Knowledge Base > Eric Wynkoop - Open Office Hours

Open Office Hours

Eric Wynkoop - Open Office Hours

This event was on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 at 11:00 am Pacific, 2:00 pm Eastern

Join Chef Eric Wynkoop in his virtual office as he welcomes all of your questions. This event was created for you and we encourage you to ask anything – from cooking techniques to co… Read More.



I'm looking to upgrade my knives. I'm seeing such a wide range in prices, even the same brands via different stores. Can you suggest brands and places to buy from? Perhaps direct from brand like Henckel?

— Nancy Steely


this is a great question and it's a kind of like the cookware question right where it's there's a broad playing field out there and therefore this conversation can you know can be a little bit lengthy but Let me first say that. selecting, you know cookware, you know ideally would be done in person and I understand that especially in places like the US that's more and more difficult because the old Cutlery stores are few and far between unfortunately, but I feel it's important to select a knife that's comfortable and If you can get your hand on the knife to feel how the handle, you know fits into your hand the shape and the size of your hand and then to feel the weight. and the balance of the knife that's a desirable experience before you plunk down, you know some money and you know, even if that means Kind of going to a friend's house and checking out their Cutlery to see if you know, it might be appealing to you. Okay, you know or maybe you can find you know, a one of these common retail stores that'll let you you know, at least hold the knife. If not use it to cut, you know, some onions or carrots or something just to get a feel for that would be very nice. All right. So, you know in terms of knives. prices first of all range from Accessible by most people to bespoke custom-made knives that can be, you know a thousand dollars, you know per item. Oh, for example, all right, so it is going to depend upon what your requirements are in terms of budget as well as image. Okay, and Now on one hand, I will share an example and this is a line of knives by Victorinox. And Victorinox is the company that makes the Swiss Army knives, for example. And they have multiple Cutlery lines, but one of them is called fibrox. And I find that the five rocks line of knives provides a good value. And in fact a number of years ago now the Consumer Reports Magazine rated their the Victorinox fibrox. Chef's knife as their Best Buy and it's I would considered on one hand and entry level knife in terms of price. But it's also a knife that you know, you can just use I really didn't matter how much experience you have or how much money you have in your wallet. You know, it's a knife that you know on one hand is inexpensive enough that if something happened to it, it wouldn't be some fantastic loss. You could easily replace it in terms of the blade. It's nothing to write home about it's a stamped steel blade which is considered sort of low on the totem pole of you know, quality or craftsmanship. It's got a molded rubber handle again. Nothing really exciting about that but it works. It's a work horse. They're durable. The metal is hard enough to hold its Edge. It's Cutting Edge for a reasonably long period of time yet. It's soft enough to sharpen and to maintain yourself if you choose to do that and you know, so with those points in mind I consider it to be a good value now. Again, it's not the most interesting, you know conversation worthy good-looking knife to have in your kitchen. And so there are many many others to choose from that are popular and many of those are great knives and it's really going to be up to you again to find a good feel a good fit and then give it a try. Most of these other knives that I can think of whether it's you know, a shun brand or a Mac brand or something else, you know, they might start you out at a price point that's you know, a little over a hundred bucks. Let's say for a knife and then go up from there. And so, you know, that's of course a personal decision that you get to way. Let me also note that Richard just listed up the Victorinox link. So please take a look at those if you're interested. And then also, you know when it comes to maintenance of knives and you know in this case metal knives rather than ceramic But Metal knives. use a steel, you know a holding steel, you know, once a day is probably enough for home cooks and you just to keep the The Edge straightened up and as sharp as it can be now over time that that Cutting Edge stores to wear down and to the point where putting it on the the honing Rod or steel won't really do any good and that's when you have to get them sharpened and So when you sharpen a knife you've got some choices, right? You can do it yourself with one of these simple sort of electric tools or sometimes even a manual sort of, you know, drag the blade through the the two discs sort of a product which which are fine. I think it's certainly better than nothing. But some of them are you do I think a decent job you can also use wet stones to maintain your own knives keep in mind that you know as cool as that sounds and as trendy as YouTube videos would make that out to be there's a learning curve and you know, you can do a lot of damage to your knives on your wet Stones, you know, as you're you're ramping up your your skills. So I always recommend a practice knife before you pull out your your really expensive knives to sharpen yourself. then the other alternative is to send the knives out to a professional knife sharpener and here I would also throw out a word of caution and that is to ask around and to find somebody that will indeed do a good job sharpening the knives and you if you're if you can't find a word of mouth recommendation, you might just send out a less expensive knife and see how it comes back and I say this because In the past a small thank goodness. A small number of our students have shared with me the results of sending a knife out to a professional who really lacked professional skills. And the this knife sharpener actually did about I'm not kidding you about 50 years worth of wearing down the knife on that one sharpening attempt. And so you do, you know look for the best person for that job. Okay. So in terms of where to buy knives, I'm gonna leave that up to you, you know the individual student in consumer to figure out you know, what's convenient for you and what makes sense for you. All right. Thank you.


Eric Wynkoop

Eric Wynkoop

Director of Culinary Instruction