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 Post subject: Graduation Gift
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 8:14 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:33 pm
Posts: 105
My daughter is graduating high school and will be attending Cornell's school of Hotel Administration in the fall. I would love to get her a nice set of knives both for her use in home and also for use when she is attending the culinary portion of her classes.

Here are the questions

1. Are you right handed? RIGHT HANDED
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..) SEE LIST
3. What size knife are you looking for? SEE LIST
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? ALL STAINLESS OR STAINLESS CLAD CARBON
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? OPEN TO SUGGESTION, Blade quality is more important
6. How much did you want to spend? LIMIT OF $1,000 but if justified I can spend more.
7. Do you know how to sharpen? I WILL TEACH HER

I see her needing the following

240 Gyuto
150 Petty
3.5 Paring
Plating Spoon
Knife Roll

I would love to hear some opinions regarding the list and suggested modifications as well as specific knife suggestions.

My thoughts to date

240 Gyuto - no idea at this time

150 Petty - no idea at this time

3.5 paring - Shun Classic -

Bread - Richmond or Tojiro ITK

Plating Spoon - no idea at this time

Knife Roll - CKTO 8 Piece Knife Roll -

Stones - Splash and Go Shapton Glass 1K & 4K set -

Thanks in advance for your opinions.


 Post subject: Re: Graduation Gift
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 8:43 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:07 pm
Posts: 370
Your daughter certainly deserves the best :)

Takayuki 63 layer 240mm -
Kanehiro petty -
Plating spoon - I'm only a home cook=no clue

 Post subject: Re: Graduation Gift
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 8:49 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:15 am
Posts: 3050
Location: Raleigh, NC
As a culinary school grad, knowing and working with people who have been to similar programs at similar schools, I'm going to observe that a nice set is going to go through the meat grinder. Half the people who have been through JWU or the CIA, people who are theoretically more credentialed than her classmates will be, will abuse any knife inside arm's reach. The teachers are not exempt. I would buy her two sets; one of Mercers or Forschners (or whatever the school sells) and the set you are considering. Coming to school, even a nice private school, with a $700 set of top flight knives is either going to get them stolen or broken by someone trying to open a #10 can.

I would include a bench knife before a plating spoon, though I cannot fault a plating spoon. Mine is from Winco off the back of some guy's truck for $5. A large metropolitan area will have a restaurant supply place with loads of similar equipment. That's a fine place to grab a plating spoon, too. The Richmond spoon would be a good choice since it will be in a larger order.

 Post subject: Re: Graduation Gift
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 2:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:33 pm
Posts: 105

I was thinking about that very thing, that is, the knives were going to get beaten up, not stolen but that is an issue also I suppose.

I was thinking I should put a workhorse in there at a minimum but may consider the two set idea in its place.

Keep the ideas coming.


 Post subject: Re: Graduation Gift
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 2:36 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:33 pm
Posts: 105

Love your suggestions and could not agree more. She really does deserve the best.


 Post subject: Re: Graduation Gift
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 2:43 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:21 pm
Posts: 1381
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Former CIA Student
Current Greenbrier Apprentice

Do NOT take expensive knives to school. Find a nice brand that can and will be abused, instructors, fellow students etc...
They have sticky fingers, they don't know how to respect equipment. Horror stories can and will happen even at expensive schools.

Both of Mark's suggestions are solid. Bear in mind that in a non culinary emphasized program (Hotel Management) the cooking classes are secondary to the primary goal and just as an information session, so having flashy fun awesome knives which we all love, are not ideal.

As for a plating spoon, will not be completely necessary for culinary classes, (I would just take the 2oz ladle in class) however I love the Richmond Plating spoons.

 Post subject: Re: Graduation Gift
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 2:47 pm 
Forum Moderator

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:00 pm
Posts: 4638
Mike, I agree with Lepus on providing a minimalist, less expensive, more durable kit for use @ school and a nicer kit for home use.

School kit could be 240 Gyuto & paring knife, plus ceramic honing rod & storage/spoons/spatula, etc, etc. The Victorinox 10" Chef is an inexpensive, durable, good performer. If you want to step up a bit, the Fujiwara FKM 240 Gyuto would make a great knife IMO for school and home use. If you want to start cheaper on the paring - I like my Tojiro DP 90mm paring. The Shun is great, but I'd leave that for home use, at least until she assesses the school environment for a while.

Maybe start with the school kit, let her get some drive time on those and see what preferences she develops to drive further research/purchases.

On the sharpening issue, I think a couple of splash n go type stones would be a great way to start. The Shapton Pro 1.5K is a good stone that might suffice for most purposes as a one stone solution, with a coarse stone supplement for chip removal, bevel setting. I really like the Shapton Glass 500 and I've heard great things about the Chosera 400 as well.

 Post subject: Re: Graduation Gift
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:09 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:34 am
Posts: 365
Sometimes I see entire culinary school sets for sale on the popular auction site.
Some of the guys who have been there have rendered their advice. Don't bring high quality knives to culinary school.
So pick up some of the values offered above. Or possibly shop the popular auction site for a set of Mercers or Messermeisters

 Post subject: Re: Graduation Gift
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:26 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:29 am
Posts: 123
Location: San Francisco
Skip the super-high-end steel for school. It's going to be left out wet, dropped on the floor, and, if it's really nice, stolen.

I'd definitely skip the Shun paring knife. The sub-$10 Victorinox does a great job and you can throw it out and buy another for less than it costs to get it professionally sharpened. I personally find the Shun awkward to work with and I'd much rather have a better gyuto.

The Victorinox 10" chef's knife doesn't suck. For the price, it rocks. I have one at home that I sharpen closer to Japanese angles and it does a great job for things where I might hit something hard or twist the blade. If it were my only chef's knife I wouldn't complain. It does a great job and it's dirt cheap.

I've got a broad set of Shapton Glass Stones and they do a good job. They are pretty easy to work with and a definite step up from an inexpensive combo stone. I'd recommend a coarser stone for re-shaping. Even with the Shapton Glass Stones, you will want a flattener of some sort in the kit. Shapton's accessories are super sexy, but with a price to match. You don't need to use a Shapton stone holder or a Shapton flattener. You don't need to buy a coarse Shapton. Lots of options and most I personally haven't tried, so I'll leave that to others.

 Post subject: Re: Graduation Gift
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 3:18 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:33 pm
Posts: 105
I have been convinced. Sending a high end set of knives to school is a mistake. My revised plan is to give her a solid work horse set now with some variety and nicer knives at some future point.

A question first, the Victorinox 10 Inch is no longer listed on the site. Has it been dropped and no longer being carried?

Here is my current thinking. I plan to place the order in a couple days. Feedback is very welcome, I feel like a fish out of water on this one for some reason.

GYUTO – Both of the following knives

Messer 8 inch - This will give her a western handled knife that can be used as a workhorse and take a beating. Is this a good assessment of this knife or am I making a mistake?

Richmond GT 240 - This will introduce her to wa handled knives, give her a longer blade and provide variety.


Fujiwara 150 Petty - Out of Stock, other ideas would help should it not come in

I would really like to get her a wa handled petty also, any thoughts?


I can’t decide between these three, the closeout/no box shun seems to good to pass up.

Messer Paring 3.5 - $25

Shun Asian Paring - $40 – No Box

Tojiro DP 90 - Out of Stock


It is a coin flip between the Richmond and the Tojiro. Which should I get?

Knife Roll - CKTG 8 Piece Knife Roll –

Knife roll question? Do you need knife guards or sayas for use in the case?

Stones - Splash and Go Shapton Glass 1K

I just want to make sure she can keep an edge on the blades during the semester.
She or I can touch them up at home during breaks. I have courser and finer stones as well as a flattening plate.

Should I get her a strop? Honing Rod?

My goal is to get her something she can build on. I do not want to get a set that after graduation she will want to immediately discard but rather upgrades as needed.

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