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Generic Starter Kit?

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by Tony, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Is there such an animal as a generic starter kit for the knife novice? To clarify, I am looking for a decent quality set of very basic kitchen knives including a set of six or so "steak" knives in an "all-in-one" kit. Like the ones that appear to be set in their own "butcher block"/holder. I hope this makes sense. All suggestions are welcome along with pricing advice and a healthy dose of chastising if warranted. :D
  2. Jim

    Jim Old Curmudgeon Founding Member


    This is a tough question. Most of the "sets" are overly complex and have too many knives and less than optimal ones included.
    If you want to keep them in a block you can always source one and purchase one knife at a time, build your own toolkit as your cooking skills and needs are revealed and develop. There are a couple knives that are in almost everyones kit, such as a chefs knife, parer, etc. These are a good place to start building.

    A few things would be helpful to know such as what tasks do you see them to be used on, what is the plan to sharpen them, who will be using them, can you be sure they will not end up in the dishwasher and the hard question what is the budget.

    Many of our members have started with just a couple knives and slowly upgraded and filled out their kits.
  3. Thanks, Jim.

    Sagacious advice. I think I will keep reading and researching here until I am ready to go down the rabbit hole by starting with a couple of 'standard' knives(chef, parer, etc.).
  4. Jim

    Jim Old Curmudgeon Founding Member

  5. marc4pt0

    marc4pt0 Founding Member

    I think this would make a good starting point:

    -Chef Knife (gyuto), around 8" to 9" (210mm to 230mm)
    -Paring knife for small tasks, including in hand tasks that don't require a cutting board
    -Slicer (suji), around the same length range as the chef knife above
    -Bread Knife, nothing too big. In fact the smaller ones are better. Look for a Wusthof Ikon series 5" serrated. These are great for bread cutting in the home kitchen where space can be a premium. Plus they're great for tomato slices and sandwich cutting. I've had one readily available in my home kitchen for 7+ years. They're great, and durable. It's stood the tet of time and abuse from my wife as well, thus far.
    -Knife block- that's really a personal choice, subject to aesthetic appeal. You'll know what you need there.
    -Cutting board- this is just as important a decision as your knife selection. I say go with a quality, thick end grain board, as big as your space can afford. It's a purchase that will reward you for years to come.

    If you buy quality items here, they should last you a life time and then become family heirlooms to be passed down with love and cherished pride.

    Good luck, and enjoy the journey!
  6. DitmasPork

    DitmasPork Founding Member

    For a starter set, my *"blind" recommendation {*not knowing anything about your preferences, wa/yo handle, carbon/stainless, good/rudimentary knife skills, etc.}:

    Set 1, very good, solid, not too thin, western handled:
    • Mac Professional Mighty Chef Knife—245 or 210mm.
    • Mac Professional Utility Knife—125mm.
    • Mac Superior Tojiro Bread Slicer—275mm. (not essential, unless you make a lot of sandwiches, I'll often just use my gyuto for bread)

    Set 2, if wanting J-style handles, and comfortable with sharpening on whetstones:
    • Gesshin Stainless—210mm.
    • Gesshin Uraku Stainless Petty—150mm.


    I really feel it's best to start with as few knives as possible, until you discover what you want/need. Start with a chef knife, you'll probably be using that the most. Best not to spend much on starter knives. You'll likely get lots of different opinions on best starter knives.

    Good knife shops where I live will let you try different knives, cutting carrots and celery stalks to test them out. Talk with knowledgeable dealers, call Jon at JKI.

    Regarding steak knives—personal choice, you can go from cheap and good to outrageously over the top expensive.

    Tramontina and Chicago Cutlery make good cheap steak knives.

    For me, if money weren't an issue, and I wanted a major splurge, I'd get:
    Six carbon hankotsus
    Six Percival 9.47
    Six Languiole with snakewood handles
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018

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