Get one good knife, not 20.
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Similar to his advice about pots and pans, Colicchio suggests erring on the side of quality over quantity when it comes to choosing the kitchen's sine qua non implement. "You don't need to go out and buy a 20-piece knife set," he says. "Buy one knife that's really good. Start with a 10-inch chef's knife, the best you can afford. Then after that, a slicer and a pairing knife." He also suggests investing in a sharpening steel and using it religiously – two or so strokes every time you go to use it, since blades should be razor-sharp. "The better knives around right now are Japanese, but they tend to be expensive," he says. In New York, Colicchio suggests going to Korin, the Japanese knife brand's local outpost. "You can go there and buy a knife for $50 or ones for $4,000."