Henckel3-Knive-Set.jpgAdding a few exceptional knives and pans to your kitchen can make all the difference in your kitchen. Using guidelines from my chef friend,  I checked out the ZWILLING JA Henckels Professional “S” collection and the new frying pan. I was impressed with their quality and performance.

Sharp is better

I come from a long line of people with no hand-eye co-ordination. I have a couple of uncles missing fingers and I’ve almost lost a digit or two in the kitchen. I’ve avoided sharp knives thinking my fingers would be safer. Not so according to my chef friend. A sharp knife is safer than a dull one. The excessive force needed to cut food with a dull knife makes it hard to control and easier to slip off food and cut the user.

Good knives are expensive because they deliver on durability, strength, good handling, and endurance. It’s better to start out small and build up rather than buying lots of cheap knives.

The ZWILLING JA Henckels “S” collection gives you the three basic knives that are a good foundation in the kitchen:

  • 20 cm (8 inch) chef’s knife used for chopping, dicing, mincing, and cutting.
  • 15 cm (6 inch) all-purpose utility knife for cutting, peeling, and trimming for a wide range of foods
  • 8 cm (3 inch) vegetable knife used for paring and trimming small items of food.


Zwilling-JA-Henckels-Twin-Professional-'S'-8'.jpgStraight edge is best

My chef friend warned me about serrated knives. They are good for bread but shouldn’t be used for chopping since they are more likely to slip and can’t be sharpened. Since you actually use these knives to saw rather than slice and must apply direct downward pressure, it’s much easier to slip. There is also no such thing as an “all-purpose” knife and they should be avoided as well.

Using my friend’s guidelines, I tested the ZWILLING JA Henckels “S” collection to see if they meet the criteria. A knife has to feel good in the hand. I liked the way rhe ZWILLING JA Henckels 8 inch as well as ZWILLING JA Henckels 6 inch and ZWILLING JA Henckels 4 inch sat in my hand. They had good weight but without feeling heavy. All three were comfortable—an important consideration since it’s a tool I will be using a lot in the kitchen. This is a hard balance to get since you need something lightweight for speed and precision but not anything too heavy as to be cumbersome. They  had just enough weight to chop heavier items with precision. This means far less strain in your arms.

Good material equals good knives

Another important consideration is the material in the knife. All three knives are equipped with the Friodur ice-hardened blades made from the special high performance Henckels “NO STAIN” German stainless steel. The stainless steel undergoes this four-stage process used to create blades that are corrosion resistant with exceptional hardness and high elasticity. State-of-the-art grinding technology is employed to produce a wedge-shaped blade offering optimum geometry and stability. The final step involves the hand finishing of the two-stage V-Edge, for sharpness that lasts. Most cheap knives are made with stainless steel that tend to go blunt quickly so are harder to sharpen. 

The hilt of the knife needs to be strong since it takes the strain of the handle being pressed. If the blade is too thin or the join is weak from being welded together, the hilt won’t be able to handle the pressure and bend or break at the joint. Gaps in the hilt will also make the knife difficult to clean and can breed bacteria. Henckels have one long solid piece of steel with a good handle and three rivets in the handle. Cheaper knives tend to be thinner with handles covered in thick, bulky plastic.


Full heavy metal

All three knives are Full Tang, which means the blade extends the full length and width of the handle. The tang is wedged between the handle, also known as the scale. Both sides of the scales are attached to the tang with rivets/pins. Its slightly curved edge allows for knuckle clearance and quick collection of cut ingredients. The Full Tang knife construction is the most durable construction available making the Henckels a hard working knife that can take a solid beating.

Zwilling-JA-Henckels-Twin-Professional-'S'-4'.jpgFinger Protection

The Henckels knives also have a well-proportioned guard with a quillion—a section of the guard that extends past the handle for even better handling. You’re not going to cut yourself when using these knives. The handles on the Henckels are also good quality toughened plastic that is lightweight but strong. Cheaper knives often have bulky guard made from weak plastic. Soft wooden handles should be avoided as they make more a very flimsy knife.

Prolong the life of your knives by cutting on a wood or rigid plastic cutting board. Cutting on stone, glass, steel or ceramic can damage the knife or cause your to slip and cut yourself. Store your knives in a knife block rather than loose in a utensil drawer.


Taking the heat

You need a good pan to cook all the amazing food you prepared with your Henckels knives. ZWILLING has added a whole range of prime cookware to its collection. The ZWILLING JA Henckels Sensation frying pan combines advanced technology and aesthetic ergonomic design. It’s got a lovely curled of shiny, polished stainless steel handle with high quality stainless steel.

The SIGMA clad 5-ply material guarantees perfect heat distribution right to the very edge for frying or browning. In addition, the strong aluminum core in the base of the pan provides for excellent heat retention. The welded joint forms a solid, rivet-free join between the body of the frying pan and the handle, meaning that the inside of the pan is smooth and easy to clean. A further practical feature is the hole at the end of the handle, allowing the pans to be hung up to save space. The pans are also available with a non-stick coating of high-grade Thermolon Granite that is scratch-resistance and durability and free of PTFE and PFOA.

Adding the ZWILLING JA Henckels “S” collection along with a ZWILLING frying pan will give you a professional edge in your kitchen. These are products that will last a lifetime and are worth the investment.

And to learn more about knives, check out the Best Buy knife buying guide

Shelagh McNally
I’ve been covering technology since 1992 and I’ve seen a lot of technology come and go. I enjoy following the trends, spotting the winners and losers and teaching consumers how to get the best products and services for their needs. My work has been published in the National Post, Reader's Digest.com, Yahoo, Miami Herald and other North American publications and websites.


  1. hi oldschool,

    Best Buy is full of surprises that way. They have a wide range of products for the home that aren’t just electronics. Be sure to check out the Viva blog where there is enviro-friendly products and lots of other things for a healthy lifestyle. Best Buy is branching out.



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