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Four Knives That Get the Culinary Job Done

Photo: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE

Product reviewed: Set of four Shun Knives: the Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku, Kanso 7-inch Asian Utility Knife, Kanso 3.5-inch Paring Knife and Classic Ultimate Utility Knife

When my parents taught me to cook as a child, one of their first lessons was the importance of using a good, sharp knife. As an adult, after cooking at many of my friends’ and family members’ homes, I’ve been shocked to learn how few people own a good knife. No wonder so many people hate to cook – I would too if I had to dice an onion using a dull paring knife!

I’ve always tried to invest in good quality knives, but that hasn’t always meant top-of-the-line products. When I received these four Shun knives for this kitchen tool review, I was excited to try them! Inspired by ancient Japanese sword-crafting traditions, Shun knives are handmade by highly skilled craftsmen, resulting in products that are both functional and beautiful. 

The Santoku

The shape of this knife, pictured above, has made it my favorite. It’s large yet lightweight, maneuverable and easy to use for a variety of chopping projects. If you can only afford one good knife, this one should be it!

Kanso Paring Knife

This knife is perfect for detail work. If you don’t like a ton of little gadgets in the kitchen that can do just one task, you’ll want to invest in a good paring knife instead. I’ve been using mine for chopping herbs and trimming produce.

Classic Ultimate Utility Knife

The utility knife also has become a favorite. With its unique wavy edge, it’s perfect for slicing thin-skinned fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, and cutting bread into even slices without tearing. Consider it your sandwich knife!

Kanso Asian Utility Knife

This knife looks large and scary to use, but I’ve found it to be surprisingly functional for cutting projects both big and small. I especially like to use it for chopping large amounts of produce quickly. Its long blade makes it perfect for portioning meat or seafood. I’ve also been using it to safely and easily cut open hard winter squash.

All of my Shun knives came in handy making this quick and easy wild mushroom frittata. The paring knife made it easy to cut away the tough shiitake mushrooms stems. The Kanso Asian utility knife made quick work of the yellow onion, and I used the Santoku knife to quickly slice the mushroom caps, leek and green onion into even slices. I even used my ultimate utility knife to cut thick slices of peasant bread to go with my frittata!

Wild Mushroom and Onion Frittata

Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup peeled and finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup trimmed and chopped leek, white and pale green parts only
  • ¾ cup trimmed and chopped green onions
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed, caps thinly sliced
  • 12 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk


  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. In a large, sided oven-safe skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add yellow onion, leek and green onions. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté another 5 to 7 minutes, until mushrooms and onions are tender and golden.
  3. While vegetables cook, whisk eggs in a large bowl with milk. Season with salt and black pepper. When vegetables are ready, pour in egg and milk mixture. Cook until mostly set, about 5 to 7 minutes. Place skillet under broiler for a couple minutes to finish cooking, being careful not to burn.
  4. Let frittata cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.

Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, is a private practice dietitian and owner of Avocado A Day Nutrition, a nutrition counseling business in Columbia, S.C. Read her blog, and connect with her on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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