You don’t need a “full set” of knives. Especially, you don’t need a Henckles or Wusthof set. Especially from the Home Shopping Network. What you do need is a good chef’s knife, at least $50, forged and made of high carbon stainless steel. Plus a boning knife. Then you’re good. You can do 90% of what you have to do in a professional kitchen with these two knives. The rest is garnish.
With knife skills as with most things, there is school and there is work. There is classic julienne and production julienne … and when Chef wants you to fill a six-inch hotel with mixed bell peppers julienne, classic would take you freaking hours. Not fun. So here’s the start of Chef Jim’s knife explainer.