Jean's little adventure at the Restaurant Warehouse got me thinking about something near and dear to my heart: Equipment. Good tools are a essential to professionals like myself and HawaiiChef and there is no reason those people not in the business shouldn't have the same access to all the toys we get. :)
That being said, I will try to post a different item every week as well as my recommendation on where to purchase it. Some things may surprise you, and I hope that we can share our stories and learn from each other. :)
First off, knives. This is a mixed bag since there is no one size fits all but there are three basic knives you should have: a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a serrated/bread knife.
As far as a chef knife goes, you have to find what works best for you, which means picking it up and holding it. Got small hands? Don't get anything over an 8 inch blade and look for something that isn't too heavy. You might think heavy equals durability, but if using your knife to cut just one tomato tires your hands out, it's too heavy. This is one area where you should splurge, since the best names and the better varieties will cost money.
And as a side note, as nice as they are, stay away from a ceramic knife as primary knife. I own one, love it, but hardly use it. It's great as a splurge item, but my day to day knife is the same one I've had for almost 10 years.
Paring knives: Buy cheap and buy Asian. Some of my favorate paring knives have come from Korean/ Japanese groceries and are commonly called "fruit knives". They usually come with a cover, which is a wonderful bonus because it keeps the blade from getting dull.
Serrated/Bread knives: I don't care what ANYONE says, you cannot sharpen a serrated knife. Buy cheap and plan to pitch it when it goes dull. You can also see if a knife sharpening shop will grind the serrations off, leaving you with a carving type knife. Target has a cheap line of Henkels and the serrated knife is only $10.
Any other knives are just bonus. A good chef's knife can do just about anything when used properly. The only other type you might want to invest in is a fillet/boning knife and that is only if you want to clean your own fish or meats. Otherwise, save your money :)
Comments? Questions? Flames? :)