Cooking can be fun if you have the right equipment’s but if you’re just starting out on your culinary journey, you may find the array of kitchenware available on the market a bit baffling, so here’s a quick guide to the must-haves for the first-time cook.

Pots and pans, utensils like wooden spoons, chopping boards, glass or plastic bowls, and knives.

There are two basic knives that you will need a chef’s knife and a serrated knife.

A chef’s knife usually has a straight sharp edge and usually about 7 to 10 inches long. It really can be used for about 80% of kitchen tasks.

A serrated knife has a long jagged edge. This allows it to penetrate soft objects like a piece of bread of a tomato.

The two knives above will take care of about 95% of kitchen tasks. I could easily go without any other knife, but there are some knives where the price is worth the specialized task they perform. An example of this is a paring knife or kitchen scissors. Both knives are the best at performing very specialized tasks.

So when purchasing one item among the great chef knives and a serrated knife, make sure you’re looking at forged blade knives instead of a stamped blade. You will easily be able to tell the difference because a forged blade is hand molded to the handle while a stamped blade is pressed with a machine.

A forged knife will always be superior to a stamped knife. The biggest advantage is durability. There is no easier way to get hurt while cutting than cutting with a stamped knife with a loose blade. A forged blade with proper maintenance can easily last a lifetime and is a lot safer.

Now that you understand that you need to buy a forged knife, the next attribute to look for when buying a knife is size. Here is a rule of thumb for selecting the size of your knife. Take whatever cutting board you use the most and measure it diagonally. Preferably you want a knife that in total is an inch or two less than your cutting board.

The next thing you need to think about when buying knives is that it’s an investment. A quality, forged blade knife, with the proper maintenance can last a lifetime. Your knife should come with some sort of maintenance package. Make sure you read and follow it.

There are plenty of sharpening utensils available on the market. My favorites are a steel sharpening rod and a two-stage knife sharpener. I don’t bother with the electric models. The regular models cost half as less and do just as good a job.

If you’re looking to boost your productivity in the kitchen, a quality set of knives is a great way to do so. For too long I fooled around with cheap stamped blade knives. Little did I know that with good technique and a quality knife, I can cut my dicing, chopping, and slicing time by half.