MAC knives, Thomas Keller's favorite

What do chefs really crave? Judging by what Thomas Keller and Charlie Trotter use in their kitchens, it’s MAC knives. Carefully crafted and made with custom alloys that are rust-proof and stain-resistant, these beauties have a razor-sharp edge that’s stamped rather that forged—keeping them sharp longer. All of which makes the ones in the Professional Series the ideal gift for any burgeoning kitchen master. For the connoisseur in your life who desires a bit more backstory in their blade, only the company’s Japanese Yasuki knives—forged by craftsmen from Sakai (the ancient capital of Samurai-sword making) and finished with a magnolia-wood handle with a horn-ring cap—will do. Cool doesn’t even begin to describe how you will look slicing fish.

Cut to the Perfect Knife

The 8½ inch chef’s knife is the classic kitchen workhorse for heavy-duty cutting jobs. Use it whenever you need to fillet a fish, bone a leg of lamb or simply chop carrots. Although there are all kinds of specific knives for the smaller jobs, this knife—perfect for any basic task—always works in a pinch.