July 18th, 2007
Reasonable Reader Ben sent in this recommendation for a kitchen knife:
You can’t go wrong with the Victorinox Chef’s Knife. It’s a third the price of its competition and is highly recommended by Cook’s Illustrated.
I consulted with Chef James, and he was eager to confirm that the 8″ R.H. Forschner by Victorinox is the ultrareasonable kitchen knife for home cooks. Apparently a culinary teacher of his used a 10″ Forschner at CIA and all through her line cook career, and continues to use the exact same knife to teach her classes. He uses his everyday on the line and at home, and he notes that Victorinox also made the original Swiss Army knife.
Chef James recommends getting a blade guard, using a honing steel, and getting a professional sharpening immediately and then about once a year thereafter.
Special Purpose Kitchen Knives
Paring Knife: Forschner ($5)
Cook’s illustrated again says:
A paring knife is essential for smaller cutting tasks, such as peeling and slicing turnips; peeling and mincing shallots; coring tomatoes; peeling, quartering, and coring apples; peeling and sectioning oranges; stemming mushrooms; cutting up small pieces of coconut; peeling and mincing fresh ginger; slicing lemons, limes and hard-cooked eggs…well, you get the idea.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a great paring knife. Our top-rated knife was the Wusthof Trident Grand Prix Utility Knife ($40), but finishing a close second was the Forschner (Victorinox) Fibrox.
Bread Knife: Forschner ($35)
Forschner also won the Serrated Knife category hands down:
As useful as a chef’s knife can be, there are certain tasks it simply doesn’t do well, such as slicing bread and tough-skinned tomatoes. That’s why you need a serrated, or bread, knife, which also slices through delicate pastries with ease. The saw-toothed edge of a serrated knife makes it seem like it’s always sharp; the teeth grab hold of whatever you’re cutting and don’t let go.
We sliced through 30 loaves of bread, five dozen bagels, and 25 pounds of tomatoes to see whether there was much difference between brands. There was. The reasonably priced Forschner (Victorinox) Fibrox (
$36$25) was terrifically sharp and easy to use, outperforming models that cost almost twice as much.
If you enjoy being in the kitchen, these R.H. Forschner knives are ultareasonable.
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