We Tested the Favorite Knives of 4 Celeb Chefs and (Gasp) Ina Garten’s Wasn’t the Winner

updated Nov 8, 2023
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4 chef's knives on a graphic colored background
Credit: Williams-Sonoma, Amazon

A good chef’s knife is a versatile workhorse. It’s the one you’ll use most often. It’s obviously important to find a knife that fits your hands well and meets your needs around the kitchen. But buying a knife is similar to buying a car — a lot comes down to personal preference.

Because there are so many chef’s knives to choose from, we tracked down the favorite knives from four of our favorite pro cooks. Then we took those knives on a test drive of sorts to determine our favorite. Here’s what we tested and our ratings for each one.

Quick Overview

The Best Celeb Chef’s Knife: Shun Classic Western Chef’s Knife

The knife that topped our testing is Bobby Flay’s favorite, the Shun Classic Western Chef’s Knife. The heft and comfort of the handle, sharpness of the blade, and overall balanced proportions made it stand out against the others.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Ina’s Favorite: Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

When we interviewed Ina Garten during her Cook Like a Pro book tour, she said that the number one tool every single home cook needs is a “good knife.” Of course, there are lots of “good” knives out there. But Ina’s favorite? Knives from the Wüsthof Classic line, namely the 8-Inch Classic Chef’s Knife.

“They’re what I use. They’re pretty expensive, but they last a lifetime. That’s why I say, ask for one as a gift or buy one at a time,” Ina told us, admitting that they’re a bit of an investment — but totally worth it.

The German-made chef’s knife is forged from high-carbon steel meant to help prevent rust and stains. It’s also full tang, meaning the metal blade runs all the way from the tip to through the handle to the base. Simply put, this knife is meant to stand up to even the strongest watermelon or butternut squash.

The Kitchn’s Thoughts

Although we trust Ina with our lives and usually love Wüsthof knives, it felt different when we were comparing it to other knives. It had the thickest, clunkiest blade and handle, which made us feel like we had less control than with the others.

This Wüsthof was also the least sharp of the knives we tested, and while knife weightiness is often a matter of personal preference, this one felt of-kilter in our hands. A rare miss from Ina, this knife was “good,” but not “great.”

Rating: 6/10

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Giada’s Favorite: Coltellerie Berti Medium Chef’s Knife

We were not surprised that Giada swears by Italian-made Coltellerie Berti knives. On her lifestyle site, Giadzy, she refers to them as her “all-time favorite.” Giada loves Berti because they’re “handmade in Italy, [and] have been made in the same way since 1895.” Each Berti knife is handmade from start to finish by a single knife-maker and the gorgeous-looking cutlery even made an appearance on Giada’s Food Network series, Giada in Italy. We have just one question: Does Giada love Berti knives more than she loves

mascarpone cheese

The Kitchn’s Thoughts

We’ve never sliced an onion so thinly than with Berti’s super sharp blade. The sleekness of the lightweight lucite handle canceled out the heaviness of the blade, making it feel perfectly in proportion in our hands.

One slight issue we have is that it’s the priciest knife on the list by a pretty hefty margin. That being said, this knife earns an extra point for being the most visually unique. Each blade is engraved with the specific artisan’s initials and the slender ivory lucite handles are stunning. While you might be hesitant to put the Berti to work in your kitchen, know that it’s as durable as it is gorgeous.

Rating: 7/10

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Ree’s Favorite: Wüsthof Classic Hollow Edge Nakiri Knife

Ree Drummond diverges from the group a bit here, pledging her loyalty to a cleaver-style Wüsthof Classic Hollow Edge Nakiri Knife. She sung the knife’s praises back in 2012 in a blog post about “a few of [her] favorite things,” (sung to the tune of The Sound of Music). Ree says, “a good knife is essential in the kitchen and this one’s my favorite. It makes my heart go pitter-pat.”

The Kitchn’s Thoughts

The Nakiri knife isn’t your traditional chef’s knife, but it slices, dices, and chops all the same. The shape prevents you from rocking it back and forth on a cutting board like you would with a chef’s knife, but that actually gives you more control over the blade — which is why we really like this knife for beginners. We also liked that the wide blade doubles as a bench scraper. Thanks, Ree — this knife made our heart go pitter-pat, too.

Rating: 7/10

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Bobby’s Favorite: Shun Classic Western Chef’s Knife

Bobby has sung the praises of Shun, his favorite chef’s knife brand, on more than one occasion. The celebrity chef recommends the Shun Classic Western Chef’s Knife, which is handcrafted in Japan. “I pretty much use a chef’s knife for everything and Shun is one of my very favorite brands,” says Bobby, who has definitely sliced and diced more than a few tomatillos with this bad boy.

The Kitchn’s Thoughts

This is the knife that made us feel the most like a professional chef. The weightiness of the handle balanced the pull of gravity on the blade, helping us to easily slice with a confident rocking motion. The knife’s sharpness, the feel of the handle, and overall proportions worked together in perfect harmony.

Rating: 9/10

Methodology

To even the playing field, we sliced so. many. onions with each knife to get a feel for the grip, weightiness, and sharpness. When we were done crying, we used the knives for other random chopping tasks throughout the course of a week.

Your turn! What’s your go-to chef’s knife?