High performance = sharpness. A high performance kitchen knife is sharp, ultra-sharp. It’s as simple as that. Well, almost. Because it also must have the ability to stay sharp—even after doing a whole lot of cutting. So, not only must it slice up bags of carrots like a guillotine machine, but afterward, still be sharp enough to shred a head of kale.
Secondary to speed (and endurance), a high performance knife also needs to be comfortable. It needs to fit into your hand. It needs to let you skin a pile of pineapples without getting a cramp or sore spot in your palm.
Right about now you might be asking, Does your average home cook slice up bags of carrots? Or skin more than one pineapple in a single sitting? I don’t think so. So why should they care? Because, no matter what, a high performance knife will always make their kitchen prep easier, faster, and more fun.
Just because you’re not cooking up a storm 24/7, doesn’t mean you might not have episodes when a high performance knife can save the day.For example, you may not notice much difference while slicing up a few veggies for a salad, but, if for the very same meal, you need to dice an onion for a tomato sauce, suddenly high performance will come in handy. Or, in your usual routine of cooking only a couple meals a week for two light eaters, high-power cutting may be a low priority. But when the holidays roll around and you end up creating crudités and casseroles for large family gatherings, then a seriously sharp knife can make a quite a diff. Just because you’re not cooking up a storm 24/7, doesn’t mean you might not have episodes when a high performance knife can save the day. It’s a bit like cars, like driving a BMW. A high-performance knife can zip through food at high speeds without being thrown by an unexpected curve. Miyabi Artisan 8″ Chef Knife that’s beautiful, high performance, and a killer deal @ $140. Custom-designed for Sur La Table.)
And one more very very very very important caveat: Once you reach a certain level of knife quality (we’re talking roughly $80 and up), it’s not the knife, but more how well you maintain it (i.e. hone and sharpen) that determines whether it’s high performance or not. This is what KitchenKnifeGuru is all about!
Which brings us back to the second half of my title question . . . Do You Need One? By now, you probably already know if you do or not. But if you want some more input, take a look at the check list below.
And then again, does anybody really need a Ferrari?