You probably know how important a chef's knife is for any home cook, regardless of skill level. Or as Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, put it a little more bluntly, "A kitchen without a good knife is not a kitchen."
But in a world where price points and quality are either rock bottom or sky high, finding the right one can be tough.
Enter Misen. The first high-end premium knife, with an affordable price tag at $65 compared to their competitors who charge $150-$200. Since it launched on Kickstarter in 2015, initially raising over $1,000,000, the direct-to-consumer company has garnered a lot of attention and love from some of the most influential people in the food world.
New York Times best-selling author of The Food Lab, J Kenji Lopez-Alt, got his hands on one and had this to say on Serious Eats:
At $65, The Misen Chef's Knife is the Holy Grail of Knives
J. KENJI LÓPEZ-ALT
At first glance, there's nothing particularly innovative about this new knife, nothing that particularly sets it apart from any other high-end, well-designed Japanese-Western hybrid chef's knife. But here's the difference: while every other truly fantastic knife I own costs well over $100, this knife from Misen costs only $65.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to call it: This is the holy grail of inexpensive chef's knives. Incredible quality and design, high-end materials, perfect balance, and a razor-sharp edge.
"This is the holy grail of inexpensive chef's knives. Incredible quality and design, high-end materials, perfect balance, and a razor-sharp edge."
That's right, $65 for a knife that can go head to head with my $180 Misono UX-10 or my $120 Wüsthof and come out the other end barely breaking a sweat.
When most knife manufacturers try to innovate, they go in one of three directions: innovations in design or materials that provide very marginal improvements for a big markup (for instance, Shun's line of knives), or a shift to less expensive materials and production processes to deliver an inferior knife at a lower cost (the internet darling Forschners). What the folks at Misen realized is that when it comes to chef's knives, we don't need innovation in design, nor do we need to compromise on production and materials. What we needed was innovation in distribution.
The folks behind Misen (restaurant chefs who use knives all the time) saw an opening in this market when they started designing the blade about 2 years ago, scouring the internet for resources on knife design, blade geometry, alloys, weights and balance points, eventually bringing on an industrial designer and a metal specialist to help with the process. The final design they arrived at is fantastic, but the way they sell it is what's really important here.
By manufacturing knives themselves and using a direct-to-consumer internet model, they can deliver high-quality knives with none of the absurd markups common in the industry. They're the Warby-Parker of knives. More of every dollar you spend with them goes to the knife, rather than overhead.
Of course, all that is moot if the knife itself isn't good. Fortunately, this one delivers. Had this been around when I wrote my guide to the best chef's knife, it would have clearly swept the budget categories and had a solid run at the best-at-any-price ticket, as well.
Having already sold over 25,000 knives with an average customer rating of 4.8/5 and over 1,000 5-star reviews, word of Misen's knife has quickly spread.
The ever popular, Food52, tested it out and named it their top Kickstarter-backed kitchen tool.
"Many kitchen aficionados spend a lot of time thinking about knives. A lot. But the folks at Misen are taking the obsession a step further, by developing a chef's knife that's perfectly balanced, made of premium materials, beautifully designed for ease and efficiency of use, and also—get this—reasonably priced. Shortening the supply chain, Misen sells directly to consumers, to the benefit of our wallets."
The culinary team behind everything at Epicurious tested out Misen and made it their go-to knife for everything in the test kitchen.
"At Epi, we spend a lot of time thinking about knives and cookware sets. And we love Misen's knife lineup—when a coworker asked for a chef's knife suggestion, three Epi editors immediately fired back with a Misen rec. "It's the best knife I've ever used—and it's affordable," said Senior Editor Anya Hoffman."