Chef-Worthy Knives: Rick Moonen is one of my favorite chefs, and widely considered one of the world’s leading experts on seafood. He graduated first in his class at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, got 3-stars from the New York Times for his Oceana, then moved to Las Vegas and has built a tremendous reputation for his flagship RM Seafood. Along the way, he also wrote the definitive fish cookbook, Fish Without a Doubt (not new but also a great gift idea). Now he has rolled out his own line of knives, Blades by Rick Moonen, made specifically because he believes that people pay too much to enjoy restaurant quality steel, and also that many people have too many redundant or useless knives. As Moonen explains, “I have been a professional chef for over 35 years and have done hundreds of cooking demonstrations, lectures, and events all over the globe. I have always traveled with the same basic set of tools wherever I’ve gone. They’ve always worked for me and now I want them to work for you. Ask yourself…why did you buy that last set of knives? So often, so many sets have 3-4 knives you never use. With this collection, it’s about functionality…each knife has multiple and frequent uses and collectively they can tackle almost every challenge you will meet in a kitchen.” The 12-piece set includes six knives of widely varied sizes and styles, plus both a knife block and professional style roll-up travel case, as well as zester/grater, kitchen shears, sharpening steel and slotted flexible seafood spatula. I’ve been testing these and especially love the 8-inch offset serrated knife, which is great for things with crusty exterior/soft interior (baguettes) but also wonderful on tomatoes. I’ve also been surprised how much I use the accessories, especially the shears and spatula, both of which I already had several models of. They all feature sturdy full tang stainless steel construction and riveted handles and the entire set is just $199 – I’ve spent that much on one knife. This is a great gift for anyone starting out a kitchen (college graduate) or second home owner. For your carnivore friends, there is also a 6-piece steak knife set ($40). Blades has its own site but they are also available through many other retailers


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