In the modern kitchen, where toasters, microwaves, blenders, and various high-tech gadgets have found their place, there’s still no replacing the most ancient culinary tool: the knife. Yet, selecting a set of essential kitchen knives can be a daunting task, with a bewildering array of options in terms of price, quality, style, and steel types. If you’re a frequent cook and willing to invest in long-lasting, high-quality knives, then allocate a budget that reflects your commitment to years of culinary craftsmanship. The ease with which you can handle the knife is crucial. Most experienced cooks agree that a collection of three or four knives can cover the majority of your culinary needs. These typically include a versatile chef’s knife for chopping meat and vegetables, a paring or utility knife for precision work with smaller ingredients, a larger vegetable knife for handling bulkier produce, a serrated knife for slicing bread and tougher-skinned items, and optionally, a carving knife for those instances when you need to carve thin slices of meat.