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Cool Tool: Mini Chef's Knife by Sabatier

A 6-inch French blade makes certain everyday cutting tasks easier

I’d be the first to tell you that if you can own only one really good chef’s knife, it should be an 8- or 10-incher. I have both, though my well-honed, 10-inch Wustof is the one I reach for most.

But secretly, I cherish a much shorter 6-inch, high-carbon, stainless Sabatier cook’s knife for a number of everyday tasks, like cutting up an apple or an orange, slicing hard cheese, and even whittling garlic cloves into paper-thin slices. I tuck this knife into a bag for picnics or parties, too.

All Sabatiers have a French-style blade shape, which is almost triangular, rather than gently curved like a German chef’s knife, and narrower overall. The shape encourages you to slice forward, rather than rock back and forth as you would when chopping with a German-style chef’s knife.

All Sabatiers are hand-forged at the Thiers-Issard factory in France, and they’re beautiful. A new version of my old favorite has a handsome, green handle with brass rivets (Professional Cutlery Direct, www.cutlery.com, carries it for $59.20). If you want to treat yourself to a really old-fashioned style of knife that holds a very sharp edge better than a stainless/carbon mix, go for the all-carbon model, but be aware that it will discolor over time.

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