Masamoto Sohonten Ao-ko Honyaki Mirror-Finished Yanagi Knife
A Sabatier will do fine if you’re just looking to unwrap the occasional frozen pizza, but if you’re serious about cooking, you should look further east. The world’s best chef’s knives are handmade in Japan, and the best of those include the work of Masamoto Sohonten, a family business that began in 1872. Sohonten has always made knives (unlike many other Japanese firms, who started out making those crappy samurai swords), and every example of its expertise involves the labor of up to ten craftsmen. Each has a specific job, such as combining iron and carbon steel for the blades, or making the mirrored finish. The resulting knives, which take around three months to finish, are every bit as specialized as the men who make them: The Yanagi pictured here is a top-of-the-line sashimi knife. Be warned: It’ll slice through toro like butter, but would be ruined by something as tough as an apple (or, say, a DiGiorno box).
Time to make: 3 months Price: $2,373 Web site: korin.com