Woody's Product Reviews: Kitchen Knives: Chicago Cutlery, Faberware, and WÜSTHOF.
As I've written before, I had 13+ year carrier as a cook, kitchen manager, and manager in restaurants. Back in the good old days, all the knives (at least the only ones cooks wanted to use) were "Chicago Cutlery" Chefs knives. We primarily used the 8" and 10" versions. As far as I can tell, they no longer make the 10" version. Thankfully I bought one of each shortly after I quit the restaurant business and still have them both today.
They are wonderful knives, primarily due to the heavy weight and the balance. You have to sharpen them fairly often, but in my mind they make up for that in the feel in your hand.
Now, to be honest, there are a zillion different types and styles of knives. My taste in knives may well be very different than yours. My preference, because of what I was given to use in the restaurant, was, and is, the classic chef knife, seen below. They are great, and what I've used at home since 1979. Below is the 8" version that you can still purchase today. I still have mine and love it for bigger harder jobs, like cutting a watermelon, big cabbage, large pieces of meat, etc.
They're incredibly inexpensive, and really great, heavy-duty, knives. If you want something light and smaller, this is probably not the knife for you.
So, if you want a relatively cheap, but heavy-duty, long-lasting, quality Chef's knife I'd recommend the 8" Chicago Cutlery Knife seen below. I looked all over the place for a replacement for mine and Amazon simply had the lowest prices
Chef's Knife (Chicago Cutlery)
Some of My Chicago Cutlery and Wusthof Knives
My wife got a set of Faberware knives and a block for Christmas from my parents. I didn't really like them. The handles were so small I wouldn't feel comfortable using them. The balance was wrong (for me), and the blades seemed rather thin, and they basically didn't have the weight, balance, and feel that I could use.
However, my wife loved them!!! She said they fit her hand better than my knives, and she simply felt more comfortable using them. Well, I said early on that everyone has their own preferences in knives. They do seem fairly well made and the steak knives in the set are great! What I don't like are the chef's knives and larger knives. They just don't work for me.
If you do have smaller hands and prefer a lighter, thinner knife set, I'd recommend a Faberware set.
My Wusthof Collecion
Recently my wife has been remodeling our house (you can read previous
Hubs for more info). A consequence is that I'm doing most of the
cooking now, which I LOVE! My 30+ year old Chicago Cutlery knives are
still in good shape, but a Christmas present gave me the opportunity to
get some "high-end" knives. Honestly, I was really skeptical because I
love my CC knives. But, not being one to look a gift horse in the
mouth, I researched and eventually bought some quality knives. I was
very picky because if I was going to spend more on a knife, it had
better be the best darned knife in the world. For me, the whole key was
the feel, balance, weight, and sharpness.
Well, the Wusthof knives just blew my mind. You can easily get by with a Chicago Cutlery Chef Knife, I mean I did for 30+ years and loved them. But I suppose it's like driving a decent Mustang, or Corvette, compared to a high-end Lamborghini or Ferrari.
The Wusthof knives are heavy, yet perfectly balanced. They are razor sharp and the entire knife is one piece of high-quality forged steel... not stamped from a sheet of steel like CC, Faberware, etc. The handles are perfectly sized (for me), perfectly weighted, and the material resists any kind of slippage when your hands are greasy or wet.
The blades themselves feel lighter, but stronger, than my CC knives. They make any kind of knife-work fast and simple. The feel is just really great.
If you have the money to spend, just go to the link below. The Wusthof Classic is probably the Style you want. They come in sizes from 6" to 10" and I just can't recommend them highly enough.
Consider that if taken care of, these knives will last you a lifetime. Your kids and grand kids will be using them long after you are gone.
Click the link below to check them out in more detail. You probably only need an 8" for 70% of what you'll do, actually I use the 9" more than any of them. They are REALLY great knives, at least in my opinion!!