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Looking for a great chef's knife

Thu Nov 28, 2013 8:44 am

Hi there,

I'm looking to invest in a great chef's knife. I'm starting an internship in a restaurant and I also have opened up several pop up restaurants out of my house. For the past few years, I've been using henckels knives but I think its time to upgrade. I've been looking at the mac knives but I'm open and wanted to hear your recommendations. I'll be using the knife mostly at home but sometimes at work. I'm used to western knives so I would prefer to stick to their style/feel but I'm open to Japanese knives.

To answer the questions, I am
-right handed,
-looking for a 210 chef's/gyuto knife
-stainless
-western handle
-$200 range +/-
-I don't know how to sharpen.

Thanks so much!
Spencer

Re: Looking for a great chef's knife

Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:52 pm

Common entry level recommendations:

Fujiwara FKM:
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy21.html

Tojiro DP: A bit heavier than the Fujiwara, probably most similar to western styled knives
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojiro-dp-f-8081.html

Richmond Artifex: Grind is probably less keen than the other two out of the box, aesthetics are a bit plain, but the steel is outstanding and a little work with some sharpening stones and this thing is a beast. I own all three of these, and this is my favorite of the three...now.
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar21.html

Mid to higher end knives. I don't own any of these in particular so take with a grain of salt. Someone correct me if I am wrong on any of this.

Misono 440:
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mi440gy21.html

Misono UX10: I get the impression this is the standard bearer for Japanese knives in the US for many users. I understand it is not exceptional compared to much of what is available today, but it is still a very good knife.
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mi.html

Takayuki Grand Chef: If I am reading the description correctly this is AEB-L steel. AEB-L is the same steel used in the Richmond Artifex, it is a really awesome steel. This knife likely has a better grind that then Artifex so is better out of the box.
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tagrch21gy.html

Suisin Inox: I believe these are "lasers". Very light, very thin. Might be the largest departure from you current knives.
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/suisingyuto2.html

Kikuichi TKC: Semi-stainless, may not work for you. Seem well liked by people in the know. Typically stainless are harder to sharpen, take a less refined edge than carbon, semi-stainless bridges the divide. You would have to ask someone who owns one about how reactive semi-stainless is.
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ictkcgy21.html



This is just a primer. I am a wa-handled, carbon guy so my you are out of my reservation, none the less, hope this helps.

-Ryan

Re: Looking for a great chef's knife

Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:45 am

Thanks Ryan for the detailed explanations and recommendations! They are very helpful and have helped me narrow down my selection from the hundreds of knives on this site. Out of curiosity, what are some thoughts about the "well-known" brands like shun or mac in comparison to these?

Also, any recommendations on paring knives?

Thanks!

Re: Looking for a great chef's knife

Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:17 pm

Of course it depends on what head to head comparison you are making but:

Shuns have three drawbacks that I see:
1) Shun uses VG-10, by and large, which is a good but not great cutlery steel, this is the same steel used in the Tojiro DP at a considerable savings.
2) Shuns are overpriced for the performance they deliver. They are not bad knives, but you can get good knives for cheaper, or amazing knives for the same money.
3) The ubiquity of Shun at American kitchen retailers makes them . . . less unique and exciting than some of these less well known manufacturers.

Macs have two:
1) I am not a steel guru, but I understand the Mac steel is, again, good but not great. That being said, I own a Mac Superior santoku, I love it, it does a great job. Part of the Mac cult, I think, is they are thin and that contributes a lot to perceived sharpness.
2) Macs have a utilitarian aesthetic. This is not a huge drawback, the Richmond Artifex line has a similar aesthetic, but for the same price Fujiwaras and Tojiros offer western style bolsters which up their game a bit.

This is all preference though and the Macs and Shun are not crap. I think many on this forum tend to prefer something different for the same money, but I would guess that both Shun and Mac are still best sellers on CKTG.

BTW Mark has been trumpeting the value of this Shun: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shunsora8chef.html
The handle is a bit chintzy, but the knife is attractive and a good performer at a competitive price.

Re: Looking for a great chef's knife

Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:25 pm

BTW,

If your budget is tight, you might consider getting a less expensive knife and looking at adding a sharpening stone to your shopping list. Maintaining a good edge is probably as important as having a decent knife. A mediocre steel will often take a good edge, but lose it quickly, being able to sharpen means you can rectify that problem yourself.

I see Mark recommend this to beginning sharpeners as a cost effective entry level but your options in stones are as broad as your options in knives. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/imtwosi1kst.html

Sharpening is not too difficult, there is a learning curve, but once you know how it is easy, quick, and will make cooking that much better for a lifetime.

Re: Looking for a great chef's knife

Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:36 pm

All high quality stainless knives. The Takayuki Damascus and Masamoto are two of my favorites.

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/satadagy210.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/masamoto- ... 210mm.html
looking-for-a-great-chef-s-knife-t4364.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tagrch21gy.html
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