20 chef knives for for serious food prep

No chef's arsenal is complete without a good set of knives. In fact, it's the first big sign that you're ready to start cooking meals as opposed to just warming them up. Here are 20 knife sets that any chef would be proud to own, from visually stunning old-world metallurgy to sleek modern cutlery.

Mini Chef Knives: Set of 3

Taking your recipes on the road? These Damascus steel blades are sharp, easy to wield even in tight quarters and come with their own sheath for traveling.

MSRP: $99.40

Sale Price: $74.99

Laguiole Steak Knife

The Laguiole is another full portable knife that's sure to impress any crowd. The hypnotic pattern is a side effect of the hand-forging process that also gives it up to a 58 rating on the hardness scale, with a precision edge to match.

MSRP: $57.40

Sale Price: $43.99

Rose Wood Chef Knives: Set of 4

Jay Knives brings you these heat-treated Damascus knives that feature a flat grind for a clean cut every time. The ironwood handle is a perfect complement for the patterned steel.

MSRP: $99.40

Sale Price: $74.55

Gotham™ Steel Pro Cut Japanese Style Super Sharp Knife: Set of 2

Looking for a more timely feel? The blade and handle on these stainless steel knives are forged from a single piece, with non-slip accents on the grip.

MSRP: $19.99

Sale Price: $15.99

Monroe Knives: Set of 5

Wood sheets and resin combine for the handles on this comprehensive set, and the knives are no slouch either. The blades are forged with steel layered a painstaking 240 times or more, and it shows.

MSRP: $190.40

Sale Price: $142.99

Damascus Steak Knives: Set of 4

Wonder why you're seeing so many Damascus steel knives popping up? They cut as good as they look, and this set is no exception. This foursome sports classic handles made from pakkawood and rosewood.

MSRP: $214

Sale Price: $117.99

Damasukasu Japanese 3-Piece Master Chef Hanshu Knife Set

These knives are ones to keep. Their ancient forging process adds modern touches like nitrogen cooling, and the result is a super-hard carbon-rich blade with a 12 degree edge.

MSRP: $299.99

Sale Price: $69.99 (after a $130 price drop)

Japanese Pro Olive Wood Kitchen Knives: Set of 4

These handmade knives require a little extra care, but you'll see why when you use them. The etched Damascus steel blades cut meat and raw veggies with equal precision.

MSRP: $99.40

Sale Price: $74.99

Precision 2-Piece Starter Chef Knife Set

These stainless steel, non-stick blades will have any entree sliding off the edge in seconds. The ergonomic design ensures that your fingers won't be in the way. (And the looks are a big fringe benefit.)

MSRP: $49.90

Sale Price: $29.90

Pro Chef's Knives with Henkel Rosewood + Special Burl: Set of 5

This Jay Knives set includes a 2.5" paring knife and a workhorse butcher's knife. Between the two, you've got everything you need for any dish, and they're all forged with the same 176-layer Damascus steel process.

MSRP: $134.40

Sale Price: $99.99

5-Piece Professional Damascus Chef's Kitchen Set

This set includes a serrated knife for bread or tougher meats. The rosewood and leather handle on all five are a great fit for any kitchen decor.

MSRP: $475

Sale Price: $179.99

Black Diamond Knife Block & 5-Piece Blue Primal Ceramic Knife Set

If you haven't tried ceramic blades yet, this lightweight set is a good introduction. The knives are visually stunning enough on their own, but the set comes with an angular "float" knife block that's practically a piece of sculpture.

MSRP: $359.80

Sale Price: $150

Black Diamond Knife Block & 4-Piece Precision Professional Knife Set

Basic black more your speed? These four versatile ceramic knives include the same angular block design.

MSRP: $215.80

Sale Price: $135

SmartPan 3-Piece Knife Set

Ever wonder why certain knives have perforations or hashing on the blade? It's to prevent cheese and other foods from sticking to the side. The Santoku knife in this ultra-sharp set is the perfect example of that functionality.

MSRP: $39.99

Sale Price: $15.99 (after a $4 price drop)

Olive Wood Japanese Style Knives: Set of 5

The bold olive wood handles on this set say that these knives mean business. The hand-forged Damascus steel blades back up that claim.

MSRP: $176.40

Sale Price: $132.99

Cuta Chef Knives: Set of 5

With the occasional polish, these Damascus steel knives will last for years. Which is good, because cutting with them is the best part of any meal prep - especially if you've got an audience.

MSRP: $162.39

Sale Price: $121.99

Teak Star Slim 9.8" 005TS Cutting Board & 4-Piece Arondight Knife Set

This one's a great deal if you need a cutting board to practice your skills. The teak wood board has a geometric simplicity that goes well with this modern design of these stainless steel single-piece tools.

MSRP: $155.80

Sale Price: $110

Small Magnetic Knife Rack & 4-Piece Arondight Knife Set

Need to save a little space in your kitchen? These streamlined Arondight blades stick firmly to the magnetic teak wood board, suitable for mounting on a convenient wall.

MSRP: $165.80

Sale Price: $120

Super-Sharp Kitchen Knives: 3-Piece Set

The name says it all about these zirconium ceramic knives. As a bonus, the company that makes them donates a portion of every purchase to Feeding America and its work to provide meals for the needy.

MSRP: $276

Sale Price: $58

CRIMSON G10 2-Piece Chef & Paring Knife Set

The fiberglass resin handles on these modern knives don't just look great; they absorb moisture so that you've got the most control possible while the German steel blades do their work.

MSRP: $99.99

Sale Price: $64.99 (after a $10 price drop)

Price subject to change.

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