You may be wondering how exactly kitchen knives and cutlery fit into our “Upgrade” series, but here’s how we see it: cutlery is something that everyone has to own, but most people don’t care much about it. Sure, you probably only really need knives that are sturdy and sharp, but if you want to take things to the next level, we’ve rounded up some of the best designs around in kitchenware and cutlery. It’s no accident that the master cooks on Top Chef carry around their own personal knife cases. Knives are an important part of cooking, and once you have a good set, you’ll be good to go for years and won’t want to cook with anything else. It may seem silly to you now, but if you get your hands on any one of these kitchen knife sets, we think you’ll be shocked and impressed.
We apologize in advance for the many photos of knives. We aren’t trying to channel Dexter, we promise.
Why not start at the top? If you’re looking for the best knives out there and don’t mind paying a small fortune considering that it’s the only set of knives you’ll ever need, you’ve met your match with the $2,000 Wusthof Ikon Blackwood 22-piece knife set. Each knife is forged from a single piece of high-end stainless steel and features a triple-riveted (read: sturdy) handle made from rare and extremely hard African Blackwood, which is sustainably-harvested from Mozambique.A classic-looking double-bolster design that improves balance when using the knives. The set includes every possible chef knife you could need as well as eight steak knives and a 22-slot wooden knife block.
For the minimalist with an eye for design, the Stelton Pure Black collection has sleek good looks and offers three knives that will cover most jobs you’ll need to do in the kitchen. The knives are all forged from a single piece of stainless steel (handle included this time), which allows for a pretty cool-looking seamless design. The matte black finish isn’t just for style, either. The stylish black finish makes the knives extra-hygienic and easy to clean and even provides a great, grippy texture. Two chef’s knives and one bread knife are available.
To give you an idea of the man behind these designs, not only is Bob Kramer a chef himself, but he’s the only certified Master Bladesmith who specializes in kitchen cutlery. From that description you can expect nothing less than incredible excellence in design and quality, and a pretty hefty price tag as well. The specifications that make these knives better than any other go on for days, but what we exacted from the large amount of information is that these knives are of the best possible quality and will stay sharp, and we mean Top Chef sharp, for years. The handle is made with African Blackwood, and the blade is made from 52100 straight carbon steel hardened to a hardness of 61 Rockwell, which is, as we understand it, really hard. The knives can be bought individually and are priced from $140 to $350 each.
Here we have another set of knives that somewhat look like they were designed by a ninja. No, we’re not complaining. These are slightly more affordable kitchen knives from Boker that offer something a little different than the others we’ve highlighted. The Boker knives are made with a ceramic blade that provides an extra-sharp cutting edge and is designed to stay sharp longer than any other material. The lightweight knives also have grippy curved Delrin handles. The ceramic material also prevents flavor transferring from food to blade and back, which will keep the tuna you sliced up last night from polluting today’s apple. The Boker Black knives are sold individually and are also available in a more classic, non-ninja look.
For something a little on the whimsical side, we found this brilliant and clever design from MKS designs. Having knives that provide a comfortable fit is nothing to sneeze at. Having a comfortable grip on your knives will not only make your cooking go more quickly, but it will make cuts more precise and help keep your fingers safe and sound. We love the idea of putting a comfy bicycle-inspired vinyl grip on these knives as a fun aesthetic quirk and functional design feature. These aren’t lacking on quality, either. The knives are made in England from SF77 British stainless steel and feature and asymmetrical grind and tubular handle that’s covered by the grip.