One good chef’s knife does a lot for the kitchen, easing all kinds of prep work from slicing vegetables to carving meat and even mincing herbs. In skilled hands, every part of the chef’s knife efficiently performs a different essential task. The Meridian Elite Chef’s Knife from Messermeister of Solingen, Germany, provides the chef the traditional workhorse blade of the European kitchen, but streamlined by modern ideas. Cheaper knives are available that handle efficiently and hold a good edge, but the Meridian Elite compares well to those thin space-age blades while keeping the traditional forged look and strength advantages of good German cutlery.
The forging methods used by Messermeister are limited to shaping rather than strengthening the steel. Knives could be ground from a block of good steel and show most of the qualities this forged blade does. Forging here is the quickest way to create a complex blade with tapered bolster and full length tang ready for final tempering and grinding. Forged blades easily drift towards being unnecessarily heavy, but the Messermeister pattern cuts back on weight while still holding onto the best elements of this old design.
The forged bolster serves as a comfortable and secure fingerguard while strengthening the blade at the critical point between cutting edge and handle. The reduced profile of the bolster doesn’t limit the use of the cutting edge or interfere with sharpening — as a full width bolster does. Final three-step hand finishing of the full tang high carbon stainless steel knife starts owners off with a professionally shaped cutting edge easily touched up with a honing steel. The Messermeister holds up to heavy chores without being overly heavy in the hand.