Knives instead of Knife Blocks

Posted: April 29, 2011 in Kitchen Equipment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I am not a kitchen snob about many things. I have never owned an All-Clad pan, my appliances are all consumer grade, and even my pantry is filled with a sprinkling of store brand and less than gourmet ingredients. But my knives are the most expensive quality I can afford.

There are three knives in my kitchen that I use on a daily basis and one really incredible pair of kitchen shears that are more than just a pair of scissors. My chef’s knife (pictured right) is made by Shun and retails for around $150. I know what you may be thinking, “Keith, for $150, I could buy an entire block full of knives and get a set of 6 bonus steak knives.” True, but here are 3 reasons why you shouldn’t.

1. Knife blocks are limiting: The wooden knife block that holds the knives is designed specifically to hold only the knives that come in the box. If you ever want to add an additional knife or replace an old one, you can only use the empty slots. My knife holder uses “freedom rods” to allow any size knife to fit into the holder. I also use it to hold a sharpie (for labeling frozen food) and my instant read thermometer. Let’s see a wooden block do that.

2. Knife blocks come with knives you will never use: I use two knives daily: an 8 inch chef’s knife and a three inch paring knife. There is nothing that I cannot do with these knives and the job would not be any easier with a boning knife, utility knife, 4 inch Santoku, 8 inch hollow edged Santoku, or the complimentary steak knives. I also own a 10 inch serrated bread knife, but this is used rarely.

3. Knife blocks can be breeding grounds for germs: For all you know, there could be an entire colony of bacteria living inside the slots. And then you take your knives and cut into food that you eat and serve to your family? Knife blocks are impossible to clean the slots where you store your knives and this is never a good thing.

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Comments
  1. Food Lover says:

    Great article and so true…I paid $80 for my chef knife and I’m considering upgrading. Any suggestions?

    • Keith Hebert says:

      Go to the store and ask to hold each knife in your hand. It’s kikenbuying a new pair of shoes, it has to fit your hand right and be comfortable. Williams and Sonoma sometimes have a station where you can cut produce and Crate and Barrel have a wonderful selection too. My personal favorites are Shun and MAC knives, but if you like heavier knives, German steel like Wusthof and Henkels are great.

      Let me know what you end up with.

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