Chef knives are the staple of any kitchen. If you’re only going to have one knife, start here. It’s also known as a cook’s knife and is the go-to knife when you’re chopping, dicing and mincing.
This all-purpose knife can tackle a range of tasks, from preparing meat to delicate work such as slicing vegetables or chopping herbs. It has a large blade and can come in a range of sizes, from a six-inch blade to over 12 inches.
It’s important to buy one that you feel comfortable using. Chef knives should feel well-balanced and the handle should fit nicely in your hand. If the knife feels too big, get a smaller version.
This is one knife that will repay you for the money you spend on it. Get a good one, treat it well, and it’ll do you service for years to come.
Recommended chef knives
Victorinox (best known for their Swiss Army brand) is an incredibly popular manufacturer, offering high-quality knives at entry-level prices. Many people swear by them, and wouldn’t swap them for higher-price knives, which is a testament to the strength of their following.
The ‘Fibrox’ in the name refers to the material the handle is made from. Its synthetic, hard-wearing, non-slip and very comfortable in the hand. It is rivet-free, and ergonomically-curved for ease of use.
There’s a larger 10-inch version available, but the 8-inch model is the best seller. Whether you’re just getting into knives or are replacing/upgrading a previous knife, the Victorinox models are well worth a look.
Amazon buyer rating 4.8/5
Available in both 8-inch and 10-inch versions, the J.A. Henckels International Classic Chef’s Knife has a high-carbon German stainless steel blade, though the knife is actually assembled in Spain.
It has a full-tang, triple-riveted handle, with a full bolster providing plenty of finger protection. It’s well-weighted and is a mid-point in the Henckels range, offering a nice price/performance compromise.
If you like Henckels but are willing to pay for a better quality knife, take a look at their Zwilling Pro 8-Inch Traditional Chef’s Knife.
Amazon buyer rating 4.6/5
You know what you’re getting with a Wusthof, and the 8-inch Cook’s Knife is a solid example of what the brand does best. You get a forged, full-tang knife, with a high-carbon stainless steel blade. The ergonomic handle has three rivets, while there’s a finger guard for added safety.
The knife is rated to be dishwasher-safe, but it’s recommended that you hand wash it. Backed by Wusthof’s excellent lifetime guarantee, the Classic 8-inch Cook’s Knife is a beautiful piece of kit that will be the centrepiece of your kitchen arsenal for years to come.
Also available in sizes ranging from a compact 4.5 inches up to 12 inches, but the 8-inch version is a nice balance for most people. Highly, highly recommended.
Amazon buyer rating 4.7/5