When I'm at parties I'm always asked one of three things.

1- What's your favorite thing to make?
2- What's your favorite restaurant?
3- What's your favorite kitchen tool?

The first two are hard, but the last one is the most difficult. There's so many to choose from: mixer, grater, food processor, pepper grinder, etc. Since there are so many so called "essentials" I've decided to highlight one each week. Most of these will be kitchen must-haves, but I'll also highlight the occasional splurge. You can think of this list as The Ultimate Kitchen.

To start things off, every kitchen needs at least one good 8" chef's knife. A full set of knives is nice to have, but it's actually better (and cheaper) to build your own set. This way you'll get the knives that suit your needs best. So to start off your set, invest in a good chef's knife. I personally really like the knives from Global, they have a lightweight feel and a unique grip handle. Plus, if I'm going to be 100% honest, I also just like the way they look.

A Global 8" Chef's Knife will set you back about $86. If you're adding it to a registry, you may consider requesting the 3-Piece Global Knife Set which includes a 3 1/2" paring knife, a 5 1/4" utility knife and 7" santoku (which can replace the need for an 8" chef's knife).

If you don't like the way Global's feel (go in and test them out first), Wüsthof and Henckels are both really nice knives as well.