Why spend money on a good knife? Your chef knife, like mine (shown here), is the single most used tool for every meal. The reason....if you're cooking with fresh produce, you need something a sharp knife to help you efficiently prep your fruits and veggies.
Look for deals on online stores to receive free shipping or discounts. Don't shy away from spending $50-$100 on a single chef knife. It will last you decades, if you care for it. I handwash with mild detergent and sharpen the knife by a professional every 6 months. If you cook every day, you will use a knife like this. I personally use the Santuko 10' inch knife with the hallow edges. I like it because it's lightweight and fits well in my hand.
Where do you sharpen your knives? If you have a local culinary program in your town, there is usually a supply store nearby. Look up chef or culinary supply stores. The place I go to for sharpening sells top of the line brands of equipment, including cutlery, and even good quality generic industrial items. It's a great place while you're there to pick up affordable and functional tools like paring knives, collanders, and other useful gadgets.
Don't cut yourself!
I see some near-misses when I see people chopping. It's also a good idea to check out knife skills videos to ensure that you're cutting safely. Here's great one I found from Bobby Flay in the Food Network test kitchens.
Remember, last tips:
- Keep your knife sharp (every 6 months)
- Use a stable surface
- Good quality wood cutting board (no plastic, glass)
- Tuck your fingers
- Use the right knife (Paring, tomato, bread, etc) - more on that later!