Top 7 Best Knife Set For Culinary Students

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When studying to be a professional chef, it’s very important that you have the right set of tools.

And a great place to start is a quality knife set that you can use in your day-to-day kitchen work.

But with all the options out there, making the right choice can be really tough.

That’s why we’re here.

In this article, we’re taking a look at some of the best knife sets for culinary students, and we’ve even included a buying guide at the end.

So read on to learn more!

Best Knife Sets For Culinary Students (Updated List)

What To Look For When Buying

Pieces Included

If you’re taking the culinary arts seriously, it’s important to make sure your tool kit has everything you need.

For starters, you are going to need a chef knife or santoku, paring knife, and serrated knife, as these are usually considered the most essential knives for any chef to have.

From there, it might be nice to have some extras such as a carving, slicing, and utility knives, but they aren’t exactly necessary, at least not yet.

Another important thing any culinary student would need in their set is a carrying case and honing steel as this will allow you to carry your tools with you to class or to work and also maintain the sharp edge of your blades.


Next up, you’re going to have to take a look at the construction of the blades.

The most important requirement for any knife is the tang, which is basically the part of the blade that isn’t seen and is inside the handle.

Ideally, you would want a full-tang knife that has the blade run throughout the entire handle, giving you much more stability when cutting.

And if you’re a culinary student, it might also be important for you to get forged blades.

These are blades made out of a single piece of stainless steel that are generally tougher, harder, and sharper than most other blades out there.

Materials Used

Lastly, it’s important to take a close look at what materials were used in building the knives.

For starters, make sure that the blade is made out of high-carbon stainless steel as this material has great edge retention but isn’t too hard that the blade will become brittle.

Ceramic blades and other materials are viable options for home kitchens, but may not be durable or precise enough to be used by culinary students.

Next, it would also be great to have a comfortable yet durable handle made out of synthetic materials such as PakkaWood, resin, stainless steel, or PP.

Wooden handles are also a good option, but if they aren’t treated properly, they could be susceptible to water damage and lack overall durability, so make sure to put that into consideration when looking for a set.

Product Reviews

1. Shun Sora 5-Piece Student Set (Best Overall)

Shun Sora 5-Piece Student Set Including Stainless Steel...
  • Shun 5-Piece Student Set includes knives from the Sora Series, a...
  • Set includes three essential knives, 3.5-inch Paring Knife, 8-inch...
  • Stylish black nylon knife roll is fully zippered and allows room for...

First up is a great first set for any student out there because the knives are high-quality.

It comes with a carrying case, is made by a reputable brand, and is also very affordable.

It comes with the three essentials, a carrying case, and honing steel so you’ll have a basic tool kit that would be great for anyone entering culinary school.

On top of that, they come with Shun’s composite blade technology which allows them to provide students with top-tier knives at an affordable price.

They come with textured TPE handles that are very comfortable to grip and will last you a long while in the kitchen.

So if you’ve been looking for a reliable set on a budget this might be the right one for you.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9.5/10
  • Handling: 9/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 9/10


  • Comes with the essentials
  • Comes with a carrying case and honing steel
  • Razor-sharp right out of the box
  • Full-tang
  • Affordable


  • Not the most premium Shun set out there

2. Mercer Culinary Partners in Education 13-Piece Kit (2nd Best)

Mercer Culinary Partners in Education 13-Piece Millennia...
  • Ergonomic handle -- a combination of Santoprene for comfort and...
  • The highest quality Japanese steel offers easy edge maintenance and...
  • One-piece high carbon, stain-resistant Japanese steel

Next up, we have a more complete set designed for those in culinary school.

It comes with the three essentials and even includes a basic slicer, carving fork, honing steel, and a sleek knife roll.

The blades are made out of Japanese steel that is very easy to sharpen and maintain, which could be a great feature for beginners.

The blades are connected to Santoprene handles that are comfortable to grip and won’t strain your hand even if you end up using the blades for hours on end.

So if you’ve been looking for a very complete set that will last you throughout your entire schooling, this might be the pick for you.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 9/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Affordable
  • Great value for the money
  • Comes with the essentials and more
  • Sleek knife roll
  • Full-tang


  • The knife guards could be better

3. Mercer Culinary Genesis 10-Piece Set (Best for Versatility)

Mercer Culinary Genesis 10-Piece Forged Knife Set with Case
  • Ergonomic Santoprene handle offers superior comfort and a non-slip...
  • Bolster strengthens the knife, adds durability, and provides excellent...
  • High-carbon, no-stain German cutlery steel resists rust, corrosion,...

Next up is a more toned-down set that is also more affordable coming from the same brand

But while it doesn’t have as many pieces as the previous entry, it still comes with a lot of useful tools that any student would love.

The blades are made of high-carbon German steel that is resistant to corrosion and has great edge retention.

The handles are made of Santoprene and offer a very comfortable grip and a lot of control.

It also comes with a very sleek knife roll that suits the knife design very well.

On top of that, the blades have a taper-ground edge that is very easy to maintain and sharpen, which is best for those who are just starting to learn how to properly sharpen their knives.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8.5/10
  • Handling: 9/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 9/10


  • Comes packed with useful tools
  • Easy to maintain
  • Comes with a knife roll and honing steel
  • Comfortable handles
  • Full-tang


  • Not the most durable knife roll

4. Slitzer Germany 7-Piece Set (Best for Comfort)

Shun DMS0499 4-Piece Classic Student Knife Set
  • 4 Piece Cutlery Set Perfect for Culinary Students by Shun
  • Set features a Shun knife roll for storage and transport and 3...

This Slitzer Germany set has a very sleek look to it which would make it a great pick for any chef, home cook, or culinary student out there.

It comes with a knife roll along with the essentials, making it a very complete set.

The blades are made of high-quality steel that is very durable and since it has a V-Grind edge, it will be very sharp right out of the box.

On top of that, it has a very ergonomic and modern handle design that will fit very comfortably in the hand and give chefs a lot of control when slicing.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8.5/10
  • Handling: 9.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Sleek and modern look
  • Full-tang
  • Durable
  • Comfortable handles
  • Razor-sharp right out of the box


  • Doesn’t have the best edge-retention

5. Shun DMS0499 4-Piece Classic Student Set (Premium Choice)

Slitzer Germany 7-Piece Chef's Knife Set, Ergonomically...
  • PROFESSIONAL CUTLERLY SET: This 7-piece Chef’s Cutlery Set is an...
  • ERGONOMIC, DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: Each knife features powerfully...
  • BOXED SET INCLUDES 5 KNIVES AND SHARPENER: Our high-quality knife set...

Next up is another great student set from Shun.

The set comes with three essential knives for any culinary novice and includes a carrying case for easier transport.

The blades are made out of high-carbon steel and are forged in construction, which makes them very durable.

On top of that, they have wooden Japanese-style octagonal handles that offer a unique ergonomic and functional grip.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 9/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Very sharp blades
  • Great edge retention
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Beautiful finish
  • Comfortable handles


  • Doesn’t come with a serrated blade

6. HQY 9-Piece Set (Best for Design)

HQY Professional Knives, Premium Stainless Steel 9 Piece...
  • 9 Piece professional chefs knife set, Get set of knives.for not only...
  • The knives come in a heavy duty zip up carry case ideal for storing or...
  • Perfect the professional chef , College student and the home kitchen...

This is a very complete set that would be fit for any budding chef.

It comes with a beautiful carrying case that will allow you to organize the knives very easily.

All the blades are very sharp and have a sleek and modern look to them, mainly because of the stainless steel handles.

And while the handles are comfortable for simple home use, using them for too long might strain the wrist, which is why it isn’t recommended if you start doing long-haul shifts in the kitchen.

But for a starter set, this is a great affordable pick.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8.5/10
  • Handling: 8.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8.5/10


  • Sharp blades
  • Sleek design
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Comes with all the essentials


  • Handles aren’t too comfortable

7. Ross Henery Set (Best for Stability)

Last up on the list we have another complete collection with triple-hardened blades.

This means that the edges wills stay sharp for a very long time and won’t require too much maintenance.

On top of that, they have an all-stainless steel design that is very modern and sleek.

Included in the set is a carrying case and honing steel, which covers just about all the basic tools you’ll need as a culinary student.

Our scores:

  • Sharpness: 8.5/10
  • Handling: 9.5/10
  • Ease of maintenance: 8/10


  • Comes with all you’ll need in the kitchen
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Very sharp right out of the box
  • Great edge-retention
  • Ergonomic handle


  • Not the most durable set


1. What Is The Best Knife Set For Culinary Students?

Our pick on this list is the Shun Sora 5-piece set as it has just about all the essentials you’ll need for school and is made by one of the most trusted brands on the market.

On top of that, all the blades are very sharp and made out of very high-quality steel.

2. What Is The Best Knife For Chopping?

For chopping fruits or vegetables, the best blades are either a chef knife, santoku, or a nakiri, which are all great all-around blades to have in the kitchen.

3. What Knives Do You Need For Culinary School?

For starters, it’s best to at least have a chef knife, paring knife, and a serrated one in culinary school.

From there, you can slowly build and add to your collection as time goes by.

4. What Kind Of Knife Can Cut Through Bone?

Heavy-duty meat cleavers are one of the best tools one can use to cut through bone as they are hefty and sharp enough to do the job.

5. What Three Knives Are Essential For Chefs?

The three most essential kitchen knives are the chef knife, paring knife, and serrated knife.

6. How Often Should I Have My Knives Sharpened?

Ideally, it would be best to have your blades sharpened at least once a year, depending on how much you use them.

7. Is It Worth It To Sharpen Cheap Knives?

Yes, if you own a cheap set of blades, one of the best ways to make the most out of them is to have them sharpened.

This will instantly make them more functional and safer to use in the kitchen.


And there you have it.

If you’re about to start your career in culinary school, you’ll need to have top-quality blades, and that’s exactly what we featured in this list.

Some are more premium or have more pieces than others, but that’s because all chefs have different needs or preferences.

So if you think the one for you was featured on this list, then it’s about time you got your hands on one yourself!

Last Updated on June 23, 2021

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.