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It's sharp talk all round this week as we test for the best in kitchen knives.

A set of top-quality, sharp knives may well be every chef's number one investment - but when it comes to buying a set of kitchen knives for your home which will suit your needs best? We took four popular knife sets from different price ranges, sharpened up our slicing, chopping and peeling techniques and put them to the test.

ProCook Professional Knives

(pounds 124.95 from The Professional Cookware Company (to request a catalogue phone 0700 590 590 and quote DR/CB22)

Guarantee: One year

Set contains: Paring knife, vegetable knife, boning knife, cook's knife, bread knife, carving knife, carving fork and wooden knife block (not photographed).

Great to look at and superbly comfortable to hold we were impressed by this seven-piece set. It provides an excellent selection of steel bladed knives which comfortably cope with the most adventurous of culinary exploits. The one-piece design also makes these knives hygienic and a joy to clean. Great value for money for any ambitious cook.

Rating: 9/10

Set contains: Carving knife, bread knife, cook's knife, vegetable knife, paring knife and wooden knife block.

The unique serrated edge on these knives ensures they will give good cutting performance without ever needing sharpened. Aluminium riveted, the wooden handles are comfortable to hold from the largest to the smallest knife - although the three-piece classic design does tend to encourage food and dirt traps. We particularly liked the compactly designed knife block which would sit neatly on any worktop. Efficient, practical and good value for money.

Rating: 8/10

Global Knife Set and Knife Block

(pounds 363 for seven knives plus block . All individually priced, from John Lewis and specialist cook shops nationwide)

The set we tested contains: Vegetable cleaver, bread knife, cook's knife, carving knife, kitchen knife, flexible boning knife, flexible utility knife and stainless steel knife block (pounds 99).

Japanese made, Global knives are reputed to be the best knives you can buy. We found them perfectly balanced and comfortable to use. The one- piece, quality stainless steel design is hygienic and easy to clean. Only criticism is the stainless steel knife block didn't seem level. Superb- but very pricey.

Rating: 8/10

Victorinox Knife Block Set

(pounds 69.95 from Studio One Cook Shop, Edinburgh)

Guarantee: Lifetime

Set contains: Cook's knife, bread knife, filleting knife, serrated utility knife, paring knife, sharpening steel and wooden knife block.

Practical rather than pretty, the Victorinox combines flexible stainless steel blades with plastic handles.

Swiss-made and with a lifetime guarantee, this no-nonsense knife set is a safe bet. Plastic handles combine with slightly flexible stainless steel blades to produce knives which are practical rather than pretty - although we were disappointed by the flimsy utility and paring knives. A reliable name and a good buy.

Rating: 7/10
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 29, 2000
Words:460
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