I’m always looking for ways to upgrade my kitchen — who isn’t? Besides appliances, one thing I frequently return to is knives: which are best for what purpose, and which can help me slice, dice, chop, and even peel like a master. I’ve tried all kinds of knives, and for a while, I thought more expensive meant better—you get what you pay for. For something like a Chef’s Knife, this logic is true—but for a paring knife, I recently discovered, it’s actually the opposite.
There’s this little Instagram account out there run by David Chang—the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, New York Times bestselling author, podcaster, and TV Host —called @normalpot. On it, Chang tests products like a tomato slicer, or an air fryer—but recently, he posted about his take on the best paring knife and I was intrigued. He starts out by saying, “There’s no reason to buy a fancy paring knife,” and continues on talking about how, “This is the most indispensable tool in professional kitchens,” and how “most everyone uses these paring knives in pro kitchens.”
“Victorinox is my brand of choice,” he says and he leaves it at that. So I decided to find out why and compare it with a fancy one. The difference comes from what kind of metal is used in the blade, and what the handle is made from. The Victorinox knife has a plastic handle and a blade made from stainless steel, while something like a Shun is strikingly more beautiful and has a carbon blade and a wooden handle. The Shun is more durable and better looking, for sure, but here’s the thing: both knives can get wicked sharp but only one you’ll want to use for doing everything a paring knife should be used for—whether that’s peeling, deveining, or even opening packages.
And I think that’s what Chang is getting at here, or at least what I experienced when I put the two to the test. Your paring knife is meant to be used, not looked at. It’s the one doing the dirty work—it’s meant to be roughed up, and replaced every now and again. This is the paring knife you should purchase—save your money for a fancy Chef’s knife.
Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Straight Paring Knife