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chef's knife vs. gyuto

Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:19 am

what are the differences between a chef's knife and a Gyuto?
and what benefits do those differences contribute to?

Re: chef's knife vs. gyuto

Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:34 am

Gyuto is a Japanese term that refers to their knife that looks the most like what we typically call a chef's knife.

A gyuto is used the same, in place of, whatever you want to say, as a chef's knife.

The differences between a gyuto and chef's knife lay in the design, not the use. A gyuto is TYPICALLY, but not always:

Thinner than a western chef's knife
Has a flatter edge profile than a western chef's knife
Uses steel that is harder than a western chef's knife

Now, with the coming of US makers making knives in the gyuto design....this differentiation becomes almost meaningless. There are "chef's knives" sold today made in the US, or by custom US makers that are more like a gyuto in their properties than a western chef's knife.

So, the term gyuto and chef's knife are more or less used interchangeably. You have to pay more attention to the knife's qualities than a label put on it. The profile, the steel hardness, the geometry....these are things that matter more than a label.

Benefits.....that's not an open and shut discussion either. But, IMHO, thinner cuts better, flatter profile is better for push cutting, harder steel...that one gets more complicated...but harder steel should allow for a thinner geometry, longer edge life, etc.....but there are a lot of things that go into those aspects that go beyond how hard the steel is.

Re: chef's knife vs. gyuto

Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:39 am

"A gyuto will cost you more"

All kidding aside, "gyuto" is Japanese for "cow sword" and has come to mean a Japanese-style knife designed to be similar in use to a European chef's knife. They tend to be knives that are roughly in the 200-300 mm (8-12") range in length, sharpened on both sides, tall enough to be used on a cutting board for chopping and slicing tasks, a somewhat rounded belly, and a moderately pointed tip that can be used for finer work. Depending on where you are and how things are marketed, either may have a Japanese-style handle (rounded) or the Western-style handle. Either can be stamped, forged, or hand-forged.

Within the broad category of chef's knives, however they are called, you'll find differences in length and height of the blade, the amount of curve, how thick the blade is and what its profile is, handle style, balance, and materials used. Among the better knives, the differences tend to make using the knife in certain ways for a set of tasks a little easier, especially for cooks in a commercial setting that are prepping hundreds of the same thing in the same way in a day's work.

I tend to find that the better Japanese knives do a better job on the same tasks as the big-name European knives, even with the changes that the big-name European makers have made in their lines to attract the Japanese-knife-aware consumer back to their lines. Leaving Shun and Global out, I find the Japanese knives typically take and hold a better edge than their European counterparts, are lighter and less fatiguing to use, and are more nimble.

Re: chef's knife vs. gyuto

Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:15 pm

thanks. I think I get it. much appreciated.
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