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Thread: Chef Knives?

  1. #1
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    Default Chef Knives?

    I know there are some accomplished pro chefs on this board and I am looking for some knife recommendations for my son.

    He is 21 and has been in the kitchen of a casual/fine dining restaurant full time for just over two years. He started off as a "dish pig" and is now on the line. He has always liked to be in the kitchen with me cooking since he was little and talked about being a chef one day, but the reality of the kitchen kicked the shit out of him and after 18 months at another kitchen (an iron chef winner) he quit and enrolled in film school. After a semester of film school he decided that maybe the kitchen was the place for him after all and landed at his current kitchen.

    He moved out a couple of months ago and has really grown up and become a lot more serious about his future, and realizes that if he applies himself he is rewarded appropriately. His room mate and him (another cook) have both been getting "stage" positions on their days off in some pretty hot kitchens and he is fired up about the possibilities of moving forward in training and experience.

    He currently uses the house knives at work and I gave him my old set of Henckels "Classics" that he uses at home but he wants to get one good, to great, chef's knife for himself. He wants a carbon steel blade and is left handed.

    Any thoughts?
    Last edited by vjp; 02-28-2013 at 02:18 PM. Reason: typo
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    Not a pro... but like I said in the japanese skills thread, that's never stopped me from having and sharing my opinion.

    Is he really sure about the carbon steel thing? Stainless can be really, really, really good, and the advantages of a carbon steel blade are very few. But don't ask me, ask our own PKB who makes some fine blades.

    Know that the current trend is towards light weight japanese western style blades. I'd have a gander at japanesechefsknife.com, and if he's set on carbon steel, they have a great selection and they are an easy company to work with.

    If you're looking for the v-salon-approved style of things, I'd see if PKB could make you something awesome. I've considered trying to get something from Cut Brooklyn, but I keep going back and forth between thinking that their unique design is amazing and completley wrong. Not sure how to know without holding one--but know that they have a different way of doing things. There are other fine custom makers, and epicedge.com seems to keep a great stock of them.

    If you're a retro grouch, find a vintage sabatier. They are also excelent, and here you can definitely hit the carbon steel itch.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    My favorite combo is the $25 Victorinox and a good sharpener. I have 2 other blades that were both V-Salon style, and they're just too fussy. I like Fibrox because it's sanitary and doesn't swell/crack/etc, and with a quick sharpen once a week, I have no trouble cutting anything. But just like bikes, knives are individual.

    Global makes some nice workhorse blades for not much money as well.

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    Thanks for your opinion!

    He said "carbon steel" but he is open to suggestions. Thanks for the links, Cut Brooklyn might be a little too couture for our budget but I get the knife porn aspect for sure. I think a "ready to wear" option would be best at this point so I will try and sort through japanesechefsknife.com though from a brief peek the site seems overwhelming with choices.

    Quote Originally Posted by spopepro View Post
    Not a pro... but like I said in the japanese skills thread, that's never stopped me from having and sharing my opinion.

    Is he really sure about the carbon steel thing? Stainless can be really, really, really good, and the advantages of a carbon steel blade are very few. But don't ask me, ask our own PKB who makes some fine blades.

    Know that the current trend is towards light weight japanese western style blades. I'd have a gander at japanesechefsknife.com, and if he's set on carbon steel, they have a great selection and they are an easy company to work with.

    If you're looking for the v-salon-approved style of things, I'd see if PKB could make you something awesome. I've considered trying to get something from Cut Brooklyn, but I keep going back and forth between thinking that their unique design is amazing and completley wrong. Not sure how to know without holding one--but know that they have a different way of doing things. There are other fine custom makers, and epicedge.com seems to keep a great stock of them.

    If you're a retro grouch, find a vintage sabatier. They are also excelent, and here you can definitely hit the carbon steel itch.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    This is funny actually, I photographed these knives for Victorinox when they were first released, afterwards I gave the knives to a friend. I completely forgot about that until your post. I will suggest it to my Son, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy S View Post
    My favorite combo is the $25 Victorinox and a good sharpener. I have 2 other blades that were both V-Salon style, and they're just too fussy. I like Fibrox because it's sanitary and doesn't swell/crack/etc, and with a quick sharpen once a week, I have no trouble cutting anything. But just like bikes, knives are individual.

    Global makes some nice workhorse blades for not much money as well.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    Oh, and I *highly* recommend An Edge in the Kitchen if he isn't a total knife geek. The book covers the why, as well as the how for knives and sharpening. It was recommended in another thread around here and it is indeed very good.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    I so badly want one of these 7" chef's knives if only for the story behind them: Thiers-Issard Sabatier Nogent Carbon-Steel Kitchen Knives

    But at $80 it is going to be a while before I reach for the plastic.

    Those Victorinox are what I'd recommend as well, for what it's worth.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    About 25 years ago I had the good fortune to buy the remaining Sabatier samples/display knives from a merchant dropping the line.

    Unfortunately there were only about 7 knives remaining, however I paid less than $100 for the lot.

    The chefs knife gets daily usage and still holds an edge better than any other knife I own.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    Knives are such a personal choice, so much depends on what the other guys in the kitchen are using. High carbon does mean more hitting it with a steel more often, which in a pro kitchen just means lost productivity.

    I have nothing useful to add; I mean would I tell you what bike to buy your son?
    "Old and standing in the way of progress"

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    A knife bag is really helpful Ultimate Edge Knife Bag, Ultimate Edge Knife Case, Ultimate Edge Knife Roll

    With the amount of work he'll be doing, he needs to find one that is comfortable for him.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    Quote Originally Posted by vjp View Post
    I will try and sort through japanesechefsknife.com though from a brief peek the site seems overwhelming with choices.
    Let me narrow it down to 4 for you, because I've spent way too long looking at that site. Whatever the brand, you're looking for a 240 0r 270mm gyuto. If you're in to the traditional look, the JCK house brand fu rin ka zan looks bad ass. carbon core clad with stainless. In a more traditionally western shape, the carbonext comes highly rated. It's a next generation stainless, and holds an edge for a really long time. Amazing value. Masamoto is one of the oldest knifemakers in Japan. can't go wrong with this carbon steel option. Lastlyl, I'm particular to Blazens because I own one. It's a great workhorse knife. Stays sharp a long time, not too thin and not too thick.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    We spent a day going to various knife dealers (retail and wholesale) and going from rec's here and from what he has learned and used at work he decide to go on the conservative side at this point and base a decision on feel and build quality. He went with a Wusthof Classic Wide Chef's knife. He is excited about it which I think is important but at lunch today he talked about ordering one of the Sabatier's.... and so, it begins.

    Thank You so much for the tips and I'll let you know how it progresses.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    I like Dexter-Russell knives.
    Found the best pices here: Cook Knives - Cutlery - Kitchen Supplies

    I have one of their knives my grandfather used as a crew cook. It is at least 70 years old and the best chefs knife (18"!) I have ever used. The current models (at least at the top end) are just as good.
    Use a 10" one at work every day (grandad's is too big for the small kitchen).
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    Quote Originally Posted by vjp View Post
    We spent a day going to various knife dealers (retail and wholesale) and going from rec's here and from what he has learned and used at work he decide to go on the conservative side at this point and base a decision on feel and build quality. He went with a Wusthof Classic Wide Chef's knife. He is excited about it which I think is important but at lunch today he talked about ordering one of the Sabatier's.... and so, it begins.

    Thank You so much for the tips and I'll let you know how it progresses.
    That's the perennial work horse - he'll do fine with it.
    "Old and standing in the way of progress"

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    18"!! I can picture your Grand Dad cooking for the crew at the Hoover Dam!! And taking NO crap. None.

    Open a kitchen that serves Moose or maybe Kodiak bear and can you can bring that back out of retirement!

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    I like Dexter-Russell knives.
    Found the best pices here: Cook Knives - Cutlery - Kitchen Supplies

    I have one of their knives my grandfather used as a crew cook. It is at least 70 years old and the best chefs knife (18"!) I have ever used. The current models (at least at the top end) are just as good.
    Use a 10" one at work every day (grandad's is too big for the small kitchen).
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    Quote Originally Posted by jitahs View Post
    That's the perennial work horse - he'll do fine with it.
    Thanks, I'll pass that along, he has been over thinking it. Gets the OCD from me.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    I only have a limited sample to inform my Chef's knife opinion, but between the Wustof, Chicago Cutlery, and Cutco models I've owned it's probably worth pointing out that they all still work as well as they did when I got them

    ...which was 10, 14, and 31 one years ago respectively.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    Quote Originally Posted by randonneur View Post
    Let me narrow it down to 4 for you, because I've spent way too long looking at that site. Whatever the brand, you're looking for a 240 0r 270mm gyuto. If you're in to the traditional look, the JCK house brand fu rin ka zan looks bad ass. carbon core clad with stainless. In a more traditionally western shape, the carbonext comes highly rated. It's a next generation stainless, and holds an edge for a really long time. Amazing value. Masamoto is one of the oldest knifemakers in Japan. can't go wrong with this carbon steel option. Lastlyl, I'm particular to Blazens because I own one. It's a great workhorse knife. Stays sharp a long time, not too thin and not too thick.
    i have a few SHIKI knives that i'm happy with. a french pattern gyuto 210mm similar to this style but in VG10 instead of a damascus blade.
    SHIKI Damascus Series Japanese Knife,Japanese Kitchen Knife,Japanese Cutlery,Japanese Chef's Knives.Com

    i thought the 210mm gyuto would feel big like the 9" german chef's knife i have but it doesn't, kinda wish it was a 240mm knife
    but it's fine, i'm used to it and it works great.

    JCK has quick and cheap shipping. happy with all the orders i've made from them.

    and if you notice, you can order most blades for left hand use...
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    Reading through this thread has got me realizing I'm fairly out of my depth about this stuff, but I really enjoy my Deglon Cuisine Ideale. I've got a 9 1/2" and I only really use it for parting down big cuts of meat, but the 8" would be a perfect all-rounder.
     

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    Default Re: Chef Knives?

    Quote Originally Posted by vjp View Post
    He wants a carbon steel blade and is left handed.

    Any thoughts?
    For what it's worth, I really like less-hard steel. I bought a 9" Wushtof a few years ago, and I rarely use it. The blade is really thick so it tends to crush food, and since the steel is super duper hard it's a bear to sharpen with a rod. I actually find myself using a Chicago Cutlery chefs knife instead since the blade is thiner and it sharpens so much easier.

    If I were to buy a chefs knife today, it would probably be a 6" Sabatier.

    Also, there's an America's Test Kitchen podcast where they test/parse/discuss most of the major knife makers today. It's worth a listen.
     

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