Have you invested in a good chef’s knife? There’s a huge range available, from humble £10 offerings to expensive celebrity-endorsed knives. Yet, a high price or celebrity name doesn’t always guarantee quality.
I’ll cherish the memory of my birthday this year due to the extra special treat I enjoyed – a visit to the two-Michelin star restaurant L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden. My seat at the bar overlooked the thronging kitchen, where skilled chefs created our meals as we watched in amazement.
I was struck not just by their skill in preparing gorgeous food, but by the way they used their tools. It was hypnotic to watch them carve wafer thin slices of ham off massive legs hung on hooks, and use special kitchen tweezers to transfer them to the plate.
It didn’t take me long to realise that all the knives they used in the kitchen were made by the manufacturer Global, which we’d just included in our latest test of kitchen knives. It was reassuring to see that a top chef thought as much of those knives as Which? does – especially as we’d just given them a high score for the second time.
Celebrity endorsed isn’t always best
But being associated with a top chef doesn’t always guarantee that a knife will be the best you can buy. We also tested knives with the names of Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc emblazoned on the handle – sadly they didn’t match the Global standard.
I always think it’s a shame when an inspiring TV chef has their name associated with a less than inspiring product – I’ve seen it several other times in our testing, with barbecues, steamers and health grills.
One thing that being involved in the Which? test of kitchen knives has taught me is that price is a really bad guide to how good a knife is. Our test awarded Best Buy status to one knife costing £100 and one costing less than £20, so you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on a knife to guarantee that it will be great.
Should you splash out?
Although they can be a cut above the rest, it’s hard to know whether it’s worth me splashing out on the really good Global knives when I don’t have the same skills as demonstrated by the hard-working young chefs in the kitchen of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon.
Is owning the best knife money can buy going to bring more confidence to my cooking? Or am I just going to feel guilty when I use them to chop cucumber and cherry tomatoes, rather than create astounding gastronomic delights?
I’m tempted to think it is worth the investment just to have a reliable, sharp and comfortable knife, whatever I’m cutting. But perhaps you’re happier with a more humble knife?