The one thing you absolutely need to complete your kitchen

Kit out your Sonnet apartments on U Street in DC

Even if you’re lucky enough to start out with a beautifully appointed kitchen like the ones at Sonnet, you still have to supply those beautiful stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops with the right tools. There are countless kitchen gadgets out there, but there is one thing you need to get the most out of (and enjoy) your time in the kitchen… a good knife.

Pair of high quality japanese knifes
Pair of high quality japanese knifes isolated on white background

You won’t get far in creating a culinary masterpiece if you can’t chop, slice or dice. A knife is arguably the most important cook’s tool and one you should put a little bit of thought into. There are knives for every purpose, from shucking oysters to slicing bread to deboning a chicken, but the knife you should start with is a chef’s knife. A chef’s knife, or similar styles like a santoku or gyotu, is all you need to do most food prep. If you have one that fits your hand like a glove, it will be all the more enjoyable to use. If you can splash out for a pair of knives, consider picking up a paring knife as well. They can handle smaller, more delicate kitchen jobs with ease.

Get Fit

A kitchen knife should be an extension of your hand. It should feel comfortable and give you confidence on the cutting board. Think about it, people come in different sizes and we don’t all buy the same clothes and expect them to fit our bodies the same way. The same goes for knives. Don’t buy a knife without trying it out first. You should go to a kitchen store that has a wide variety of knives and try out as many styles and brands as you can. Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, and District Cutlery are all fine choices in DC. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, the staff will be glad to help and offer suggestions. Maybe a Japanese-style blade is your thing, or perhaps ice-hardened German steel gets you going, regardless of what you choose, a quality knife can be your constant cutting companion for a lifetime.

Stay Sharp

“But wait,” you say. “I have a wooden block full of knives already.” Well, chances are they are as dull as Ben Stein in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” …Bueller…Bueller… The point is, dull knives are dangerous. You have to press harder to cut through things and when your knife eventually slips, your enjoyment of a home-cooked meal is replaced by a trip to the ER. So, please keep a safe kitchen and keep your knives sharp.

A quality knife will be made of harder steel and will retain a sharp edge longer than cheap mass-produced knives. But to keep any knife’s edge sharp, you should employ a honing steel. A honing steel is the grooved metal stick with a handle that comes with every knife set but hardly ever gets any use. If you want to keep your knives sharp, every time you use a knife, you should run both sides of the blade over the steel a few times. Every. Time.

When you maintain your knives, you have to sharpen them less often. But the honing steel is only for maintaining a sharp edge, not for making a dull knife sharp. To get from dull to sharp, it’s best to trust a professional. If you picked up your knife from a local retailer, chances are they will be able to bring your blade back to its original sharpness and get you back to jubilant julienning and cheerful chiffonading in no time.


Where you keep your knife is important. Wood blocks and drawers are a definite no-no, unless you have a fitted blade cover. A loose knife in a drawer can get dinged and dulled, and is just plain dangerous to the guest unaware of its presence. Wood blocks dull a knife quickly. Every time you take it out and put it back is like using the blade to saw through a log. Consider a magnetic knife strip. It will keep your cutlery safe, out of the way, and visible so you can show off your beautifully crafted tools.

When you live in a Sonnet apartment, you obviously appreciate the finer things in life. So take the time to appreciate your cutlery as more than just a way to make big pieces of food smaller. And if you already have a wonderful knife but don’t live at Sonnet, consider getting a kitchen to match and visit our apartments on U Street in DC.

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