home cooks, anything beyond the first four I listed is just extra, although some are useful occasionally. If you break down a lot of your own meat a curved boning knife is handy. Even just trimming silver off of pork loins will make you wish you had one. Likewise, if you buy your chicken whole and cut it yourself you might like a butcher knife or a specialized poultry knife like a Honesuki.

But typically block sets don't include a bunch of useful knives- they pad the count with scissors, steels and multiple steak knives.

Just my $.02.
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:40 AM   #3
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thanks a lot for the clarification lol, now I see how knife sets are really overrated. I actually know what I need. My slicing knife is old and can't cut jack, and my chef's knife, though still sharp due to less usage, has a bent tip from improper storage. the reason I wish for a block set is because I want to be able to store the knives properly. I also want a cleaver. You can chop things much easier with a cleaver that's sharp and heavy, and after you chop the food, you can use it as a dough scraper and scoop up the food.
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:24 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
thanks a lot for the clarification lol, now I see how knife sets are really overrated. I actually know what I need. My slicing knife is old and can't cut jack, and my chef's knife, though still sharp due to less usage, has a bent tip from improper storage. the reason I wish for a block set is because I want to be able to store the knives properly. I also want a cleaver. You can chop things much easier with a cleaver that's sharp and heavy, and after you chop the food, you can use it as a dough scraper and scoop up the food.
True, but using a cleaver that way is hard on the edge. At any rate, you can purchase the empty blocks pretty cheap if you just want storage. Then fill it with whatever you want.

Still, this is JMOHO. YMMV, nothing wrong with that.
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:18 AM   #5
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As an engagement gift ( 25 years ago) I received a really nice Knife set ( 8 knives) with a block. Over the years, 3 of them I use religiously, the other 5 Ive literally never touched. ive been recently updating my knives one by one. I find the best way to do this is to go to a store where they have a variety, and also let you try them ( usually have a few veggies on a cutting board with several knives to try). There are many different " good " brands, but the truth is, they all feel a little different. Maybe the shape of the handle, or the overall weight or whatever. But by trying them, you will know which one feels like the knife for you. I cant even explain what " right" is, but you just kinda know it when you feel it. Thats what happened to me. As far as a cleaver goes, I got one too, nearly took half my finger off ( but I guess getting up at 5am to try out my new cleaver wasnt the brightest idea either, but i couldnt resist)
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:34 AM   #6
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For the reasons mentioned, don't buy sets. A good chef's knife and paring knife are a great start. Cleavers can be very handy too. The other thing is to handle various knives to determine which one fits your hand best. You might think you want a 10" chef's knife, but an 8" might fit your hand better and be better balanced in your hand. I don't see where you live, but any good knife shop, cookware store, and better dept store will let you handle the knives. Hold them, simulate cutting things with them, etc to determine the best fit for you. Then, watch the sale ads. This is the perfect time of year for knives to go on sale especially at the better dept stores, such as Macy's, for example. Note that some places even have classes in basic knife handling/cutting skills.
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:59 PM   #7
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I'll go to a willian sonoma and try their knives lol
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:21 PM   #8
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I'll go to a willian sonoma and try their knives lol
That's what I did before I bought my 10" Wusthof Classic Chef. I had a couple of Classic series, a 6" chef and a 5" boning knife and like the feel of the handle, but I didn't want to put out that much money without trying it first and making sure that it felt as good as the smaller knives. It did, and I bought it.
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:05 PM   #9
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If i had only 100 bucks to spend I would start with this knife block.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0058DPUNG/...G&linkCode=asn

I would get a cheap to decent sharpening stone that has two grits for another 15 bucks

That would leave roughly 60 bucks for a pairing knife and a 8'' chefs knife. You won't get great knives but useable.

I would go to Bed Bath and beyond and see what is comfortable in your hand. You can add to collection as you go, and as you get used to sharp knives and caring for them. The crappy knives you may have now may just need a good sharpening to get some more life out of them untill you figure out what works for you. Don't ever throw your old knives out. you will be surprised how handy they become when you go camping or toss one into a picknic basket or keep one in your trunk for those traveling snacks.
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:29 PM   #10
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I have lots of different knives but find myself using only 3 or 4 on a regular basis. My go to knives are a MAC Chef 8, a Wusthof 4" paring, a Henckel 5" Santoku and a 5" boning knife by Victorinox, (same as Forschner Fibrox). If I only had 100 bucks I'd go with the Forschner line. They're good knives and they'll last you for years.
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