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#1 Demetrius

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:20 PM

Since moving to northern Virginia a little over two years ago, I have enjoyed the opportunity to use this site and other blogs to explore the local restaurants and farmer's markets.

The latter has probably been more enjoyable as it has afforded me the opportunity to purchase locally grown produce and fresh meat to bring home and prepare for my wife and I.

While certainly not an expert in the kitchen, I am not a novice either. I would like to invest in a superb set of kitchen knives, and believe that Wustof is the best available.

I am unable to purchase a full block set, and would rather purchase one or two at a time to complete the block.

If anyone has any feedback, or suggestions regarding this brand or others please let me know.

#2 Sthitch

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:28 PM

I use both MAC and Wustof's, and have found that hands down MAC are better knives. Plus the pairing knives are less expensive.

#3 JPW

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:37 PM

For most home cooking I don't think that you'll find a whole heck of lot of difference between the high quality knives (Wustof, Henckels, Global, etc.).

I think the most important thing is to go to the stores and try them out. Pick the ones that feel best in your hand.

Joe
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#4 shogun

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:41 PM

I think the most important thing is to go to the stores and try them out. Pick the ones that feel best in your hand.

Completely what he said. Don't worry so much about block sets. A good chef's knife and paring knife will do 90% of what you're going to want done.
Matt Robinson

I'll have the beef car-patchio to start, and the braised lamb shank...........and a Yorkie. Buttered.

#5 Jacques Gastreaux

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:43 PM

Surly Table I think has a good selection of high quality knoves. Also, I think eGulet had a culinary instistute on knives once.
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#6 Demetrius

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:46 PM

Do I need to consider the size of the chef's knife? The three sizes that most knives I have seen fall into the range of: 6 inches, 8 inches, or 10 inches. The latter sounds a little big and think that an 8 inch knife is more than sufficient. Agree?

Thank you.

#7 nashman1975

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:48 PM

I have Wusthof Grand Prix knives. I love them, they are great. I have the bread/chef/paring/carving knife and a block. My one regret is that I didn't buy as a group. They are a ton more expensive (as far as I can tell) when you buy separately. I know you said you wanted to buy separately and buildup, but check Amazon or Ebay and see if they have massive discounts.

Also, as a recommendation...I have this for sharpening (ideally you use a stone...but this is a quicker version)...Furi Diamond fingers (just google it)


Also, a thought from Tony Bourdain's book, Kitchen Confidential

"You need, for God's sake, a decent chef's knife. 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 chef's knife, as large as is comfortable for your hand. Brand name? Okay, most talented amateurs get a boner buying one of the old-school professional high-carbon stainless knives from Germany or Austria, like a Henkel or Wusthof, and those are fine knives, if heavy. High carbon makes them slightly easier to sharpe! n, and stainless keeps them from getting stained and corroded. They look awfully good in the knife case at the store, too, and you send the message to your guests when flashing a hundred-dollar hunk of Solingen steel that you take your cooking seriously. But do you really need something so heavy? So expensive? So difficult to maintain (which you probably won't)? Unless you are really and truly going to spend fifteen minutes every couple of days working that blade on an oiled carborundum stone, followed by careful honing on a diamond steel, I'd forgo the Germans.

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.

Global makes a lot of knives in different sizes, so what do you need? One chef's knife. This should cut just about anything you might work with, from a shallot to a watermelon, an onion to a sirloin strip. Like a pro, you should use the tip of the knife for the small stuff, and the area nearer the heel for the larger. This isn't difficult; buy a few rutabagas or onions - they're cheap - and practice on them. Nothing will set you apart from the herd quicker than the ability to handle a chef's knife properly. If you need instruction on how to handle a knife without lopping off a finger, I recommend Jacques Pepin's La Technique."
"If you don't do it this year, you'll be one year older when you do." - Warren Miller

#8 shogun

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:50 PM

Surly Table I think has a good selection of high quality knoves.  Also, I think eGulet had a culinary instistute on knives once.

I can't find an eCGI course on knife selection per se (they have them on sharpening and skills), but here is The eGullet Chef Knife Thread.

Also remember to consider knife storage. Since you're not getting a block (unless you're buying an empty one, which you can, but I still submit you don't need to fill it nessesarily), you will need something to store the knife in for both safety and for the sake of not banging up your new knife. I got my 8-inch Henckels at Sur La Table (as a set with a paring knife...seemed a decent value) and they had these plastic clamshell covers for the knives that have served well, in the low single digits of dollars, if memory serves.
Matt Robinson

I'll have the beef car-patchio to start, and the braised lamb shank...........and a Yorkie. Buttered.

#9 jm chen

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:53 PM

Definitely try before you buy, as the wise minds have agreed above. My brother has a set of either Wusthof or Henckels, both of which have a really great reputation... however, they have a black resin-type handle, which gets very slick when the knives are wet and is very hard to grip. This stuff is what they don't tell you when you're in the shopping stage.

I have a set of Chicago Cutlery, stainless handle, the full block with sharpener. Lessee... it's... this set, currently available for $100 from Target. Definitely the paring knife and the chef's knife get the most use. Maybe buy a set like this and then just replace the chef's knife with a more expensive alternative?

The 6/8/10 question is also one that can be solved by holding the knife in your hand and going through the motions with it. A knife that feels good in your hand is a good knife. A knife that does not, is not.
Jael

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#10 JPW

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:55 PM

A thought (or 2) for Tony.
Knife weight is a little less important when your dicing up one onion at home then when you're a prep cook and dicing up a 20 pound bag every day.
Tried the Globals and hated them. The balance and grip were all wrong for me. (They do, however, look cool)

Joe
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#11 mdt

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 04:08 PM

Sur la Table allows you to test out the knives so take a trip and see what fits your hand the best. Their prices are pretty competitive to what I have found online.

The Globals and Shuns are pretty light and I personally do not like that feel, no matter how many onions I happen to be chopping. Personally I own a couple Wustof Grand Prix II knives, and just picked up another as a Christmas present to myself, and really like them.

#12 nyani

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 04:13 PM

I took the Intro to Knives class at Sur la Table- $25 I think, but comes with a coupon for a knife purchase- 10-15%. I found it to be helpful and definitely a good way to try out all the brands. I ended up with a Furi chef's knife because I have small hands and like the fit. I never would have thought about that brand before the class (this was pre Rachel Ray endorsement).

#13 porcupine

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 04:33 PM

If you need instruction on how to handle a knife without lopping off a finger, I recommend Jacques Pepin's La Technique."

L'Academie de Cuisine offers a nice basic knife skills class.
FWIW, I love my Global, but when I dropped it off at La Cuisine to be sharpened, I picked up a 9" Messermeister San Moritz Elite, which I also love. (Yeah, I know, I don't need two chef's knives - I'm just a gear geek.) Here's one more vote for 'try before you buy' - find one that fits your hand and won't fatigue you.

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#14 Heather

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 04:48 PM

I second JPW's suggestion to find a knife with a grip that works for you. I have a 10-inch Shun and love it. Wusthof and Henckels are the wrong shape, and Global the wrong weight.

#15 StephenB

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 09:57 PM

I do not put myself forth as a knife expert, but I had an experience that may be of interest. Two decades ago when I was visiting Kyoto, I asked for an appointment at Kyocera hq since I was writing about technology and I was interested in their printers and cameras. Oddly, they assigned a Spanish-speaking employe (just back from Peru) to brief me, which worked out pretty well since I have a much better knowledge of Spanish than Japanese.

After showing me what they were working on in my areas of interest, this gentleman paused dramatically, and said, "But those are not our most exciting products."

He had my interest. "Kyocera derives from Kyoto Ceramics," and we are working on a ceramic knife that will revolutionize the cutlery industry." He showed me a sample. "This knife," he explained, "is sharper, more durable and lighter than anything on the market. It does not retain odors, it wipes easily and if it ever needs to be sharpened, we will do it here for the customer. There is only one little problem."

"Problem," I repeated.

"If you are working in a kitchen with a tiled floor, and you drop the knife and it lands on its point, it will shatter into a thousand pieces. We're working on that."

Well, 20 years have passed and I notice that Ming Tsai is pitching Kyocera ceramic knives. I wondered whether the passage of time had enabled the company to solve its little problem.

I recently bought a chef's knife with a 6" blade. Would that I had the experience and knowledge that other contributors here do. All I can say is that it cuts meat and vegetables quote nicely. It is an in-between size. And so far I have not dropped it on its point.
--What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?
--Why then the beef, and let the mustard rest.
--Nay, then I will not; you shall have the mustard,
Or else you get no beef of Grumio.
--Why then the mustard without the beef.
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#16 johnb

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 10:18 PM

I do not put myself forth as a knife expert

In spite of that, have you tried the Chinese chopper and if so what did you think?

#17 StephenB

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 09:21 AM

In spite of that, have you tried the Chinese chopper and if so what did you think?

Yes, I tried the cleaver (which I bought at Great Wall on your recommendation). It does the job but it's heavy. You can't use it for precise jobs. It's great for deboning a fowl.
--What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?
--Why then the beef, and let the mustard rest.
--Nay, then I will not; you shall have the mustard,
Or else you get no beef of Grumio.
--Why then the mustard without the beef.
_________________Taming of the Shrew

Conscience freed from every clog,
Mahometans eat up the hog.
________________ William Cowper, 1779

#18 gastronomnivore

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 02:32 PM

Also remember to consider knife storage. Since you're not getting a block (unless you're buying an empty one, which you can, but I still submit you don't need to fill it nessesarily), you will need something to store the knife in for both safety and for the sake of not banging up your new knife. I got my 8-inch Henckels at Sur La Table (as a set with a paring knife...seemed a decent value) and they had these plastic clamshell covers for the knives that have served well, in the low single digits of dollars, if memory serves.

That is true about the clamshells -- all sizes, max about $5 each. I have several, but I find I only use them for knives I don't use much. My real knife-storage score came from Target -- it's a rectangular molded-plastic tray, similar material to the clamshells, with 2 humps in it (running crosswise) and 4 slots in them for knives. Fits in a drawer and holds the 10" slicer, the 6" chef's and 2 paring knives, which are the workhorses I use on a more-than-daily basis. It cost maybe $2 or $3, back in the housewares section with all the little drawer trays. It's probably made for something else - who knows? Personally I think those knife blocks get nasty fast -- dust and kitchen spatters and you can't run them thru the dishwasher -- feh.

#19 bkeith

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 08:24 AM

This isn't SO innovative... but does anyone have experience with ceramic knives? That and the microplane grater are the two things I think my kitchen is missing. (Besides the 7.5-quart Calphalon pot I ordered last week.)

I bought a ceramic knife when I was in Tokyo a few years back. Love it. I generally reserve it for vegetables, though it works great on meat too. You just don't want to go hacking away at bones with it. It stays super sharp -- no steeling, no sharpening (and no dropping on the floor!). Lighter than a steel knife, so less chance of hand fatigue on long chopping sessions (not really something I worry about, but figured I'd point it out anyway).

The potential for breakage is, of course, the drawback to these knives. But take good care of it, and it'll be your friend for life.
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#20 ChefKevin

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 11:01 PM

This isn't SO innovative... but does anyone have experience with ceramic knives? That and the microplane grater are the two things I think my kitchen is missing. (Besides the 7.5-quart Calphalon pot I ordered last week.)

Ceramic knives can be dificult to sharpen yet they hold an edge better than steel. I guess I'm too conventional to give up my steel knives. As for microplanes, The Microplane brand is top shelf. I have all 3 available types, the standard fine one, one to shave chocolate and another for hard cheeses.
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#21 Jonathan

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 06:46 PM

not named sur la table or william sonoma to buy nice kitchen knives such as mac or misuno. want to be able to hold them in my hand before i buy them, so i was hoping anyone knew of a store in the area that might sell them.

ty.

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#22 Jacques Gastreaux

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 07:07 PM

La Cuisine in Old Town. On Cameron Street, behind City Hall.
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#23 Barbara

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 08:32 PM

La Cuisine in Old Town.  On Cameron Street, behind City Hall.

Yup. A thousand times: Yup.

#24 erikv

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 01:42 AM

Got a great salesguy at Sur La Table. Let me feel all the different knives. He gave me some critique on each, and I decided on one. No pressure, very friendly service. Bought 2 more since this first experience.....but I'm not sure they have the brands you are looking for. I went in wanting to get henckels, so I didn't really notice any of the others. Hope this helps you out.

#25 porcupine

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 07:34 PM

La Cuisine in Old Town.  On Cameron Street, behind City Hall.

And it's a very short walk to Restaurant Eve for a nice lunch after.

Elizabeth Miller
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#26 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 10:29 PM

not named sur la table or william sonoma to buy nice kitchen knives such as mac or misuno.

I know you said "in the area", but if you have the chance to hop up to NYC ($46 round-trip internet fare on Greyhound), it's worth making a visit to Korin Trading Co. Their open stock displays hold dozens of Japanese kitchen knives in a wide variety of sizes and price ranges, including a number of seriously lust-inducing yanagis. If you're a southpaw like me, it's also one of the few places you can buy a left-handed Japanese knife off-the-shelf, as he custom regrinds a small number of the Western-style chef's knives himself. All other lefty knives are custom-order with a hefty surcharge, as left-handedness is still actively discouraged in much of Asia.

The important thing is to call Korin first to schedule your visit, let them know it's a professional purchase, and tell them that you'd like a sharpening lesson from Mr. Sugai while you're in town buying your knife. He teaches hands-on with an assortment of stones, no more than two customers at a time. Bring a pen and notepad, and one or two of your favorite knives along; he'll go over the particulars of sharpening different edge types, and probably put one heck of an edge on what you brought. His standard test is taking easy slices off the end of a stick of open-cell packing foam held in mid-air.

The sharpening stones aren't discounted very well, but some of the other widgets are, particularly the Benriner slicers. Keep notes on the exact stones that are recommended for a particular knife, as some of the steels used are exceptionally hard.

Dave Hsu
--------"Cuisine represents a knife edge that separates attractive stimulation from death."--- Art Ayers


#27 Joe H

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 08:15 AM

ON Wednesday I was in Solingen, Germany and visited the huge Zwilling/Henckels factory. In front of the factory is a large store which carries their complete line along with Rosle and Carl Mertens. Zwilling has just released a knife called the Cermax which is a sincere effort on their part to compete with the finest of the Japanese knives. I should note that it is not made in their Solingen factory, rather in their Japanese factory.

(http://www.zwilling....s/2278/seiten/0
Their new knife is extraordinary-it is almost as sharp as a scalpel with a very light handle; they insist that despite lengthy everyday usage it will retain this sharpness for as long as a year without sharpening! Then, you must use a special stone (1000) which they will release in August. Unfortunately, for the moment, this knife is only being sold in limited stores (and their factory) in Germany and Japan.

Is is also extraordinarily expensive for their Chef's knife: Euro 249. (U. S. $325)

Still, I bought one, and used it last night. It is simply the finest knife I have ever used. Look out for this when it is sold here or, if you are in Germany or Japan, it is worth a serious look if you are really into cooking.

Edited by Joe H, 28 April 2006 - 08:34 AM.


#28 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 05:11 PM

Technically this is a post about a chain store, but...

FYI the Chesapeake Knife & Tool going-out-of-business sale is still going on. Last weekend everything was 30-70% off the lowest tagged price, and I believe they were going to bump it up again midweek. The Montgomery Mall location was somewhat picked-over, but still had most of their steel kitchen cutlery (Henckels, Wüsthof, Shun etc) available at 30% off. No ceramic blades left, and few sharpening tools. I hear the Fair Oaks location has quite a bit more good stuff in stock including the Kyocera paring knives, at least as of a week ago.

The tagged prices on cutlery seemed slightly higher than I remembered seeing elsewhere, but worked out to be a good deal once the sale discount was applied. Might be a good time to spring for that hollow-ground santoku or that serrated offset knife that you've always wanted.

Dave Hsu
--------"Cuisine represents a knife edge that separates attractive stimulation from death."--- Art Ayers


#29 mdt

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 06:22 AM

not named sur la table or william sonoma to buy nice kitchen knives such as mac or misuno. want to be able to hold them in my hand before i buy them, so i was hoping anyone knew of a store in the area that might sell them.

ty.

Why not Sur la Table? Granted I am not sure that they sell Mac or Misuno, but they let you hold the knives and try them out on a cutting board before buying.

#30 Poivrot Farci

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 01:50 AM

Japanesechesknife
The nuances of weight and balance are negligible. Your hand will adapt to a few centuries of proven eastern tradition. Japanese blades are much thinner and far sharper. Splurge on carbon steel, but don't let prep people open clams with your knife. It will stay sharp with care but may oxidize eventually. Keep your German/French steel for frenching bones and cans of olive oil.

#31 Cooter

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 09:07 AM

So, since I had a gift certificate to Sur La Table, I bought a nice 7" Global Santoku. I test drived it a friend's house and know it comes highly reccomended by a chef friend of a friend, so I'm confident that I will love it. However, while I was looking, I took a gander at the Kyocera ceramic chef's knife that SLT had available. It was light and sat pretty well in my hand. It was even a couple bucks cheaper than the Global. However, since I fear new technology I didn't even think of buying it.

When I got home, however, I did some googling and it seems that people like their ceramics and the old problems, like shatterage and breakage, are not really a problem any more. The only drawback, it seems, is that you can't use ceramics on bone or other hardish things. Since I have a Heckels 8" chef's knife, this shouldn't be a problem and I would use the ceramic pretty much exclusively on vegetables and fish.

So, does anyone care to share their experience with these new-fangled ceramic knives?

#32 TedE

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 10:30 AM

Others may have dissenting opinions, but in my view ceramics just aren't worth it. Are they sharp? Yes, but not any sharper than you can get a good steel knife. Will they stay sharp longer than a steel knife? Yes, but only if you are assuming the steel knife is not honed regularly. Are the new ceramics sturdier than previous generation? Yes, but one drop on a tiled floor or careless bang against a pot/counter/sink and your expensive knife has an unfixable chip in the blade or is broken clean in half. I don't see any advantage they have over a well kept traditional chef's knife. If you don't want to do any knife maintenance at all (no honing, no sharpening) they may be a good option, but that's the only positive they have in my view. The light weight is actually a big disadvantage to me; I want some heft to my blades. I would consider one as a paring knife just for kicks, but nothing of the size of a chef's knife.

All in my humble opinion, of course.

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#33 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 11:39 AM

They're too darn light. I might make an exception for a utility knife for ripe tomatoes: they glide through more easily than stainless, and are impervious to the acid staining that plagues high-carbon.

However, I adore my ceramic vegetable peeler...it blazes through root vegetable skins easily, and steel peelers are bloody hard to sharpen.

Dave Hsu
--------"Cuisine represents a knife edge that separates attractive stimulation from death."--- Art Ayers


#34 jm chen

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 11:54 AM

I have a Kyocera ceramic, I think it's 5 1/2", and it works great but I never use it. Because the metal knives are out in a block on the counter, and the ceramic is tucked away in a drawer inside a box so it doesn't get broken or banged.

If I have a lot of onions and/or peppers to cut I'll get it out, because it blazes through those things. The onion just melts away from the knife. But it's kind of like my mandoline. Does it do a better job than the regular knife? Sure. Is it worth the slight extra hassle of retrieval and cleaning? Nah, not really.

Agreed with Dave on ceramic peelers -- huge improvement over metal, a definite buy.
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#35 dcdavidm

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 10:11 PM

So, since I had a gift certificate to Sur La Table, I bought a nice 7" Global Santoku. I test drived it a friend's house and know it comes highly reccomended by a chef friend of a friend, so I'm confident that I will love it. However, while I was looking, I took a gander at the Kyocera ceramic chef's knife that SLT had available. It was light and sat pretty well in my hand. It was even a couple bucks cheaper than the Global. However, since I fear new technology I didn't even think of buying it.

When I got home, however, I did some googling and it seems that people like their ceramics and the old problems, like shatterage and breakage, are not really a problem any more. The only drawback, it seems, is that you can't use ceramics on bone or other hardish things. Since I have a Heckels 8" chef's knife, this shouldn't be a problem and I would use the ceramic pretty much exclusively on vegetables and fish.

So, does anyone care to share their experience with these new-fangled ceramic knives?

When my spouse got assigned out of the area for a year and needed some kitchen equipment basics, I got her the two smaller Kyocera knives (small paring knife and a 5 inch or so utility knife) because I knew that knife maintenance was not her bailiwick. The knives served her well and almost six years later are still going strong. I made a small two-slot knife block that sits on our kitchen counter next to the large block, and invariably the ceramics are the ones we go to for routine light tasks such as slicing most fruits and vegetables or cutting a sandwich. Yes; one has to be careful about bones and not putting sideways pressure on the blades, but ours have been worth the money. Would I want them as my only knife material? No; they have too many limitations. But as as an adjunct to a few good steel blades they are nice.

#36 The Gourmet Pig

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 10:40 AM

Hi,

I'm just starting out as a line cook (after going the more traditional law school route), and I need to buy my first few knives and carrying case. What should I buy? I'm not very rich (or rather, I'm poor, with student loans aplenty), but I want to buy something decent. Any suggestions?

Jon
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#37 jpschust

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 10:49 AM

Hi,

I'm just starting out as a line cook (after going the more traditional law school route), and I need to buy my first few knives and carrying case. What should I buy? I'm not very rich (or rather, I'm poor, with student loans aplenty), but I want to buy something decent. Any suggestions?

Jon

Here are the keys- you don't need many knives, just a few unless you are going to be doing some very random things- but ideally a smaller paring knife, a chef's knife, and a serrated knife should take you pretty far. I can bone with a small paring knife, chop, dice, mince and so on with my bigger knife and cut tougher things with my serrated. I'll caveat this by saying I haven't done any line work in quite a while (in college). You must get some good sharpening tools- a sharpening stone especially and learn to use it well. For a case, everyone who sells decent knives sells small zip up cases. Do not buy a knife without handling it first. You need to feel the ballance and weight of it on your hand. Just some general guidelines.
Jonathon Schuster
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#38 zoramargolis

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 11:08 AM

Many young chefs are now using Japanese santoku sushi knives, instead of the more traditional European-stlye chefs' knives. If you go to a Sur La Table, you can handle and closely inspect all kinds of high-quality knives to find out what feels good in your hand. You don't necessarily want to buy there, as you may be able to find what you want cheaper online, but at least you will know what you are looking for, and can shop around for the best price..

I would also suggest you consider getting a boning/fileting knife, for fish and meat prep.

#39 The Gourmet Pig

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 11:14 AM

Here are the keys- you don't need many knives, just a few unless you are going to be doing some very random things- but ideally a smaller paring knife, a chef's knife, and a serrated knife should take you pretty far. I can bone with a small paring knife, chop, dice, mince and so on with my bigger knife and cut tougher things with my serrated. I'll caveat this by saying I haven't done any line work in quite a while (in college). You must get some good sharpening tools- a sharpening stone especially and learn to use it well. For a case, everyone who sells decent knives sells small zip up cases. Do not buy a knife without handling it first. You need to feel the ballance and weight of it on your hand. Just some general guidelines.


thanks!

Any brands recommended to try out? How local stores where I can try them? Internet stores where they are cheaper? Anyone want to give an inexperienced line cook a job?
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#40 rkduggins

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 11:52 AM

Off topic, but sort of related...

How do you dispose of knives that are no longer of use? I'm loath to just throw them away; they're KNIVES. They're also junking up my kitchen and bringing me down. Assistance, please!
Rachel
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#41 mhberk

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 12:23 PM

I wouldn't start out with anything too expensive. I remember really putting a hurting on my knives when I was just getting started. If I were you, I'd start out with a set of really inexpensive knives and then see what you use the most for what you do. Once you get a feel for the knives, you can move up to the better quality ones.

I too like the santoku knives. The ones to get are the ones with the air pockets that reduce the friction when your slicing through meat.

As far as disposing of knives, I just give mine away to family and friends
(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me
Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Can't get enough lamb chops?
Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.
Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself!! That is lamb, not A lamb.

#42 ferment everything

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 01:56 PM

Any brands recommended to try out?

I got a Global chef's knife after reading Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential (he has a ringing endorsement for them) and then doing a bit of research on the side. It's the only knife I own except for a serrated bread knife. Been meaning to get a smaller paring knife, but so far, the Global has been my workhorse. Bought it on Amazon.
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#43 zoramargolis

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 09:31 PM

I got a Global chef's knife after reading Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential (he has a ringing endorsement for them) and then doing a bit of research on the side. It's the only knife I own except for a serrated bread knife. Been meaning to get a smaller paring knife, but so far, the Global has been my workhorse. Bought it on Amazon.

I have Globals--two chef's (a 10" and 6") and a 3" paring knife, a boning knife and a serrated, and I also have an 8" Furi that I like (not the Raechel Ray model. I got mine before her endorsement deal happened. Mine is all stainless). The chefs I know do not like Globals, because they are too light. They consider themselves manly men, and they like a big, heavy Wusthof to fit their big, manly hands. Well, that is precisely why I prefer my Globals--I don't have big, manly hands. I guess Bourdain doesn't either. I didn't like how the handle of the Shun santoku felt in my hand.

#44 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 09:50 PM

If you folks wouldn't mind indulging me for a moment: if you're making a knife recommendation in this thread, please follow jpschust's lead and indicate somewhere whether you've worked professionally as a line cook or not, if it's not obvious from your current signature. I know a lot of people here have past experience in the business, but it's not obvious to someone new to the community, and in any case I think it would be interesting to compare the advice of those who've spent hours banging out prepwork etc versus talented hobbyists (or untalented, in my case). For instance, from what I've seen the former group seems to place more emphasis on knife weight and its effect on fatigue, but are also generally more conscientious about regular knife maintenance and therefore more accepting of higher-maintenance blade materials. Much thanks.

Dave Hsu
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#45 zoramargolis

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 10:12 AM

If you folks wouldn't mind indulging me for a moment: if you're making a knife recommendation in this thread, please follow jpschust's lead and indicate somewhere whether you've worked professionally as a line cook or not, if it's not obvious from your current signature. I know a lot of people here have past experience in the business, but it's not obvious to someone new to the community, and in any case I think it would be interesting to compare the advice of those who've spent hours banging out prepwork etc versus talented hobbyists (or untalented, in my case). For instance, from what I've seen the former group seems to place more emphasis on knife weight and its effect on fatigue, but are also generally more conscientious about regular knife maintenance and therefore more accepting of higher-maintenance blade materials. Much thanks.

Frankly, I'm not sure it makes that much of a difference, if the advice is for him to find a knife that feels comfortable to him. There are professionals who like heavy knives, lightweight knives and suntoku knives, and the same goes for amateur home chefs. A heavy Wusthof knife can feel "just right" even after hours of prep, to someone with powerful arms and hands. Someone else might prefer a lightweight knife to prevent fatigue.

I have been, at various points in my life, a pro, "semi-pro" (occasional private chef and caterer) and home cooking enthusiast. I have heavy knives that I use for certain tasks, like cutting up chickens, and lighter-weight knives that I use for every day work. If the original poster is going into professional kitchens, and can't afford to buy a bunch of knives, there are a couple of considerations: one, he needs to buy a few knives that will be comfortable to work with and maintain, and two, there can be a lot of teasing and locker-room type of bravado in many professional kitchens. In some places, and I am thinking about one in particular where I worked, a guy who unpacked a knife roll full of Globals would get ragged on mercilessly, whereas a Suntoku, equally as light, was a popular choice. Just sayin'...

#46 mdt

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 11:38 AM

I'm just starting out as a line cook...

What does the chef where you are working recommend?

I suggest you go to a store like Sur La Table where you can try out a variety of knives to see what fits your hand the best. Remember that you will most likely have these knives for a very long time so spending a few extra $$ now will be worth it in the long run.

#47 Poivrot Farci

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 11:52 AM

Globals are clumsy “stamped” utensils from a decade ago favored by vain pony-tailed cooks for their then cutting edge form rather than efficient timeless function. Though the thin molybdenum blades are sharp, their handles are too light and without a bolster not properly designed for balanced hands with opposable thumbs. The heavier “premium brand” German type high carbon stainless steel knives are forged rather than stamped and stronger, their “hardness” based on the Rockwell Scale, and easier to sharpen.
Vintage French Sabatier type carbon steel blades are softer and allow for a much sharper edge but require maintenance as they are likely to stain.
Japanese style blades are narrowly beveled on one side, making them extremely sharp, as opposed to the traditional western knives with two bevels, but do not cut straight through thick mediums and take time getting used to.
Misono carries an affordable and respectable line of molybdenum high carbon stainless steel with the soft/sharpness of carbon steel that does not rust or stain. The curved tips of gyuto knives are more conducive to a rocking forward slicing motion than the stubby santoku.

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#48 TedE

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 01:12 PM

Globals are clumsy “stamped” utensils from a decade ago favored by vain pony-tailed cooks for their then cutting edge form rather than efficient timeless function.

I used to think this of Globals, but a chef of smaller stature convinced me otherwise. They are completely wrong for me, but I can now see why some swear by them. Pretty much every major player has come to market with a similar seamless steel design by now so there are a lot more options than Global. They hold a keen edge for a long time but are a pain the ass to sharpen when they do go dull. I have a paring knife I picked up cheap on eBay that I had to sharpen right out of the box, and I hope with the low use it gets I won't have to do it again for a very long time ;)

Korin

I recently picked up a very nice snakewood handle gyutou from Korin after inquiring about a big clearance sale they were having on their "Korin" branded knives right after the New Year. They were out of the one listed on the site but substituted basically the exact same knife with Nenox branding which would normally have been $50 or so more expensive just for the name. I think they get house-branded knives from a lot of the better Japanese producers and can sell them for less (not that the discount actually makes it a bargain!). I can attest to the quality; it's a fantastic piece of steel with a more nimble, lighter blade than my everyday Wusthof. Definitely worth the splurge if you are into that kind of thing :blink: . I'm not sure I like it better than the Aritsugu deba we picked up in Japan, but it's a hell of a lot more versatile.

Putting aside fetishistic boutique alloyed objets d'art my advice mirrors most of that above: go somewhere and handle a bunch of knives, find out what fits your hand. Try a bunch of different grips if you don't have a favorite. Go on eBay and pick one up if you don't have qualms about using a retail store for a test drive. There are a lot of legit merchants that deal in overstock for all of the Wusthofs and Globals and Henckels of the world.

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#49 The Hersch

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 01:44 PM

No knife advice, but a shopping tip. If you decide you want Wüsthof, Cutlery and More has real bargains on the discontinued "Grand Prix" line (which I think is better than the replacement "Grand Prix II", with their silly "ergonomic" handles, anyway). For instance, the 8" cook's knife (probably the all-round most important knife) is going for $69.95; you'd generally have to pay around $95. The "Grand Prix" line was discontinued several years ago, and Cutlery and More has had this sale going on ever since; they must have way overstocked.

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#50 DameEdna

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 02:22 PM

They consider themselves manly men, and they like a big, heavy Wusthof to fit their big, manly hands. Well, that is precisely why I prefer my Globals--I don't have big, manly hands.

Chef machismo is very common, but i don't really understand it (watch me pull this sheet of chocolate chip
cookies out of the oven --- without a pot holder!) It used to be that the chef business was considered not suitable
for woman --- too physically demanding!

In simpler times, the kitchen knife business was divided (by manufacturers) into: home cook knives (for a woman, who was thrifty, and had small hands),
and professional (a man, willing to spend more, big hands, and, if the truth be known, easily swayed by the prestige factor). Now knives are available in many more weights, sizes, styles and price ranges.

The nuances of knifery provide the ideal fuel for a barroom debate, especially the part where someone says "I have a large knife right here ...
let me show you what I mean."

Question: When those prestige brands moved production to China, did product quality suffer?

Craig Johnson





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