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Good Knives, Are They The Right Knives For You?
on November 19, 2001
There are really two main competitors in the high-end mainstream kitchen knife market: Henckels and Wusthof. Those who have used both usually have a preference. My preference (and therefore bias you should know about) is for the Wusthofs.
The Wusthof Classic line is the more conservative counterpart to the Grand Prix line. The only difference, however, is the handle style. I personally prefer the Grand Prix, but this is an issue of personal preference. The balance and grip of these knives are as close to perfect as I have found. For those wondering what benefits a higher priced knife provides, one benefit is that the blade (or tang) is one piece all the way through the handle. This makes the blade much stronger, and less likely to snap.
This set includes an 8 inch chef's knife, a 3 ½ inch paring knife, a 6 inch sandwich knife, 7 inch bread, a sharpening steel, and an oak block
The 8 inch chef's knife is a great knife. Wusthof offers four sizes of chef's knives in the Classic line, 5, 6, 8 and 10 inch. For most home cooks, I think the 8 inch knife is the best choice. The 5 and 6 inch are a bit small for bigger jobs, but the 10 inch is too big for most jobs. While the 8 inch isn't perfect for all uses, if you are only buying one size chef's knife (and most people only buy one), this is the one I would recommend.
As for the 3 ½ inch paring knife, this knife falls into the category of overkill for me. Most cooks will get by just fine with the 4 ½ inch utility knife. There is really no notable difference in size for the vast majority of applications between the 3 ½ inch paring knife and the 4 ½ inch utility knife. I prefer the 4 ½ inch utility knife, but the 3 ½ inch paring knife will do the trick.
I have found very few uses for the 6 inch sandwich knife. I prefer the larger size of the chef's knife or the smaller 4 ½ inch utility knife. This knife is just the wrong width and length for most tasks, and falls into the overkill department, except when part of a set.
The bread knife, is a great knife. Many people think tomatoes are the hardest food items to clearly cut. I think bread is much more difficult; but this knife makes the task seem easy. However, this particular bread knife, at 7 inches, is probably too short. I prefer the 9 inch knife.
When it comes to sharpening steels, I have found very little difference between Henckels and Wusthof. As long as you buy a high end steel, you really won't go wrong. Therefore, I shop for this item on price, and Henckels has a price advantage. However as the steel comes with the set, you won't go wrong with this steel.
This set is a good deal as far as price. However, keep in mind you really only get 4 knives, two of which I think are the wrong selections, and one of which I think is too short.