This 14-piece block set from KitchenAid comes with three bonus items — an extra pair of kitchen shears and santoku-style utility and paring knives. The hardwood knife block provides slots for the basic set, but not for the bonus items.
Six of the knives in the set are steak knives, not prep knives, and are built with stamped steel blades set in a fully enclosing rubberized soft-grip handle. All the prep knives are made from forged high carbon stain-free steel for good stain and corrosion resistance plus the ability to hold a sharp edge. Avoid any lemon or citrus-scented cleaners when hand washing the knives, since the fragrant acid may tarnish the steel. The knives sharpen easily and will need regular maintenance, but if you use the included honing steel frequently, the blades can be kept in good cutting condition.
In the main set, you get three knives with eight-inch blades including chef’s knife, slicing knife, and serrated bread knife. A 5-1/2-inch utility knife with serrated edge and a 3-1/2-inch paring knife with fine edge take care of the smaller jobs. With the standard and bonus shears, you’ll have a good scissors for produce or meat and a pair for the rougher work of cutting paper, tape, and string. Two nice extras, the small santoku knives, add some versatility during small slicing or prep chores, but you may not find much advantage compared to standard blades. Santoku hollow ground blades do make a noticeable difference on larger knives.
Try the Cuisinart Prestige 19-piece block set for a larger but still economical array of prep and steak knives.