I’m a Gear Pro — These Are the 3 Things I Use to Take Care of My Knives

published Jan 5, 2022
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Credit: Erika Tracy

As soon as I began to cook seriously, I learned one very key lesson: that’s it’s important to take care of your knives and keep them in good working condition. When I worked as a chef at a big New York City restaurant, it was easy. Once a week, a knife-sharpening service exchanged my all-purpose chef’s knife for a newly honed knife. After I stopped cheffing, I spent many years managing a kitchen-appliances testing laboratory and, in addition to overseeing testing, it was my responsibility to make sure all of our equipment was in good working order. For testing cookware, slow cookers, ranges, and even grills, sharp knives were essential tools — both for preparing ingredients, and then for slicing up steaks and roasts to see how well they were cooked.

Now, when I’m not writing or analyzing kitchen gear, you can find me in my own kitchen, giving my own personal collection of cutlery a hefty workout. Which brings me to this list: The three items I find absolutely essential when it comes to taking care of my knives. 

1. Chef’sChoice Trizor Electric Knife Sharpener

I know it’s pricey, but this appliance is indispensable for keeping my knives sharp. It helps me hold a knife steadily at the correct angle, which is virtually impossible to do freehand. Using diamond abrasives, it works very quickly and builds up a super-smooth, long-lasting edge in three stages. I’ve tried just about every knife sharpener on the market and trust me on this: The Chef’sChoice is the best and the easiest-to-use sharpening device out there. I also like the fact that it can put an edge on the Asian-style and serrated knives in my collection.

If you don’t want to invest in an electrical sharpener and/or don’t want another appliance to store, you can do a fairly good job with the handheld Chef’sChoice ProntoPro. While you won’t achieve quite as smooth an edge, you will definitely be able to produce a sharp one with minimal effort. 

2. Edlund KR-698 Stainless Steel 10-Slot Knife Rack with Open Base

The holder I have in my kitchen is made of wood and is decades old. It isn’t available anymore, but the one above is similar in design, with slots to hold an assortment of knives. I know the magnets in magnetic holders are super strong, but I like the fact that, with this style, there’s absolutely no chance that knives will be knocked off. As my kitchen is small, stashing my knives on the wall means I don’t have to sacrifice precious countertop space or room in one of my two drawers. Plus, this holder won’t damage knife blades as they slide in or out.

3. Scotch-Brite Dobie All-Purpose Pads

I’m pretty fanatical about keeping my knives clean. With Dobie Pads, I can scour off any sticky/icky stuff like garlic bits and meat juices without scratching the blades. Note: I always hand-wash my knives. In the dishwasher, the blades can get damaged and/or put little nicks in the dishwasher basket tines or other items I’m washing. Plus, I avoid the possibility of anyone accidentally cutting themself when they’re unloading the machine. For the record, Dobie pads are great for cleaning nonstick cookware as well.

What are the essentials you suggest for taking care of your knives? Tell us in the comments below!