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Chef Charlie Palmer has a Michelin star, a few James Beard Awards, and a Kramer Knife. Chef Thomas Keller has three Michelin stars, several James Beard Awards, and a Kramer Knife.

What's a Kramer Knife? It may fall in the J.P. Morgan category of "if you have to ask, you can't afford it." The hand-crafted Kramer Knives sell for $300 an inch. So figure for a basic 8-inch chef knife, you'll have to pony up $2400. On top of that, there is a waiting list of well over a year.

Why? Bob Kramer is one of only a hundred and three people in the world, and the only former chef, to be certified as a Master Bladesmith. He makes each knife by hand, using a multi-step process which encompasses as many as 200 layers of steel. The outcome is a stunning Damascus steel blade with a swirling pattern resembling wood grain and is harder, thinner, sharper, and slices and dices with ease and perfection..

Bob Kramer has been a circus clown, a magician, a chef, a waiter, and a traveling knife sharpener. But it's his ability to slice through a one inch thick rope with one swing and hack through a 2X4 that's helped him achieve rock star status with chefs all over the globe.

If you don't feel like waiting for your own custom blade, Williams-Sonoma currently sell more affordable and ready made versions of the Kramer Knives.

Want to know why chefs idolize Bob Kramer? Chef Erik Desjarlais has the answer.

Flip through the slides below to see what 6 chefs name as their favorite knives, and for more on Kramer's renowned knives.

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Like an extension of their hand, the knife puts a chef in contact with the food and allows the artistry to begin. It must have form, function, aesthetics, and craftsmanship. And like a surgeon, it should feel right in the hand.


These knives from MKS Design are made with bicycle handles.

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The Secret Knives of Chefs
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