I, like the professionals, love a good knife. A well-constructed knife with an edge sharp enough to get the job done is one of the only true kitchen essentials, as every chef and cookbook from Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Easy to Jessica Koslow’s Everything I Want to Eat will tell you. There’s a reason, after all, there’s something simply called a “chef’s knife.”
I found my favorite at The Good Liver, a wonderful Japanese home goods store in Los Angeles’ Arts District. The shop has many knives to choose from, but the standout is the Hocho Kobo HK-4 Gyuto Knife, aka the Long Chef’s Knife, by Tadafusa. Designed by Fumie Shibata, its ergonomic, fish-like shape is both chic and functional, making for smooth cutting in almost every instance. (My personal favorite: slicing onions, which this knife does with a strange, precise intuition.)
The knife itself is made and sold in the Japanese town of Sanjo, known for its blacksmithing since 1625. It’s crafted from two different types of steel, but my favorite part is really the wooden handle, which isn’t made of just any old wood. The chestnut wood is meticulously worked through a charcoaling process that ensures it’s water resistant and antibacterial. In other words, this knife isn’t just made to look pretty; it’s built to cut through anything and last through decades of repeated use.
Which, if you’re like me and exceedingly lazy, makes it a one-time purchase that’s well worth it. There are countless Japanese knives out there, and just as many divergent opinions on which is the best. But for the beginner looking for something beautiful, think of this streamlined Japanese knife as an investment — an investment in your future, living out your professional chef dreams.
Buy Tadafusa Hocho Kobo HK-4 Gyuto Knife, aka Long Chef's Knife, $168