Top 5 Best Knife Sets for Culinary Students (2021 Review)

Going to culinary school is a dream for many people, a dream you can make a reality.

Cooking is a competitive world, especially if you’re dreaming of being a Michelin Star chef someday.

If you want to be able to compete, you need to have the right tools available. For a chef that starts with having the right knives to get the job done.

You need the right knives long before you’re working in a restaurant. You’ll need them day one in culinary school too.

I know how important it is to have a great set of knives in hand when you’re starting culinary school. Even if you have a set of knives provided in the classroom, it’s important to have knives that you can practice with at home.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • What knives you need in a culinary knife set
  • Why it’s important to have good knives for culinary school
  • And much more!

Below is a quick list of my favorite knife sets for culinary students. Keep scrolling to learn more about my top tips to choose and use the best knife sets for culinary school!

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Ross Henery Professional Knives, 10 Piece Stainless Steel Eclipse Premium Chefs Kitchen Knife Set
  • Designed for culinary students
  • Full tang
  • High-quality stainless steel
  • Designed for culinary students
  • Full tang
  • High-quality stainless steel
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DALSTRONG Knife Set Block - Gladiator Series Colossal Knife Set
  • Large knife set
  • High quality German stainless steel
  • Ergonomically designed
  • Large knife set
  • High quality German stainless steel
  • Ergonomically designed
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Cuisinart C77SS-15PK 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set
  • Highly affordable
  • Large knife set
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Highly affordable
  • Large knife set
  • Lightweight and comfortable
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Mercer Culinary Züm 10-Piece Forged Knife Set in Case
  • Designed for culinary students
  • Comes with a carry case
  • Wide variety of knives
  • Designed for culinary students
  • Comes with a carry case
  • Wide variety of knives
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Slitzer Germany 7-Piece Chef's Knife Set
  • Ergonomic design
  • Comes with a carry case
  • Durable no-slip grip
  • Ergonomic design
  • Comes with a carry case
  • Durable no-slip grip
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My Overall Top #1 Pick: Ross Henery Professional Knives, 10 Piece Stainless Steel Eclipse Premium Chefs Kitchen Knife Set

This set made my top pick because of it’s versatility and completeness.

This 10-piece set includes your most versatile knives, including a chef’s knife, utility knife, and a paring knife.

It also includes some specialty tools– a cleaver, carving knife, and a carving fork.

All the knives in this set are made of high-quality stainless steel and come with their own blade covers.

The travel pack included with this kit is a fantastic addition to a set for culinary school. You’ll be able to take this knife set with you, whether you’re traveling by car, mass transit, or even walking to and from school.

This set is an improvement on the Ross Henery 9 Piece Professional knife set, and is clearly designed for chefs, cooking professionals, and students.

Top 5 Best Knife Sets for Culinary School

In a hurry? Check out my top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these culinary knife sets

  1. Ross Henery Professional Knives, 10 Piece Stainless Steel Eclipse Premium Chefs Kitchen Knife Set (My Top Pick)
  2. DALSTRONG Knife Set Block – Gladiator Series Colossal Knife Set (Best High-End)
  3. Cuisinart C77SS-15PK 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set (Best Budget)
  4. Mercer Culinary Züm 10-Piece Forged Knife Set in Case
  5. Slitzer Germany 7-Piece Chef’s Knife Set

What are the Advantages of a High-Quality Knife Set for Culinary School?

There are a lot of reasons to invest in your own knives if you’re considering going to culinary school, or even if you’re already enrolled.

For one thing, having good knives will help you increase your chopping speed faster. They also tend to have better handles that are designed to give you more control than the handles on cheaper, lower quality knives.

Buying your culinary school knives in a set also comes with a few advantages. Starting with a good set of knives will feel more consistent and give you more control early on, while you’re still learning proper knife safety for an industrial kitchen.

While you’ll probably want to add other knives to your collection later on, starting with a set also gives you the basics of everything you’ll need. Good culinary school knife sets are designed with versatility in mind. Every knife in a good set is designed to compliment the others.

Read More: >> The Best Knives for Cutting Bone

My Culinary School Provides Knives – Should I Still Buy My Own?

Now, you may be wondering if you should still get a knife set as a culinary student if your culinary school includes a set with their tuition costs. After all, going to school is expensive enough. Why buy extra equipment if you don’t need to?

The answer to your question? You absolutely should buy your own set of knives.

Why?

Because knives provided by culinary schools tend not to have the level of professional quality that you’re going to need as a chef, or even just as a cook in a busy restaurant. Even if you’re required to use the knives provided by the school, it’s still a good idea to have a set of knives you use when you’re practicing at home.

Not only does that help protect your knives from constant wear and tear damage (culinary school is famously hard on knives), it also means that you have a spare available if one of your knives breaks.

Having two sets of knives also gives you the opportunity to get used to two different styles. This will actually help you figure out what features are most important to you as a chef. Not just what features make for a great knife but which features you’ll use and rely on most, personally.

Not sure why you need a knife that works well for you? This article looks at why knife skills matter.

Why Not Buy Cheap Knives For Culinary School and Expensive Knives for Graduation?

This is a common question, and there are a lot of reasons you might not want to go this route, but I’m going to focus on two of the most important reasons.

Cheap Knives Wear Out Faster

One of the biggest downsides of cheaper knives for professionals and students is that they wear out incredibly quickly. Even the best knife maintenance in the world won’t save a knife that isn’t well designed or is made from cheap steel.

You’ll end up spending just as much on your knives in the long run when you buy cheaper lower-quality knives because you’ll replace them. A lot.

Cheap Knives Need More Maintenance

The other big reason I don’t recommend buying cheaper knife sets for culinary school is that low-quality knives need a lot of upkeep.

You’ll end up spending a lot more time sharpening knives that are made from lower quality steel. That’s time you could spend studying, practicing a difficult technique, or you know, getting some relaxation in between classes.

How to Pick the Best Knife Sets for Culinary Students

Now that we’ve talked about why you need a great knife set for culinary school, lets talk about what culinary students should be looking for in a knife set.

Look for Sets That Include A Honing Steel

A honing steel is one of the most important aspects of a great knife set. Once you have a good steel you may not need another, but for a starter set for culinary school, I highly recommend looking for a set that has one.

That said, not 100% of the sets I recommend come with their own honing steel, which is partially a recognition that many people already have one. It’s also because a honing steel is one of the few tools you can get separately early on and still trust that it will work as well as a steel included in your basic kit.

Read More: >> How to Use a Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener

Your Knife Set Should Have At Least 6 Knives

A complete knife set for culinary school should have at least 6 different knives included. That’s not a 6-piece set that includes a pair of scissors and a steel– It means 6 knives. That’s because the knives are the most valuable part of any set, and the most versatile.

Six knives– including a chef’s knife, a bread knife, a paring knife, and a utility knife, will give you good versatility. It matters less what the other two knives are, but if you’re getting a set that only has six, you should avoid sets that include more than one duplicate.

This video talks about the variety of knives you’ll use as a chef, and covers the incredible variety of knives that you may use in culinary school. It’s a great primer to help get you started.

Still looking for more knife information? Check out my Complete Guide to Kitchen Knives.

Buy Stainless Steel

Later in your culinary career, you may want to get a few high-carbon steel knives. However, when you’re starting as a student the durability and low maintenance of stainless steel cannot be beaten.

As a plus, stainless is more affordable than high-carbon steel as high-carbon steel requires a lot more maintenance and care. High-carbon steel might take a sharper edge than stainless steel, but it can’t maintain that edge for as long so you’ll need to sharpen high-carbon steel more often than it’s worth.

My Reviews of the Best Knife Sets for Culinary Students

1. Ross Henery Professional Knives, 10 Piece Stainless Steel Eclipse Premium Chefs Kitchen Knife Set

This set won my top pick slot for being one of the most versatile and high-quality options, while also being affordable for most culinary students.

The set’s carry case makes it easily portable along with the rest of your school equipment.

All of the handles are ergonomic and designed for comfort in your hand, even if you’re working with your knives for hours.

That comfort is especially important for students since your hands might not have the calluses a professional develops with time.

 This set also comes with a good carving fork and a honing tang. The honing tang will help you keep the knives in good condition for longer. Solid steel construction also makes the knives significantly more durable.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Incredibly durable
+ Ergonomic knife design
+ Included carry case
+ Blade guards for all knives included
+Versatile and complete set
– All Western designs
– Minimal curves through the belly of some knifes

2. DALSTRONG Knife Set Block – Gladiator Series Colossal Knife Set

If you’re looking for something a little higher end than average, or a set of knives that will likely last into your professional career, the Gladiator series is a good option.

Dalstrong is known for using the best German steel, which means that these knives are especially durable and effective.

The handles are also ergonomic and long lasting. The full tang inside each handle helps protect the knives and keeps them significantly more stable for greater durability.

This huge set also contains some duplicate knives, which is fantastic for culinary school because you won’t have as much wear and tear on any one knife.

Combine that with the Granton sides on some of these blades, their incredibly sharp factory finish, and the sharp point on every knife, and you have an incredibly effective design.

The biggest downsides of this set are that it’s rather bulky and doesn’t come with any kind of carry case or roll storage, so you’ll need to purchase that separately.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Full tang design
+ 18 piece knife set
+ Granton blades
+ Honing steel included
+ Comfort grip, no slip handles
– No carry case included
– Several duplicate knives

3. Cuisinart C77SS-15PK 15-Piece Stainless Steel Hollow Handle Block Set

Cuisinart might not offer the finest knife sets in the world, but their knives are affordable, well designed, and relatively durable.

If you need to go with a more affordable option, but still want to get your money’s worth from the design, these knives are one of the best options.

They come with a good factory edge, plenty sharp enough for cutting most anything you need to.

This lightweight design is also a good option for helping you get used to cutting and preparing a lot of food at once.

The solid steel design is also particularly durable. However, the hollow handle design (which reduces the weight of the knife) isn’t as durable as as full tang design.

These knives don’t come with a carry case or roll, so you’ll need to purchase one separately if you need to travel back and forth with these knives.

The kitchen shears and honing steel are a nice addition to this set, adding greater versatility. However, they won’t last as long as the other picks on my list.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Stainless steel design
+ Ergonomic handles
+ Honing steel included
+ Lightweight
– No carry case
– Less durable

4. Mercer Culinary Züm 10-Piece Forged Knife Set in Case

Mercer’s Culinary 10-piece set is designed with students and professionals in mind. It’s got all the equipment you’re likely to need, no duplicates, and an effective carry roll to help take everything with you.

The honing steel that comes with this kit is particularly effective, and will make maintaining the edge on your knives significantly easier.

The biggest problem with this set is that it doesn’t come with a good blade guard.

However, you’ll have everything you need from a chef’s knife to a fillet knife. This set is incredibly durable, and is also reasonably affordable. It’s a good investment in your future as a culinary student.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Comes with a carry case
+ Durable design
+ Ergonomic handles
+Comes with a honing steel
+ Taper ground edge stays sharp longer
– Long handles may not be comfortable in everyone’s hands

5. Slitzer Germany 7-Piece Chef’s Knife Set

This simple 7-piece set is one of the most basic options available, but it’s a foundational quality set.

It’s carry case is incredibly compact and easy to take from place to place. The lightweight design of the knives also makes it a good travel option.

Each knife’s handle has a combination metal and polymer grip which provides both durability and texture to help prevent slipping.

The honing steel that comes with this knife set makes maintaining the edge of your blades simple.

They all have ergonomic handles, with the different widths and lengths of the handle designed for the way each knife is meant to be used. That makes them not only durable, but also comfortable in your hand.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Incredibly sharp design
+ Comfortable in your hand
+ Durable handle
+ Full Tang
+ High quality stainless steel
– Basic set, doesn’t come with any extra knives.

My Top Pick: Ross Henery Professional Knives, 10 Piece Stainless Steel Eclipse Premium Chefs Kitchen Knife Set

Even though there are a lot of quality options on this list, I still think this knife set with it’s wide variety of knives, great carrying case, and good honing steel is the best option and the best knife set for culinary students.

While these knives are a great option for your student career, they are also durable and effective enough to follow you into the beginning of your professional career.

Read More: >> The Best Knives for Cutting Sushi

Final Thoughts On The Best Knife Sets for Culinary Students

Deciding to take the leap and enroll in culinary school can be quite a leap. There are a lot of things you need to learn and do very quickly. While every program has different pacing and different expectations, they pretty much all aim to produce trained and certified chefs as quickly as possible.

Having a great set of knives to start with is one of the best ways to accelerate your learning speed and make it easier to keep up with the pace of your classes.

Whether you’re using these knives at home to practice or they’re coming with you to classes everyday, I wish you luck.

I hope culinary school goes well, and I look forward to seeing the innovations in food that our next generation of chefs will produce.

Heather

Heather

My love for food brings me here. Over the last couple years, I've been building out my repertoire of the best kitchen gadgets and appliances to whip up my favorite meals. I'm on a mission to help you do the same, so you can bring out the spice of life in your kitchen and define your unique Kitchen Culture!

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Heather

Heather

My love for food brings me here. Over the last couple years, I've been building out my repertoire of the best kitchen gadgets and appliances to whip up my favorite meals. I'm on a mission to help you do the same, so you can bring out the spice of life in your kitchen and define your unique Kitchen Culture!

About My Kitchen Culture

Here at My Kitchen Culture, I review the best kitchen gadgets and appliances so that you can get everything you need to create your favorite foods in your kitchen. 

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