Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain says a common kitchen staple is a waste of money

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Anthony Bourdain: Insider Secrets You Need to Know Before Dining Out

Anthony Bourdain tells it like it is.

In recent years, the 59-year-old has become one of the most recognizable faces in food through his Travel Channel shows "No Reservations" and "The Layover," and then the CNN series "Parts Unknown."

But before all that, there was his bestselling 2000 memoir "Kitchen Confidential," in which he confessed the grittier truths of life as a chef in Manhattan. In it, he doesn't hold back.

Bourdain feels particularly strongly about a staple of many modern-day kitchens: the knife set. He writes:

No con foisted on the general public is so atrocious, so wrongheaded, or so widely believed as the one that tells you you need a full set of specialized cutlery in various sizes. I wish sometimes I could go through the kitchens of amateur cooks everywhere just throwing knives out from their drawers - all those medium-size 'utility' knives, those useless serrated things you see advertised on TV, all that hard-to-sharpen stainless steel garbage, those ineptly designed slicers - not one of the damn things could cut a tomato.

Please believe me, here's all you will ever need in the knife department: ONE good chefs knife, as large as is comfortable for your hand.

He goes on to say that knives from classic European companies such as Henkel or Wusthof are high quality, but they're expensive, heavy, and require a level of maintenance that just isn't realistic for most amateur chefs. "Most of the professionals I know have for years been retiring their Wusthofs and replacing them with the lightweight, easy-to-sharpen and relatively inexpensive vanadium steel Global knives, a very good Japanese product which has - in addition to its many other fine qualities - the added attraction of looking really cool."

See photos of the celebrity chef:

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EXCLUSIVE - Anthony Bourdain poses backstage with the outstanding informational series or special award for "Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown" at the Television Academy's Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
(AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) Chef Anthony Bourdain, 27 October 2003. AFR Picture by MICHELE MOSSOP (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Chef Anthony Bourdain does a cooking demonstration at the South Beach Food And Wine Festival on February 26, 2005 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 12: Chef Anthony Bourdain has a drink at Tintol restaurant in Times Square. Bourdain, 49, is the star of 'Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,' the Travel Channel series that's half travelogue and half food show. Traveling constantly for the show, on which he regularly grosses viewers out by eating such delicacies as fermented shark meat in Iceland - 'the smell alone would stop a rhinoceros in its tracks,' he says - means he's only in his Manhattan apartment a few days out of the month. (Photo by James Keivom/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 21: Chef Tom Colicchio and TV personality Anthony Bourdain attend the Food Bank For New York City's Sixth Annual Can-Do Awards at Abigail Kirsch's Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on April 21, 2009 in New York City (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for BWR)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 28: Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain attend the 2010 South Beach Wine and Food Festival Grand Tasting Village on February 28, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - JUNE 30: Anthony Bourdain discusses his book 'Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook' presented by Books and Books at Lincoln Theatre on June 30, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
TOP CHEF -- 'An Offer They Can't Refuse' Episode 808 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jduges Tom Colicchio, Anthony Bourdain (Photo by David Giesbrecht/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Anthony Bourdain attends the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village during the 2011 South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 27, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 19: TV personality Anthony Bourdain attends the Great Googa Mooga 2012 at Prospect Park on May 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 650 -- Pictured: (l-r) Anthony Bourdain, Jimmy Fallon -- (Photo by: Ira James/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TASTE - ABC's 'The Taste' features no-holds barred chef Anthony Bourdain. (Photo by Sasha Shemirani/ABC via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 10: Anthony Bourdain attends the Disney ABC Television Group 2013 TCA Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 10, 2013 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Anthony Bourdain attends the South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2013 Grand Tasting Village on February 23, 2013 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 10: TV personality Anthony Bourdain attends 'Parts Unknown Last Bite' Live CNN Talk Show hosted by Anthony Bourdain at Atomic Liquors on November 10, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 24280_001_0026.JPG (Photo by Isaac Brekken/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: (L-R) Senior vice president for talent and content development Amy Entelis, Anthony Bourdain and Senior vice president of development and acquisitions Vinnie Malhotra attend the CNN Upfront 2014 at Skylight Modern on April 10, 2014 in New York City. 24679_002_0417.JPG (Photo by Bryan Bedder/WireImage for Turner Networks)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 04: Chef, Author and TV Personality Anthony Bourdain attends The 2015 Bronx Academy Of Letters Chefs' Tasting Benefit at The Edison Ballroom on March 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Anthony Bourdain attends the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Author/chef Anthony Bourdain attends the 2015 Center For Fiction Benefit & Awards at The Metropolitan Club on December 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images)
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But, he says, you still really only need one good chefs knife. "Like a pro, you should use the tip for the small stuff, and the area nearer the heel for the larger."

That's not to say that you can't find any other useful knives, especially if you're a professional or aspiring chef.

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Bourdain himself also carries a flexible boning knife from Global to "fillet the occasional fish" and trim meat, but if you have a butcher who carves up your meals, you can do without. He keeps a paring knife on hand for the more elaborate carving of vegetables, and admits that an offset serrated knife, which is a basic serrated knife with an ergonomic handle that isn't flush with the blade, "is a truly cool item which, once used, becomes indispensable." It can be used for everything from bread to tomatoes to meat to fish ... and you can get a good, stainless steel one for about $25.

SEE ALSO: Anthony Bourdain discusses the new season of 'Parts Unknown,' his favorite restaurants, and how he went from outsider chef to the top of the food world

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