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Since I started living on my own, my kitchen toolkit has been quite bare bones. I have one small, cheap paring knife that I use for anything that I can’t do with a butter knife and some elbow grease. This has quite often caused both frustration and puncture wounds.
Recently, my boyfriend went from a skilled home cook to working in kitchens professionally, and has thus become personally invested in the quality and efficiency of my cookware. With the excited authority of a Weekend Grill Dad, he now has a collection of little one-line kitchen tips that seem to spill out of him automatically, like clean as you go and get your mise-en-place ready and, most passionately, you gotta have a good set of kitchen knives. At his behest, I decided to make the investment – both so that I would stop cutting my finger, and that so he might actually want to start coming to my house to cook.
Stifling his urge to nerd out at the nearest high-end cutlery store, my boyfriend sat down and helped me scour the internet for a brand that would fit both of our needs. After weighing quality, material, price (his checklist), and design (mine), we ended up at Hast. The award-winning knives are known for their sleek, ergonomic design that makes home cooking more approachable –– all the while impressing the likes of Michelin-star chefs.
Hast offers a wide selection that would complete any cook’s kitchen: Chef’s Knife, Santoku Knife, Paring Knife, Utility Knife, Boning Knife, and Bread Knife. You can choose between a 4-piece and a 7-piece knife set, in one of four sexy colorways: Matte Black, Bold Gold, Minimal Matte, and Absolute Glossy. We settled on the 8-inch Chef’s Knife ($99), the Paring Knife ($69), the Utility Knife ($89), and the 1000 Grit Ceramic Honing Rod ($69). After a bit of deliberation, we also decided to spring for the Boning Knife ($79) –– we both love hosting and thought it might inspire us to grill a big fancy fish one day. After testing them out, here’s what we think…
First and foremost, Hast’s minimalist design is impeccable. Upon first glance, it is easy to see why these knives are producing such a buzz. Yet, unlike many of the pretty things I’m quick to collect, the sleekness of a Hast knife isn’t all just smoke and mirrors. The knives are delightfully lightweight and easy to use. Each is made of one continuous piece of stainless steel, the handle a natural extension of the blade rather than a separate, conjoined entity. This shape allows for comfort, style, and easy cleanup: without the blade-meets-handle crevice, there is no chance of weird crust or gunk building up. The handle itself is designed to be slightly longer than average, which provides extra support while you grip and wield.
Although my standard for knife sharpness was admittedly very low, these are a true pleasure to use. From hard cheeses and raw meat to root veggies and soft fruits, anything we approach with these babies is cut cleanly and efficiently thanks to Hast’s ultra-thin and sharp knife blades. It is unbelievably satisfying, in an ASMR way –– a friend of mine actually mentioned, unprompted, how fun it was to cut stuff at my house. Our personal favorites are the Chef’s Knife and the Utility Knife, which we both find to be the most versatile according to our kitchen habits and needs.
In the case of the Honing Rod, the aesthetic beauty of the product itself proves its own kind of unique obstacle. While the white ceramic of the rod is very pleasing to look at, unlike a metal sharpening rod, it shows marks every time it comes in contact with the knife. While this is not the end of the world, it seems a bit counterintuitive that something made to be scratched up is designed to look so pristine. In the words of my boyfriend, “it makes me not want to touch it or use it.” While this is perhaps a more psychological barrier than a functional one, had we known this was the case we may have gotten a cheaper sharpener that we were more comfortable putting nicks in.
Fortunately, however, the knives themselves are sharp enough that we have not yet been inclined to use the Honing Rod at all. Another very small personal hangup is that the Paring Knife is slightly longer than we’re used to, so when it comes to cutting fruit, or something that you’d be holding in your hand, it feels slightly uncomfortable to wield.
Overall, the Hast knives have upgraded my kitchen (and slashed my prep time) 1000%. The simplicity of each piece allows for their sheer function to shine through –– plus, a quick clean up always adds points in my book. While I often poke fun at myself for my obsession with how things look, Hast corroborates my belief that if you like the look of something, it’s easier to see yourself using it. Cooking, and particularly knife skills, always seemed to me like something I couldn’t master without a stint at Le Cordon Bleu.
But, having invested in something functional, long-lasting, and beautiful, it is easier for me to muster up the courage to try something new. Knowing that I’m reaching for something co-signed by a professional chef (proud GF) helps me feel more confident in the kitchen. Having the knives be comfortable, not cumbersome, is an added boost. The power of aesthetics to inspire creativity was not lost on the designers behind Hast when making it; as Hast’s website explains, this type of inspiration can be “the first, tiny step of the journey to becoming a great chef.” While I’m likely to leave more elaborate stuff to the pros, I’d like to believe I’m well on my way.
5 More Reasons to Love Hast:
1. A cut above the rest: Hast knives have been loved by professional chefs around the world, and reviewed in Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, GQ, and more.
2. Award-winning: From Good Housekeeping’s Kitchen Gear Award to the Red Dot Design Award, Hast knives are highly decorated.
3. The gold standard: Hast knives have been tested by the Cutlery Allied Trades Research Association. The Chef’s knife graded 50% above CATRA’s sharpness standard, and 116% above the excellent durability standard.
4. Superior performance: Hast knives are made with patented Matrix powder steel; ultra sharp, durable, and with a hardness of HRC 60+.
5. Worthwhile investment: Hast knives are made to match the quality of high performance Japanese-style blades, at a fraction of the price.