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 Post subject: Kitchen Knife(s) for Chef
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:56 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:16 am
Posts: 2
Hey guys and gals,

Im newly joined to this forum because I feel like I need a little help getting all this knife information in order. My gf is a recent graduate from culinary school and she has recently gotten a job as a head chef and I would love to get her a set of knifes that are better than the ones she currently has (ones she received upon enrolling in culinary school).

I have done some leg work and researched about what kind of knives are the types that I feel would be best for her work, but although I have the information, I would like to confirm that I have good information as well as some names of brands where I can actually find a knife which has all the attributes.

I suspect that I want to get her a knife that is japanese style rather than western style so that she can have a sharper knife that keeps the edge longer. From my reserach I found that a knife in the 60-64 hardness on the HRC scale wold do the trick.

Next, I am considering an edge that is 12-15 degrees on each side for a total of 24-30 degrees so that its thin and can make great cuts

Then, I want the knife to be light as she has to spend some days close to 13 hours in the kitchen so I need one that is light, most likely w/out a bolster and not a full tang, I also want to stay away from a bolster so that it can be sharpened better. (Im not too worried about the losing the "safety" of it as I understand it doesnt do much and she is really careful with her cuts.

Finally, although Id want full carbon steel knife for her, I think it will be too impractical because of the regular maintenance during use she would have to do, so I want to get a steel that is more or less stain resistant Also, I believe a double beveled knife would do best, because she would be more familiar with cutting with one of those rather than a single bevel knife

As far as I know she spends most of the time cutting up veggies, fruits and protein.

Which types of knives should I go for so that she can have a chance to cut all of the above properly? I know most likely she will need a chef's knife (a Gyuto), a paring knife (have no clue what is the Japanese equivalent) and most likely a veggie "clever" (is that a Nakiri?)

I would like to spend around $250 per knife, and for that I would prefer that they come from a brand which has additional knives so that eventually I can buy more and it will look as one set, also, it would be nice if it would have a good looking steel and handle.

If any of you can shed some light on where I can look for something like that, would be appreciated. Also, if any of you have any recommendations as to vary any of the above mentioned, Im free to suggestions.

Thanks in advance,
Ilya

PS. She's right handed, so I wouldnt really have the issue of finding a knife that comes in a left-handed variant

So far I have gotten a recommendation for http://www.chefknivestogo.com/konosuke9.html from this retailer and also a Hammer Finished Chef's Knife - Gyuto, Traditional - 9 3/4 (240mm) by Yoshikane made out of DSK steel from another retailer

I would love to hear your opinions on this and whether there are any other knives you can recommend, and if you have had any experience with the two mentioned above. Also, Ive also settled that for now Im only going to get a Gyuto 240 mm knife to test out how it goes.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitchen Knife(s) for Chef
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:23 am 

Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 2:10 am
Posts: 156
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
ilyad, there are SOOOOO many options and you will get a million and one answers all being different. There are many different style knives and they all have there purpose and many can be, I guess you can say, "cross-utilized" for different tasks.

How many knifes were you wanting to get? Knowing this would allow others to suggest say, the best 3 knives which have the most versatility to complete any task. So on if you'd want 4 or 5 knives.....

For a 3 piece I would suggest gyuto, petty, sujihiki. Now this will also be answered different by everybody. My best suggestion is to find out more of what proteins and vegiees, ect. she uses the knives on. Also what would she be comfortable with. Longer knives, shorter knives, ect.

Good luck with you experience on this forum and in the search for the perfect gift. There are a lot of very knowledgable members here who have great insights on everything to do with knives and food!

Best of luck.



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 Post subject: Re: Kitchen Knife(s) for Chef
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:40 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:58 pm
Posts: 93
the sharpening experience of your girlfriend should determine what knife you decide to purchase for her. the takayuki grand chef has a Wa(japanese) handle, great swedish steel and the steel is hrc 58 and would easy to maintain for a sharpening noob. if shes already proficient with sharpening then the konosuke hd or hh would be a great idea. buying knife sets isnt always a good idea and many chefs and knife enthusiasts rather buy individual knives that suit their specific needs. i would recommend instead the tojiro itk bread knife or the mac bread knife, good 150 petty knife and a 240mm gyuto to start out with. maybe a sujihiki if she will be slicing alot of raw protiens like meat or fish, or maybe even a cleaver if she slices and minces alot of veggies.bester stones are great whetstones and you would want atleast a 1000 grit stone to start out with.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitchen Knife(s) for Chef
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:37 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:16 am
Posts: 2
Thanks guys... what I meant by a set is that its a knife that comes from a series of knives so that I expand the collection, I can get knives that look the same and still great.

For now my goal is to start with 1, and thats why Im getting the Gyuto and then in the next few months a Petty knife. After that, I will see what her demands are in the kitchen and go from there. Until I we have a total of about 5 (gyuto, petty, bread knife, nakiri and one more, most likely the sujihiki) Im pretty sure that 5 will be plenty in terms of what she'll be able to do and at the same time practical enough where we're not spending too much money on knives which will barely get used.

As far as her sharpening skills are concerned, she's really good with steeling, but I already know that you cant do that with the j-knives and I will inform her of that, (I plan to run through all the information I researched on my own with her and let her know about how to maintain the knives, what she can and shouldnt do with them and so on) I'll also get her a strop so that she can do that with the knives (Im sure she can figure it out... I know a little about stropping because Ive used a straight edge razor for a few years)... for that same reason, as Ive mentioned earlier, I want to get into sharpening knives myself so once Im proficient enough, I'll be able to sharpen all our knives, in the meantime I dont mind asking to have it done by a professional.


Last edited by ilyad on Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Kitchen Knife(s) for Chef
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:40 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 am
Posts: 47
"I would like to spend around $250 per knife, and for that I would prefer that they come from a brand which has additional knives so that eventually I can buy more and it will look as one set, also, it would be nice if it would have a good looking steel and handle. "

Although your intentions are definitely in the right place, for a working chef its less desirable to have a "matching set" of knives than it is to have the right knife for the right job. As a matter of fact, seeing someone with a completely matched set is a bit of a tip off that they are new to the game.

As for what knives to purchase, my recommendation for the first three knives for a pro cook are a a chefs knife (or gyuto), paring knife (petty knife if going japanese), and a bread knife. The bread knife and petty knife are going to come in signifigantly under budget if you are planning to spend 250 per knife, so if you have budgeted $700 for this gift perhaps you could add a boning knife.


Here is what I would buy with that budget if I was giving a gift to a recent culinary grad.

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohdwa24.html $205
Konosuke HD 240 gyuto - This is one of the darlings of the knife world at the moment for good reason. It is very thin so its not perfect for EVERY job a chefs knife is used for, but for the odds and ends that are too heavy duty for the kono, her culinary school knife can be used as a "beater knife" to cut things like butternut squash, pineapple etc that are rough on blades.



http://www.chefknivestogo.com/macprpakn5.html $57
Mac 5 inch paring knife- Good little knife, small enough to do very fine work, yet big enough to handle the odd job during service


http://www.chefknivestogo.com/macsubrkn.html $80
Mac Superior Bread knife- Another very popular knife, and a bread knife comes in very handy at times.

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/wusbonknif6.html $100
Wusthof Boning knife- this one may be a little controversial. A boning knife is going to get a lot of use, but some people prefer the japanese style honesuki. While the honesuki may be better for breaking down poultry, a boning knife does almost as good a job on poultry, but when it gets time to butcher a leg of beef etc, a boning knife is miles ahead of a honesuki in my humble opinion. There are also some much cheaper options on the market that people swear by, but being this is a gift I tried to pick something that seemed "nice"


All these knives and we have still only spent about $450, so if you have your heart set on spending about $700, you should add a couple of stones to your cart so she can stay sharp!

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html
Is a great place to start on that effect, for $150 you can get all she is going to need on that front for quite some time

But thats only $600, what should I spend the last $100 on?

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ultimate- ... e-bag.html

A nice bag to carry her new knives in of course. I use this bag and absolutely love it.




Others are going to have differing opinions about a couple of the knives in the bag, but I think what I have recommended is a VERY solid setup for someone just entering the field. I have collected various other knives over the years and find a use for some of them from time to time, but I could do just about anything I need to do in the kitchen with the 4 knives I have suggested.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitchen Knife(s) for Chef
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:20 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:13 am
Posts: 36
The problem with knives is they are very subjective. Every chef has qualities in a knife that they look for. A knife that one chef finds as the epitome of kitchen knives, another chef will absolutely hate. Its all about what she finds comfortable and her habits when she uses her knives. Some chefs like knives that are heavy and just plow through material. Others like knives that are extremely light and agile. Some chefs are choppers and some are rockers. Different blade symmetries cater to different styles. If you haven't already, you really should ask HER what she likes. If she doesn't know, then make a trip to a local knife shop (William's & Sonoma, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, or ideally a smaller place that deals in knives exclusively) and have her hold them in her hand. Once she holds the right one, it'll be like an epiphany and she'll know. After that, its "just" a matter of finding the right steel, the right height, the right thickness, and the right weight. Come back to CKTG for that. :) While the knives in those stores are fine, they come at a premium because most consumers don't know any better(I didn't until very recently). You can get a superior knife at a superior price from places like CKTG.

Also, unless you know for a fact that she uses her paring knife alot (the vast majority of cooks don't), I would highly recommend moving some of your budget towards the chef knife/gyuto as that is very likely the blade she will spend the majority of her time with.

Something else to consider, once you start getting into knives like these you really have a hard time letting someone else sharpen them for you. Your average Joe Sharpener likes to run their blades through mechanical grind wheels that don't sharpen at the right angle and also scar up the blade. Somewhere down the line, you may want to consider getting an Edge Pro or a Wicked Edge.

Also, like Twyst said, that Ultimate Edge bag is great. I use it for my knives and have been happy with my purchase.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitchen Knife(s) for Chef
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:20 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:33 pm
Posts: 87
Although I agree that knives are a very personal thing I would say that most folks I have met in the knife and or culinary scene really gravitate towards a thin gyuto such as the Konosuke. I would second the recommendation of the 240 HD. I have been using a Kikuichi TKC with a yo/ western handle. I has a great profile and retains it's edge very well but I find I prefer a Wa/ Japanese handle.

I would add another recommendation for the bag the other folks have thrown in. I own one and it's much easier to use than a roll in my opinion. As far as a paring/ petty. There are 2 ways to go here. The first and they will do just about everything fantastically but not have the wow factor is the Victorinox paring knifes. They come out of box very sharp but cost damn near nothing you could buy a case of them for the cost of a good j-knife petty. The other choices I can recommend are the Gesshin line and the MAC pettys. Both have great profiles and cut with ease.

Josh


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 Post subject: Re: Kitchen Knife(s) for Chef
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:09 pm
Posts: 65
I have to agree with some of the other posters here. As a chef myself, finding the right knife for you is best. I personally spend a lot of time with my chef's knife in my hand (as do most cook's). You want something comfortable that will stay sharp through lots and lots of prep. I have a Shun Santoku and a Henkel Chef's knife as my work horse knives. I am in the market for a gyuto and have been pricing them out. I chose to get whet stones first so that I could maintain my own edges before sinking a lot of money into a nice knife. As for a paring knife, I own and love the Victorinox small serrated. It will cut through anything and at about $6 you can't really beat it. I hope some of the advice helps.

Tyler


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 Post subject: Re: Kitchen Knife(s) for Chef
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:59 am 
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Posts: 1
Being a chef, I should make sure that I'm using the best quality of knives so that by the time I'm using it only small problem I may encounter.



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 Post subject: Re: Kitchen Knife(s) for Chef
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:32 am 
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ILYAD <> I wouldnt ever want someone to buy me a knife... unless said person knew what I wanted. It's too personal, and if she's your girlfriend & you don't know what she wants, she probably doesnt know what she wants either. I mean your sentiment is sweet, but even choosing a Western grip or a Wa... dramatically different preference. Choosing between a 210 or 240 on her gyuto is a dramatic decision. At this point in her career, she's building habits & patterns which will have very different nuance depending on these decisions. Why not allow her the decision.?! Communicate with her to feel her out for preference. Japanese knives might not be the best of choice. The conundrum is if she's just out of school, and hadn't worked in the industry prior - she has very little experience w/a knife. Most japanese knives require more care & respect than their German counterparts. She may not have developed enough skill in the context of a professional kitchen whereas she wants to focus that much on caring for a knife. German blades are overbuilt specifically to combat the abuse that the majority extend. Another positive aspect to German blades, for a beginner like your GF, is they have a lot of steel on them for learning the fundamentals of sharpening.

I almost view buying a food service professional w/little experience, a $250 Japanese knife like buying a 19 year-old a Vette. Yah, they have driven for a few years, but they really don't know what they're doing yet. And if they are the anomaly whereas they do know [what they're doing], then they also know EXACTLY what they want to progress...

Please don't misinterpret me; I'm not being negative... I'm just a pragmatist.



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