Newb is lost

Joined May 6, 2018
i accepted a job in a resort and it’s my first fine dining job and I have to take knives with me so I’m at a loss to figure out how what to buy on a fast casual budget
Joined Oct 1, 2006
Hello Jonicamp,

Sounds like your first knife set. Find the store with the biggest selection of knives in your area. I think you should handle a few different brands to find a comfortable fit for your hand, within your budget.

If you divulge your area, someone may be able to actually recommend a store.

I was never concerned with having a matching set. Chef knife and paring knife were never the same brand. I believe knives are functional tools, first and foremost. If and when you have extra money, get the hand made blades you would love to have. Start with good steel for now.

Just my opinion, of course...

Good Luck and have fun!
Joined May 29, 2013
Jonicamp, welcome to ChefTalk!

This forum is best when done as a "back and forth" conversation. There may be some details we need to know about your situation before we can come to the best conclusions. That means we need to work with you.

A few questions to help everyone stay on the same page.

First, what country are you in? We have gotten questions from around the world and cutlery availability is to a huge degree determined by national availability.

Second, what's your budget?

Third, how do you intend to maintain the sharpness of your knives' edges? Traditionally, it's the responsibility of any cook to maintain his or her professional tools. Since this is to be your first job, you will need to factor those skills, tasks and costs into the equation.

I'm going to make an off-the-cuff assumption here that you are in or going to some location in the USA. If not, then I would probably have to change my recommendations below. You're going to need all of this ASAP, so I'm going to recommend using ("CKTG")for a lot of this gear. Also, should be used.

First, you are going to need a chef's knife, a paring knife and a serrated edge knife, such as used to cut loaves of bread.

For the chef's knife, I would recommend a MAC BK-100 chef's knife, $109.95 ( ). Not fancy, but a real workhorse. It's big enough to do the work you'll be doing as a line cook, it's good steel and it's good value. I use mine as my go-to chef's knife. Yeah, Victorinox is less expensive, but Victorinox's steel ("X50CrMoV15" aka 4116 steel) is just much more of a pain in the neck to maintain than MAC Original steel. It's well worth the extra expense.

For the paring knife, I would recommend as inexpensive as possible. A small Victorinox spear-point paring knife ( ). Make sure you get the straight edge, not the serrated edge version. Basic, and not fancy.

For a serrated edge knife, which you will use for anything with a tough outer skin and a soft interior (such as bread, tomatoes, etc.), this is again where Victorinox does an adequate job. Look on and take your pick for a plastic handled, offset, 9 inch Victorinox serrated edge. You want at least that 9 inch length.

You'll need some knife edge guards as well - at least one per edge. CKTG has some cardboard guards at 49 cents each, or you can fold over some cardboard and use adhesive tape for the same effect.

Since you're going to be required to bring your own blades, you will be carrying them with you to and from work each day. To carry and store the knives, you will need a knife case. CKTG has several basic cases. I would suggest the 8-slot case, rather than the 5-slot case. The extra space will come in handy.

For maintenance, you need to be able to both hone and sharpen your edges. For honing, I would suggest a 12 inch fine grit Idahone, again from CKTG.

Honing of knife edges is essential, but you will also need to be able to sharpen your edges by metal removal. That means sharpening stones and accessories. You will need at least 3 grits: a coarse grit (500 grit or so, for repairs, where you need to remove a lot of metal), a medium grit (800 to 1200 grit, for basic maintenance) and a fine grit (3000 to 6000 grit, for refining your edges). CKTG has a 6 piece set for $175 that has stones with the grits you need, plus a hard felt deburring block, a stone tray and a diamond stone flattening plate.

I would also get the CKTG AngleGuide set at $11. It will allow you to establish the edge angles by direct feel without problems.

The resort restaurant should provide proper cutting surfaces.

Hope that helps.

Galley Swiller
Joined May 6, 2018
My bad I’m new to this forum too. I’m moving from Birmingham Alabama to Vail Colorado, in the USA. I have only worked in kitchens with house knives so that’s why I’m asking. My budget is low as this is a seasonal job that I took. And two weeks is crazy time frame to pack up and move across the country. The dollar amount for everything I need to start I can spend around $200 usd. I am planning to use a wet stone
Joined May 29, 2013
For $200, here's what I would spend on.

Concentrate on your chef's knife. Get the MAC BK-100. That's going to be $110. I disagree on a Victorinox, simply because it's just such a PITA to sharpen and to keep sharp. The MAC isn't fancy, but you need something in the 10 inch size as a line cook and the BK-100 is big enough and it will be a noticeable improvement over the Vic. I have both and I always reach for the MAC. No comparison - the MAC BK-100 is worth the difference. The one advantage of a Vic is if you're dealing with bone. Then, a "beater" knife is worthwhile to minimize risk to the edge of the BK-100.

For a paring knife, the Victorinox fibrox handle is a good value through basic. Same with a serrated edge bread knife. If you need to economize, then get something cheap for either of those two knives. The paring knife I referenced above is just over $7. If you need to economize, then a straight (non-offset) bread knife from Victorinox, such as Model # 41695 is available from Amazon for under $31.

If you don't already have anything for sharpening, then get a combination grit stone. 1K and 6K works, and there's a King Combination Stone, model KW65, for $26 from Amazon.

Yeah, it's worth the $11 for the AngleGuide set from CKTG. It's also worth at least $10 for a 5 slot knife roll from CKTG.

Your order from CKTG will come to $131. Ordering the paring knife, bread knife and King combination stone from will run you $64. Shipping is free from both sites for the total dollar amounts shown. That's $195. No sales tax on the CKTG, but there may be sales tax on Amazon's.

If you're moving that distance, and things are hectic, you really don't have the time to go running around the countryside looking for knives.

Galley Swiller
Joined Oct 1, 2006
Hi Jonicamp,

Vail's population is around 6,000 so I would not count on getting knives there. You have a couple of recommendations for different brands. I agree with absolute minimum of Chef, Paring and serrated. Might want a good veg. peeler too.

I would recommend actually touching the model of knife before buying. I don't think your hand size, how you hold your knife, or your cutting motion are exactly like mine. At 6'4" maybe my hands are bigger but not every knife is one that I would want to use all day, every day. The material, shape, and size of handles makes a big difference to me. The balance point and heft of the blade also matters to me. I never liked the distraction of working around the flaws of the knife (Blade too heavy or thin, handle too thick, thin, shaped uncomfortably, etc.) every time I use it.

But since these are your "I need them now" knives, you will have time to try more and buy more!

I hope you are happy with your new knives! Good luck on the big move and have fun out there!
Joined Nov 15, 2012
The problem with Vics is they have terribly shaped handles, and though a Dremel does fix them easily you may not have one at your disposal. Ihomeer has a great little chefs knife in AUS-8 steel for $14, and $60 gets you one in AUS-10 along with some bling, both better steels than the Vic. Any restaurant supply has cheap and useful serrateds, pairers, etc.

For 10" chefs an alternative to Vics is Wusthof Pro with a better shaped handle and harder steel, if you don't mind the bigger belly profile and higher tip.

This for an introductory waterstone

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