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 Post subject: Article help request
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:52 pm 
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Location: Madison Wisconsin
I got this request by someone that wants to write an article on kitchen knives to a general audience of mostly guys.

Here are the questions. Anyone like to help?


Thanks so much, Mark. I really appreciate it.

+ What are the three most important kinds of knives for men to have in their kitchen? 8-inch chef? Paring? Serrated? Cleaver?

+ Why can you do pretty much everything you need in the realm of cutting with those three knives? For what should men use each knife?

+ How can men make sure they are buying the right knives? For example, what qualities should men look for in, say, a chef's knife? What kind of steel? Handle? Blade?

+ What are some of your favorite knives (brand and type)? And why would you recommend them?



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 Post subject: Re: Article help request
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:42 pm 
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1. Chef knife in 8" to 10" length, paring knife, bread knife

2. The chef knife will do about 80% of the work most western kitchens will have. A paring knife is needed for up close work....peeling, really fine dicing....off board cutting tasks. Those two would theoretically do everything in a western kitchen. A bread knife is nice to have around for very crusty bread, and can double as a long slicer too.

3. What kind of handle is very personal, but often times people like a myriad of handle styles. I do, for instance. I like Western style, full tang handles, as well as Japanese style so called "wa" handles. Most experienced chef's or home cooks use a pinch grip for a chef knife where the handle becomes less important.....more of a balancing point than a gripping point. Steel would depend on the user somewhat.....for instance, some users would NEVER want a HRC 66 powdered metal steel knife as their cutting ability and/or skill would ruin such a knife.

More later



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 Post subject: Re: Article help request
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:50 pm 
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3 continued - What blade.....not quite sure what that might mean. Each knife has it's own unique profile, at least to some extent. Japanese chef's knives (gyuto's) typically have a flatter edge profile, however each has a slightly unique profile. Most all of the profiles will suit a person. Where one becomes picky is when one one's several versions of gyuto's and develops a preference to a certain profile.....wider, flatter, more belly, etc. French profile chef's knives are similar in design to gyuto's....a flatter profile. The common chef knife in US has a lot more curve to the edge profile....more belly. Again, the preference is developed over use of each profile style. I would typically recommend someone stick to a profile similar to what they've used in the past....unless they want to try something different....which is why all of us are here. :)

4. My list of favorite knives is essentially too long to list. I like gyuto's for a chef's knife.....I prefer the flatter profile. I prefer, if I had only one length to choose from, 240mm for the gyuto. I like the TKC as a general duty gyuto and it's one I recommend frequently. It's got the ideal profile, geometry, steel, and handle.....for me.

There is, obviously, a lot more to all of this. I'm trying to be somewhat brief and will let others add hopefully. :)



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 Post subject: Re: Article help request
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:53 pm 

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1. I would get 3 240mm gyutos :mrgreen:. I have been phasing out other knives...they are fun to play with, but unless you are doing a lot of volume, I have not found the efficiency gain of switching to a paring knife or bread knife to be worth it. It also allows me to dedicate my limited time as a home cook to mastering one type of knife. A 210mm is a great option if the user is uncomfortable with larger knives or lacks counter or cutting board surface area.

2. See above. A paring knife can be nice to work in hand on a very rare occasion. Similarly a serrated knife is optimized for bread, can do a great job on melons, and is a suitable stand in for a dedicated slicer. By contrast a gyuto is a suitable stand in for a bread knife, is great for melons, and only lacks for added length as a slicer (something many home cooks don't have the extra room for anyway.

3. I am partial to a wa handle but I use a pinch grip. Anecdotally, it seems people that use a racquet style grip might tend to be biased toward a western style handle.

Steel wise and profile wise, people looking for a new knife should try out a few different styles. While there are broad cutting styles that seem to pair with certain knife styles, every user ultimately adopts a modified cutting style all their own. In general: rock cutters will appreciate more belly to their knives while choppers and push/pull cutters tend to prefer blades with less belly; thin, hard steeled knives (60+ Rockwell) are not delicate exactly, but they must make square consistent contact with the cutting surface making these better for detail oriented cutting; other users value the confidence of a heavier knife and softer steel which will hold up better to more aggressive cutting styles.

The dirty little secret of all cutlery is that the infomercials are lying: every knife MUST be resharpened regularly to maximize performance. Almost without exception, no knife made is delivered to the end user with the best edge the knife is capable of taking. Add to that 3 months of hard use and your $300 knife will give any user a bad case of buyers remorse. $50-$100 of waterstones and just rudimentary sharpening skills would stun most home cooks and pros alike. Upshot, how to make sure you buy the right knife: make sure you buy stones.

4. Like Adam I would be hard pressed to pick one favorite so I will pick a couple thin, delicate knives that can light your hair on fire if you treat them right and a few beasts, that make dinner prep feel like a Conan the Barbarian quest.

Light:
1) Konosuke HD/HH: an absolute must try for Japanese kitchen cutlery enthusiasts. Insanely thin. Excellent steel. Anyone can appreciate how these cut...no one will be yawning.
2) The Richmond SRS-15/Akifuse: very similar to the Kikuichi TKC Adam recommended but I feel this knife has better fit and finish and no compromise on performance. An allround performance monster.

Heavy:
1) A threefer: Sukenari ZDP-189, Takayuki Ginsan, Teruyasu Fujiwara: all are awesome knives that are not dainty. All three of these knives are exquisitely crafted. All three perform like thinner knives despite the added muscle. The T-F probably still needs some TLC to shine (it is a very hard steel that will chip with abuse). The T-F is also much more rustic but this is often par for the course with Japanese knives.
2) The Goko White #1 is a more budget friendly option in this category. It does not perform like the other knives since grind is one of the biggest determinants of both performance and cost (it is labor intensive and requires experience to nail grind), however, the knife has loads of character and one of the best steels on the cutlery market at less than half the cost of the three knives listed above.


This is not very ordered, more stream of thought. Hope this helps some.


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 Post subject: Re: Article help request
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:17 pm 

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-You need an 8-10" chef knife or gyuto, a serrated slicer, and a paring knife. But you want a 9-12" slicer.

-That chef knife does most of the work. If food needs chopping or dicing the chef knife is the tool for the job. The paring knife is for small fruit and to clean and trim steaks, loins, and fish. The serrated slicer is for anything bread related. And the slicer is for cutting steaks and slices from whole cuts.

-Pick a knife based on comfort and its maintenance needs. A knife should feel good in the hand and it should be kept sharp. For some people that means a harder knife that will hold an edge longer. For others this means a knife with carbon steel that is easy to sharpen. It's a personal choice.

-The only brand I would recommend to anyone and everyone is Victorinox. They're durable, they're comfortable, and they're a great price.


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 Post subject: Re: Article help request
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:35 pm 
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The experiential side of the equation is missing in the set of questions.
I think the writer would be doing justice to the topic,as well as to themselves, by doing an interview. At least one. Professional sharpener, home cook, kitchen pro are subjects that come to mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Article help request
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:30 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:21 am
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Location: Long Island, NY
These are interesting questions. I'm going to think about it a little more. Here's my off the cuff response:

Speaking as a home cook and for a general audience I'm thinking someone who cooks once in a while. If they're reading the article then at least they're interested enough to want something better than a KitechenAid or Calphalon set. Assume I can only pick 3 and I'm assuming we want something inexpensive.

I want an 8" chefs with a profile midway between rocker and push cutter. i want a 150 mm paring knife since it can double as a slicer and a utilitybut also be used in hand in a pinch. I want a serrated bread knife as it can be used on... bread and tomatoes and frankly lots of other stuff those of us with a dozen good knives in our collections would never think of.

Futher, I'm going to assume general population might be using a steel but probably won't be sharpening frequently. Sending out 2x a year at best. Still further carbon's out of the question since we want low maintenance.

I'm immediately thinking Artifex and although I know I'll probably get flamed for this Henckels isn't a bad choice either. The latter cuts pretty well when it isn't sharp even though that's blasphemy. Picking those two for chef's & paring. Bread knife? I happen to really like my Shun 10" wavy serrated utility / bread knife but that's too expensive for this list. I don't know anything inexpensive that's great but if I need to pick I'm picking a Victorinox serrated bread knife.

These are not my favorite knives but I've owned all of them and for a home cook interested in filling out a kitchen well and generally wanting something of quality without breaking the bank they'd be my recommendation.

Going to think about it some more.

PS: Artifex actually are my favorite knives for their purpose. When I want something sharp enough to do the job but I don't want to or can't (i.e., relataive wants to cook) exercise personal care. Not necessarily beat on the knife but something I don't have to worry about they're my go to.



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 Post subject: Re: Article help request
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:52 am 

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I am with you - I am a huge fan of the artifex too. I own 3. They are great bang for the buck. Performance out of gyutos cranks up quite a bit with thinning. Suji is an absolute beast at skinning salmon. 80mm parer is great fit for my palm. And they are really durable for the thinness. So glad mark did that line and provided solid quality steel at an affordable price


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 Post subject: Re: Article help request
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:46 am 
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well, as a home cook with very limited experience in the market I felt I should chime in :)

the 3 most important knife types have been covered above but: Chef's knife (Western chef's knife, Gyoto or Santoku) for most tasks, Paring/Petty knife for more presition and smaller tasks, and a bread knife (serrated slicer) for cutting bread, melons and the like.
length of the knifes for home user like myself (cooking dinner only to oneself or family) I would get a 180mm or 210mm Chef's knife (unless one is personally biased to larger knifes, or is using them in a semi professional situation) a 80mm to 140mm paring/petty knife, and a 300mm serrated slicer.

to be sure one is buying the right knives, buy the knife that appeals to oneself, but check the knife properties, most users would probably prefer a stainless steel blade because one need not worry about rust and staining.
Blade hardness I would mostly look away from. but in general a hard steel keeps an edge for longer periods of time but chips more easily, a softer steel dulls quicker but is easier to maintain and can take more of a beating (I would recommend looking for knifes around 60 HRC for most, if I have to mace a recomendation at all.)
Handle type is completely a personal preference, but I would recommend giving the Japanese wa handle a go if you have not already tried it
.
The most important thing I can recommend is buying a sharpening stone, no matter what knife one buys it will need sharpening, and even with the most rudimentary skill (this be learned on youtube), a dull blade will get sharper (for this I would recommend the Shapton pro 1.5k sharpening stone, it is splash and go (can be used at-ones) works quit fast and requires minimal maintenance)

When recommending a blade to others I would Personally recommend the Konosuke Ginsan or HD/HH/GS laser series of knifes,
the Richmond Artifex Stainless Knives series,
or for more common brands I would go with Mac, Global or Victorinox knifes.
my personal favourite knife line is the Masakage Shimo series, but these are full carbon blades and will stain and rust if not cared for properly. on a good second is knifes by Konosuke be they stainless or not.

on a last note, do not put your kitchen knifes in the dishwasher, it is a good idea only if you want dull knifes with lots of small chips.


ShinOokami


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 Post subject: Re: Article help request
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:31 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:22 am
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It's not just the knife, but the man (for this particular article) behind it. Buy the knife but learn to use it! Maybe even some parlor tricks such as coring a pepper single handed. If a potential lover sees you machine gunning an onion into perfect dice they may well assume that you also possess skill in other arenas. And by the time they discover that you're really a one pump chump, at least they have eaten well.

Cheers,

Rick


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