The Everything Guide to Shopping for Knives

Starting with the chef’s knife. If you only have room for one blade in your life, make it this one.

By Nick Marino Photo by Bobby Doherty

The only knife you really need is shaped like a torpedo. It is 100 percent stainless steel, unspoiled by even a particle of plastic, but still made for just about any kitchen, anywhere. After consulting 25— chefs, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, James Beard nominees, and an iconic knife dealer — I can confidently say that if you’re going to buy one knife, it should be the Global G-2. It’s a chef’s knife, which means it’s an all-purpose tool in a category of five- to eight-inch blades that cover just about all of your chopping needs. You can spend less than $10 and more than $1,200 on a chef’s knife; this one costs $100. That price buys you something that feels like a piece of engineering in your hand, when it feels like anything at all.

To be clear, our panelists didn’t unanimously pick the Global G-2: Some cooks prefer heavier knives or shorter knives or knives that cost as much as a sofa. Actual chefs describe what they expect of their knives in a few ways. “Really, what you want is a knife that’s durable, that holds its edge a long time,”says restaurateur Tim Love, who owns several meat-centric restaurants in Texas, including Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Austin and Fort Worth, and who likes Global’s products. Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen says almost the exact same thing: “My favorite knife is the Global G-2; it holds a sharp edge very well.” Other chefs more quickly refer to the size of the blade as the most essential quality: “If you’re using a knife constantly, you want it to feel comfortable,” adds Amanda Cohen, the chef-owner behind New York vegetarian restaurant Dirt Candy. “It should be your friend,” and your friend, Cohen says, won’t be too long or heavy for a petite chef.

Global G-2 Chef’s Knife 8” Global knives are made in Japan, in an explicit homage to samurai warriors. The G-2 has an unusual dimpled handle that feels like a bicycle grip. This same handle is hollow, which explains the knife’s mere 7.84 ounces. These attributes — samurai-inspired and hollow — mean the whole thing feels like it disappears into your hand when you use it. And when you’re done with it, it’s forgivingly easy to clean and handsome to display.