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In Europe, the chef's knife is a sturdy tool that can chop and slice anything. In Japan it's a thin, light precision instrument. What happens when East meets West?

Published Nov. 1, 2009

What You Need To Know

A good chef’s knife is the single most essential piece of kitchen equipment—at least in the European-American tradition. It serves as an all-purpose tool for cutting, slicing, mincing, and chopping everything from herbs to vegetables to meat. The Western chef’s knife is 8 to 10 inches long, with a pointed tip for precision work, a thick spine for strength to push through tough foods...