We’ve spent a lot of time cooking in kitchens. We’ve cooked in home kitchens, and we’ve cooked in restaurants. We are users of cheap, replaceable knives. Those white-handled Dexter Russels are our familiar friends. So we started there when we began searching for the perfect chef’s knife.
Knife blocks don’t appeal to us. They are so expensive. And the knives inside are of incredibly varied quality. Some brands will include an excellent Chef’s knife, but their paring knife isn’t so hot. Or some will give you an excellent bread knife, but their chef’s knife is no fun to cook with. The biggest problem with blocks, they give you knives that you don’t know you don’t want. For example, while you can buy a long Wusthoff bread knife that is adequate to cut through most loafs, the knife block’s included bread knife is about 2 inches too short. It’s not for any other reason than to save the 2 inches of stainless steel, either, so far as we can tell. Getting a bread block means that you’re locking yourself into a set of knives that you may or may not want. And you have no choice but to take what they give you.
In all, the blocks seem to appeal to the collectors. Most of the knives you get, you never or very rarely use. Yet, the fear of missing out on some kind of needed specialty cutter will compel buyers toward purchasing the block with the most knives. You wouldn’t want to miss out on something you need in the future, right?
In our discussions with home cooks, we asked about why they buy knives. Most cooks buy knives that others have recommended. And a large portion of them get knives that are “good enough.” The other important feature for them is that the knives look good on their counter. In this case, we understand the impetus to buy a block of knives. They are uniformed, and handsome. A good, expensive set, will impress any home kit who wishes they could afford something so luxurious. But we have taken a different approach to knife buying. We are looking for utility rather than social signaling. We want knives that are a delight to cut with. In the case of the Chef’s knife, we not only found one that meets our criteria, but we found one that has a price so insanely good, your mouth will drop.
The Victorinox Fibrox Pro series 10-inch Chef’s Knife is our knife of choice in this category. It is, perhaps, the sharpest knife we’ve ever used in this price range. It isn’t the prettiest knife. It’s handle isn’t made of some expensive, exotic hardwood. Rather, it’s a rubber called fibrox. And it’s an ergonomic pleasure to cut with. It’s as sharp, if not sharper than any of the other knives we tested. And I’ve almost never had to sharpen it. What’s more, it’s only around $30. It’s a unbelievable knife for the price.
While we weren’t sure that we would love the fibrox grip, we have to say that we have fallen in love with it. It’s a knife that is a pleasure to grip. It holds fast in our palm, and it doesn’t slip. It feels full and good, and it doesn’t wont for anything.
Honestly, we can’t speak too highly about this knife. It’s affordable price tag belies its quality. This knife is a sleeper. No one will be impressed by it when they look at it. But you will never want another knife once you’ve cut with it. Tomatoes? No problem. It slices so smoothly through the squishy fruit under its own weight. You barely have to apply any pressure. It’s a professional-grade knife that will go well in any kitchen. It cuts as well as our $1000 knives. What’s more, it’s been sharp for a very very long time. We haven’t had to touch it.
There are a lot of great knives out there, but the Victorinox 40521 is our knife of choice. We love it. We really, really love it.