Saturday, October 29, 2005

knives?



Hey y'all:

Okay, this isn't technically a blogging question, although I'm sure it will show up on my blog.

I want to buy a good knife. A really good knife. Believe it or not, all the meals I've cooked and posted on my blog have been with a flimsy Fred Meyer set I bought five years ago. And I've been meaning to buy a better one. But money, you know.

Now, since I couldn't go on my vacation to New York because of my stupid sprained ankle, I decided it's time to treat myself.

I'd like a good, solid knife, for chopping and slicing, etc. I don't care what country it comes from. I don't want to spend more than $200. (Even that...) I want it to last.

So, since this is the most food-savvy group of people I know, does anyone have suggestions? Fire away.


Shauna from Gluten-free Girl

14 comments:

Anne said...

I have several favorites. Number one is my large Global G-2. Definitely check it out, it's lightweight and easy to keep sharp. Then a Lion Sabatier, also a chef's knife. It's much heavier than the Global, and more suitable for heavier tasks. My husband prefers this one. (The Globals have very small handles, and are generally easier to handle for those with smaller hands.) And then I have a gorgeous Masahiro, just a small utility knife, but I use it all the time.

And my next purchase will probably be a flexible Wüsthof. Best, in general, is to go to a large store and try out a LOT of knives. Take notes, go home, and find what you want for a better price. :)

chronicler said...

I have a friend starting at the CIA in January. He carries his Globals with him wherever he goes.

I also concur with Anne. Go to a store, test some out and take notes!

Also there are a couple of really good threads at eGullet on knife care and such.

Kevin said...

Shauna,

IMO, every serious cook needs a good 7" or 8" chef's knife. You really can't go wrong with Wusthoff, Forscher, or Henckels. As Anne said, go to store and play with these to see which feels best in your hand.

Personally, I'd recommend buying a set such as this one: http://www.shopping.cutlery.com/Forms/shopping/*ws4d-db-query-Show.ws4d?*ws4d-db-query-Show***022188***-eProducts***-***shopping(directory)***.ws4d?shopping/results(s).html. It will provide you with the basics for less than $200.

The Santoku (http://www.cutlery.com/t3/t11t23t3d.shtml) deserves its popularity but isn't a substitute for a chef's knife, instead I think it's a great addition to the basic set.

Rachael said...

Great question. Like other people said, you should really try some out before you make a purchase since it is so personal, and a lifetime investment. I have a few favorites, Wustoff being a top choice (and what they required we have at my cooking school. My guess is Global has a deal with the CIA the way Wustoff has/had a deal with CCA) but I am also crazy in love with my Japanese knives (From here http://www.japaneseknifecompany.com/) I personally don't care for Globals, they are too lightweight for me. I want the weight of the knife doing most of the work, not me...my BEST knife I got at Dehillerin, it's insanely sharp pure steel (meaning, it stains) and has a wooden handle. Not practical, but a dream none the less (http://www.e-dehillerin.fr/presentationA.html)

Also, if its any help, I wrote a post on knives a few months ago...

http://freshcatering.blogspot.com/2005/05/for-love-of-good-knife.html

Good luck and sorry about your ankle!

paul said...

Ask that kind of question and you'll never get us to shut up.

I would not recommend a set of knives, the same way I wouldn't recommend a set of pots. You'll wind up with nice matching stuff, but with pieces you'll never touch.

I believe a chef's knife is the only knife you need to spend money on. It's the only knife you'll ever need, but you can't cut bread or core an apple with it. However it doesn't make sense to blow 50 bucks on an apple corer. You should have enough money left for a good santoku which is great for fast chopping and prep work. I have a Wustoff. Relatively light and very efficient.

Spend whatever you have left on a inexpensive (not cheap) cleaver, bread knife, etc. Several specialized knives make more sense than one whoppingly expensive one, they'll stay sharper and last longer when the work load is spread around.

shuna fish lydon said...

I always think it depends on what you cut a lot of. An all purpose knife is a chef's knife, as others have mentioned. Go to Sur La Table and hold a bunch, trying ti imagine what you'd be doing with it. Wustof's are really hard to keep sharp, and Global's are easier although you should buy the "steel" that comes with the Global. Take one knife class with them--it's worth it.

Strange as it may seem I like the Cutco steak knife I have for fruit, softer vegetable, small jobs and it's guaranteed for the rest of your life! (you need to buy them online.)

When you know a little more about how to keep your knife sharp check out a low range japanese Knife. I LOVE how sharp it gets!

Brett said...

I own a lot of knives. I have a set of Wusthofs from my days at the CCA, but like Shuna said they're a pain to keep sharp and are somewhat too thick and heavy. I also have a few carbon steel knives (like Rachael mentioned) that are easier to keep sharp, but stain. I like my Global a lot, as I prefer Japanese made knives over German, and it is a favorite of many local cooks.

My new favorite (and the favorite of many well-known New York and SF chefs) are the UX10 knives made by Misono and available from Korin for less than $200. These are the ne plus ultra of the knife world these days. I'd recommend their 7 or 8-inch gyutou or their new 7-inch santuko (my own personal "most coveted knife") as all-purpose knives. These are expensive knives, though, so you want to take good care of them. Korin offers videos and advice on how to do that.

A much cheaper option, which you see in many professional kitchens, are the lightweight, white plastic handled 10-inch knives made by Dexter. The chef of Zuni, Judy Rodgers, is a big fan of these.

Good luck in your search!

kitchenmage said...

I have a more specific need: a bread knife. I bake almost all our bread and since I'm somehow lacking a bread-slicing machine (how did that happen? doesn't it come with the house? *grin*) I need a really good knife. Anyone got one they love?

Clare Eats said...

I love my furi east west knife,
I like it alot more that a normal chef's knife and I do almost everything with it.

Kalyn said...

Of all my knives the one I lost most and use most is a carbon steel cleaver that I bought at a Chinese market in Salt Lake. I use it nearly all my chopping. It does rust if you aren't careful to keep it dry, but it gets so sharp, and I love the feel of it in my handle.

I also have a bigger, thicker cleaver that I bought in Beijing, which I have a photo of in my recent pizza post:

http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/2005/
10/kalyn-makes-tonys-low-carb-pizza.html

It's a great knife for jobs where you need some weight. But the smaller, thinner cleaver is my favorite.

Professor Salt said...

Kitchenmage: I have a LamsonSharp bread knife that I like very much. They make two versions of the blade. I have the straight blade, they also make an offset blade that I wish I bought instead.

The serrated bread blade is really the only Lamson I recommend. I have used many of their knives in a cooking school I taught in, and they neither take a great edge, and can not keep it either.

Here's a link to Knife Merchant's bread knife selection:

http://knifemerchant.com/products.asp?categoryTraversalList=0,1,147&categoryID=147

Shauna said...

Wow! Thanks for all the advice. Keep it coming. I'm going to look into the Globals, the Dehillerin, the Wusthoffs. And the Dexters! They're a lot cheaper in price. Are they really good? But if Judy Rodgers likes them....

A local kitchen store I like swears by the Shun Ken Onion Knife. Does anyone here have opinions on this one?

Thank you, especially, to Rachael for that post on knife skills. That helped, enormously.

I've never been to cooking school, so I feel a little amateurish around all pros here. But I love this community. This is the only place where I can write, "I'm thinking about knives," and no one is scared!

Rory said...

I love my Shun knives. I don't have a full set but I do have a decent selection. The Ken Onion knife looks weird to me, but I haven't actually tried it. The regular Shun 8-inch chef's knife is great and I use it for most tasks, but when I want something insanely sharp (for mincing herbs, slicing tomatoes, etc.) I reach for the Shun Pro Nakiri knife. The one sided blade can be a little awkward though, and I'm not sure I'd want to use it for everything. As others have stated, the most important thing is to go to a store and try things out.

Oh, and I lust for the 10-inch Wusthof Le Cordon Bleu Chef's knife - it has the best blade curve I've ever tried.

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