Chefs often refer to kitchen tongs as an extension of their hands. For me, my tool of choice is a $25 10-inch Victorinox Forschner Chef's Knife: my Michelle.
Her large, non-skid grip is perfect for my oversize hands, and does not become slippery when wet or even oily. My Michelle has no silly blade offset or goofy tang. When I grip my Michelle properly my index finger fits perfectly over her handle, and my knuckle rests on the base of her blade. This affords me amazing control whether I’m slicing, chopping, or simply pontificating with my hands (extreme caution urged). My Michelle is balanced like a ballerina.
My Michelle’s blade is extremely sharp. I only use it on a base of wood or plastic, and I hone it after every use. My Michelle takes a break once a year to get professionally sharpened. I like to think she’s getting a little much-needed rest.
How much do I love my Michelle? During a dinner party two years ago, one of my guests was boasting how he could swiftly remove a Champagne cork with a large knife or sword. “Would you like to demonstrate?” I inquired. He politely declined due to my reputation for expensive, high-quality kitchenware. “Here, use this Henckels chef’s knife, it’s collecting dust.”
Don’t get me wrong: I do like my Henckels, and I like Wusthof. I like Global, and I like Shun. There is nothing wrong with any of these brands, all of whom make impressive knives. But I wouldn’t trade the world’s most expensive chef’s knife – or any kitchen tool, for that matter – for my Michelle.