Q. My wife has been asking me to buy her a good set of kitchen knives. Something that will last, at a reasonable price. Can you also give me a location where to purchase the knives. (You like some restaurant supply house that I’ve heard you talk about on the radio.)
A. Do not buy a set of knives. It seems like a great bargain–getting all those different knives, and a wooden block to store them in. But in fact most of the set will be knives you will rarely need or use.
It’s much better to put that money into buying just two or three knives. The biggest expense should be for a big French chef’s knife–the kind with the curved blade. Hold your breath and spend some real money on this–perhaps over $100. The second essential knife will be much less expensive, but you’ll use it so much you want it to be the best: a paring knife. The third knife should be a hollow-ground (with the dimples on the sides) carving knife–but if you’re trying to keep the expenditure down, you can get along without that one. Finally, get a steel to keep the edges true and sharp, and something to store the knives in or on.
I buy all my equipment these days from Caire Restaurant Supply, 433 N. Bernadotte Street in Mid-City. They’re a long-term sponsor of my radio show (I tell you that for full disclosure), but they are professionals and have the good stuff, instead of the cheap or cosmetic equipment.
One more thing: under no circumstances should you buy major knives with those fine serrations. They cut rope well, but when they lose their edge, they’re garbage.