RATING INNOVATIVE CHEF’S KNIVES

RATINGS GOOD: ★★★ FAIR: ★★ POOR: ★

RECOMMENDED

PERFORMANCE TESTERS’ COMMENTS
HANDLE: BLADE: K I TCH E N T E STS : EDGE RETENTION:

BEST VALUE Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
PRICE:

$22.95

★★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★

“There’s a reason we have 20 or 30 of these in this kitchen,” said a tester; others agreed, calling it “Old Faithful.” They found it notably sharp, with “great maneuverability.” In sum: “This is exactly what a knife is supposed to be.” Testers appreciated the thin blade’s razorsharpness and an enhanced feeling of control. “Effortless cutting—the food jumps away,” remarked one tester. The double row of hollows worked, with squash and potato slices falling cleanly from the blade. This “flashy-looking” knife won points for its “extreme sharpness.” A pronounced curve aided the rocking motion. Most testers found it “really comfy,” but tester with largest hands complained about the “ergonomic bump” on the handle. Food didn’t stick to the blade. This “lightweight,” “sharp, thin” knife won raves for its “surgical” ability to slice easily through chicken bones and squash. Testers liked the “arced” handle, but there were a few complaints that the rounded tip made it harder to pierce food. “A good all-around knife” at a reasonable price. Some testers disliked the angled handle, complaining that it forced a more “exaggerated rocking,” while others liked the way it added leverage when cutting squash and bones. Everyone agreed that the blade “cuts beautifully” with “great control,” splitting hard squash “like butter.”

We tested nine chef’s knives by butchering whole chickens, chopping butternut squash, mincing parsley, and dicing onions. We also evaluated their comfort and user-friendliness based on feedback from a variety of testers: right- and left-handed cooks; skilled professionals and untrained home cooks; cooks with small hands and cooks with large hands. We rated sharpness and edge retention by cutting ordinary sheets of 81⁄2 by 11-inch paper before and after kitchen tests. Knives are listed in order of preference. See page 32 for sources. HANDLE: Knives that were comfortable, fit securely, and resisted slipping in wet or greasy hands were preferred. BLADE: Sharp, agile blades with sufficient curvature were preferred. KITCHEN TESTS: We cut up whole chickens, chopped butternut squash, minced parsley, and diced onions. Knives were assigned a score for each task, which were averaged to get the overall rating. EDGE RETENTION: Knives that maintained a sharp edge after testing was completed were preferred. TESTERS’ COMMENTS: General observations, including comfort, balance, perceived solidity and construction quality, and promotion of hand fatigue.

Glestain Indented-Blade 8.2-Inch Gyutou (Chef’s Knife)
PRICE:

Double row of granton-style oval hollows on one side of blade to minimize resistance between blade and food.
I N N OVAT I O N :

$210

HANDLE: BLADE: K I TCH E N T E STS : EDGE RETENTION:

★★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★

Kershaw Shun 8.25-Inch Ken Onion Chef’s Knife
PRICE: I N N OVAT I O N :

$193.95 Damascus-look (wavy pattern on metal) blade designed to reduce sticking for faster prep time and less damage to food; curved bolster for comfortable grip.

HANDLE: BLADE: K I TCH E N T E STS : EDGE RETENTION:

★★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★

MAC Knives 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, Superior
PRICE:

Ergonomic wooden handle; thin blade with rough strip along edge to release food; rounded tip, hole in blade for hanging.
I N N OVAT I O N :

$54.95

HANDLE: BLADE: K I TCH E N T E STS : EDGE RETENTION:

★★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★

Kershaw Shun 8-Inch Alton’s Angle Chef’s Knife
PRICE: I N N OVAT I O N :

$130.95 Blade set at 10-degree angle to reduce contact between knuckles and cutting surface; rippled metal blade to reduce sticking of food; D-shaped grip to prevent twisting in hand.

HANDLE: BLADE: K I TCH E N T E STS : EDGE RETENTION:

★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★

RECOMMENDED WIT H RESERVATIONS

PERFORMANCE
HANDLE: BLADE: K I TCH E N T E STS : EDGE RETENTION:

TESTERS’ COMMENTS

Sanelli 9.5-Inch Premana Professional Cook’s Knife
PRICE:

Soft antislip ergonomic handle offers support when cook must use force; withstands sudden temperature change and is nonabsorbent and dishwasher-safe.
I N N OVAT I O N :

$33.92

★★★ Testers liked the slightly squishy handle, saying ★★★ “it would be great if it were attached to one of ★★ these fancy-pants blades.” The lightweight blade ★★ did well with onions and parsley but on harder tasks felt “cheap” and “cumbersome” and “had trouble getting through bones.” ★★ ★★★ ★★ ★★★
This update performed worse than its wellregarded predecessor. The redesigned handle became very slippery when hands were wet. “Looks more comfortable than it actually is,” said one tester. Testers complained that “knife is heavy” and “handle is too long.” According to one tester, this “heavier” knife “seems solid,” but “I really had to push through the breast bone.” It made “precision cuts” while dicing onion, but parsley seemed crushed. Testers with larger hands liked the handle more than did those with smaller hands, but all complained about slipperiness when hands were wet or greasy. Testers were surprised that the “weird-looking” triangular metal handle felt “bizarrely comfortable” in the palm, but all disliked the metal “nub,” which “goes exactly where my thumb wants to go and puts pressure on it.” One said simply, “It hurts.” The knife was “very sharp.”

Wüsthof Grand Prix II 8-Inch Cook’s Knife
PRICE:

$94.95

HANDLE: BLADE: K I TCH E N T E STS : EDGE RETENTION:

Furi 8-Inch Cook’s Knife with Coppertail, FX Forged
PRICE: I N N OVAT I O N :

$94.95 Blade, handle, and tang fused into one piece for added strength; wedge-shaped to keep hand from slipping forward; handle surface striated to prevent slippage; soft “coppertail” at end of handle can be filed down to rebalance knife after years of use.

HANDLE: BLADE: K I TCH E N T E STS : EDGE RETENTION:

★★ ★★★ ★★ ★★★

Chroma 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, Type 301
PRICE:

Ergonomic knife designed by Porsche (yes, the automaker); metal “pearl” at end of handle for control when cutting; seamless construction.
I N N OVAT I O N :

$81.95

HANDLE: BLADE: K I TCH E N T E STS : EDGE RETENTION:

★★ ★★★ ★★ ★★

MARCH

&

29

APRIL

2007