Kanehiro 240mm Gyuto, Chef Knives to Go, and Value
Prices of high quality Japanese kitchen knives have climbed into the stratosphere in recent years, and many chefs simply cannot afford the knives they need. Enter Kanehiro and Chef Knives to Go, who have recently introduced a basic line of these fine hand forged knives. A chef looking for a top quality Japanese kitchen knife would be well served by a Kanehiro.
Chef Knives to Go started carrying these Kanehiro knives to offer a wa-handled equivalent to its popular western handled Hiromoto knives. The Kanehiro knives offered by Chef Knives to Go have a blade composition similar the justly popular Takeda knives, but cost about 30% less. Like the popular Takeda and Hiromoto lines of knives, the Kanehiro has a core of aogami blue super steel, clad in a softer stainless steel, in san mai fashion. The aogami super steel is hardened to HRC 62-63, sharpens well, and takes a wicked sharp edge that holds well. The stainless steel clad not only adds toughness to the blade, but also protects most of the blade from acids and moisture. Thus, the Kanehiro knives will oxidize and take a patina primarily along the edge where the aogami super steel is exposed.
I recently ordered a Kanehiro 240mm Gyuto from Chef Knives to Go, and I’m pleasantly surprised. The Kanehiro Gyuto has an attractive traditional ho wood octagonal wood handle with a black buffalo horn ferrule. The blade itself was sharp out of the box, with about a twelve degree bevel, with a slightly steeper secondary bevel. This is a knife that is sharp out of the box and ready to use the moment it arrives
The Kanehiro gyuto has a more slender profile than my Takeda gyutos, and given the trend toward more slender profiles in gyutos, many chefs will probably prefer the profile of the Kanehiro to the Takeda.
The Kanehiro gyuto is light and nimble in the hand, and has excellent balance. I have used the Kanehiro a lot over the past week, and found the blade to have excellent geometry. It is not a laser, and for that reason is a better all purpose knife than a laser. This is a work horse gyuto that will stand up to years of rigorous use in restaurant kitchens or several generations in home kitchens. The Kanehiro gyuto has performed well carving, slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing soft and hard vegetables and raw and cooked meats.
I used the Kanehiro gyuto today to prep a Mother’s Day feast for several mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers in the extended family, who were accompanied by extended their extended familes, and several stray friends. In other words, I used the Kanehiro gyuto cater for a group of around one hundred people (I was afraid to count, and couldn’t keep track of everyone long enough to take a count anyway).
The Kanehiro screamed through lettuces, cabbage, cilantro, parsley, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet peppers, radishes, green onions, garlic, potatoes, and onions to be used for barbecue sauce, marinade, salad, potato salad, and cole slaw. I sliced and chopped bacon to put in baked beans. The Kanehiro effortlessly sliced through several cheeses of various hardness. Dozens of lemons were sliced in half for lemonade, and several were sliced for serving iced tea. Endless limes were cut in half to make margaritas (shaken, as a true margarita must be, not blended with ice).
I used the Kanehiro gyuto to carve a turkey when I pulled it out of the smoker. I used it to slice a fine juicy elk roast and a venison roast out of the oven. Of course, the Kanehiro gyuto sliced effortlessly through three beef briskets off the grill, and four pork roasts out of the Weber grill. There was no need to use the gyuto on the barbecued chicken, because I went the easy route and cooked pieces from the grocery store, but when one of the little kids wanted chicken, the gyuto heroically diced meat pulled off a chicken breast.
When a couple of the boys arrived with nine stout rainbow trout fresh out of a local stream, I used the gyuto to clean and gill the trout, which were eleven to eighteen inches long. On demand, the trout went into the Weber Grill. Out of curiosity, I used the Kanehiro 240mm gyuto to fillet the largest of the trout, which one of the boys wanted “barbecued” with my homemade barbecue sauce, so into the Weber Grill went the trout fillets, doused with barbecue sauce (don’t cringe, because its what he wanted, and he loved his barbecued trout fillets). Jiro has nothing on me....
When a couple of the kids wanted their buffalo meat hamburgers and Oscar Meyer hotdogs diced up, the Kanehiro gyuto performed like a laser at slicing and dicing.
Finally, I used the tip of the Kanehiro gyuto to stir a very dry, and very large, martini for yours truly. In case SaltyDog ever reads this, I passed on the Stoly, and enjoyed Teton Glacier Potato Vodka from a small distillery in Idaho at the foot of the Teton Mountains, distilled from world famous Idaho potatoes and pure water flowing west out of Teton National Park. Teton Glacier Potato Vodka is far superior to Stoly in a martini, and is made in America.
I used only one knife to prep and serve the entire all-American feast: the Kanehiro gyuto. The meal now served, I washed the gyuto and examined the blade. No chips, and the blade showed no significant wear. A few passes on a ceramic honing rod would be sufficient, but out of habit, I lightly sharpened the blade on a Shapton Pro 5,000 grit stone, followed by the Shapton Pro 30,000 grit, then stropped on naked balsa, naked horse leather, and, finally, naked cow leather (sharpening and stropping took about ten minutes). As an aside, I love, love, love, these fine Shapton Pro Stones for quickie touch up like this. A little camellia oil to protect the aogami blue steel edge and the Kanehiro gyuto was off to the knife rack, ready for its next round.
Conclusions? The Kanehiro 240mm gyuto is a fantastic knife. My only complaint is that Chef Knives to Go does not yet offer the Kanehiro gyuto in 270mm length, which I prefer to a 240mm. But then again, I did everything from vegetable prep, to carving turkey, to slicing bacon, elk roast, and pork roast. I cleaned and gilled trout, and even filleted one. In short, this is a high quality work horse gyuto that is a fantastic all around knife. The Kanehiro 240mm gyuto is a great choice for chefs looking for a traditional wa-handled Japanese gyuto. Dollar for dollar, it is the best buy in a traditional wa-handled Japanese gyuto. Culinary students, professional chefs, and home chefs looking for a high quality, yet affordable, Japanese gyuto will be well served by a Kanehiro gyuto.
For more on the Kanehiro 240mm gyuto Go To: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kanehiro.html
For more on the Shapton Pro stones, Go To: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shaptonpro.html
For more on balsa, horse leather, and cow leather stops, Go To: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shac.html
For more on camelia oil, Go To: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shac.html
For the finest venison roast, Go To: the legendary hunting grounds on the northern edge of Utah’s Book Cliffs plateau, at the south end of the Ashley Valley, where the White River flows out of Colorado into Utah.
For the finest elk roast, Go To: The Thunder Ranch, in Utah’s Ashley Valley.
For Bison to make buffalo burgers, Go To: Antelope Island in Utah’s Great Salt Lake.
For fresh trout, Go To: Brush Creek, where it flows out of Red Fleet Lake, in Utah’s Ashley Valley.
For the best martini ever, Go To: the liquor store, and get some Teton Glacier Potato Vodka, to take the edge off while you are sharpening your Kanehiro gyuto to a wicked sharp edge.