HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


Jaques Pepin's knife

  • b

I was aked to re-post this message on this board:

Does anyone know exactly which knife Jacques Pepin uses for chopping on his PBS show? I use a Wüsthof-Trident 10-inch chef's but it doesn't have the rocking motion I see in his.

Someone thought it was a Henkles and another said it was a Lamson's chef knife but does anyone know for sure?

I know I'll never have his technique but maybe his knife would be a start.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Bump. I'd love to know too. Pepin himself said that the most important tool for a good cook is good knife.

    1. Pépin doesn't use just one kind of chef's knife. I think I've seen him use one with "ripples" in the surface, though usually it's flat. Whether it's consistent within one series or varies from show to show, I don't know; PBS in NYC is running "Essential Pépin" and rerunning "Fast Food My Way" just now, and I don't bother to keep them straight. He consistently uses a "utility knife" with onions etc. that's an inch or two longer than my paring knife but not nearly as long as a chef's knife, which is what I use for that. All his knives are incredibly sharp, and that (as well as long-practiced technique) is how he does it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: John Francis

        the one with ripples is probably from Kaji, they like that...

      2. In his new show, Essential Pepin, he's using a Shun premier chef's, petty and paring knife.  Prior, he was using a Mac petty and somesort of  german chef's knife with a big belly...maybe a Henckle.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JavaBean

          The two German makes with the bigger bellies are Messermeister and the F Dick 1905. The 1905 is probably the most pronounced I've seen.


          1. re: JavaBean

            Yep I've noted the use of a petty.
            I'm having a ball with my petty. Great for a lot of little tasks

          2. This thread has me paying closer attention to Pépin's shows, but I have to say that he doesn't seem to have much preference for one kind of knife over another. Just watched the episode of "Essential Pépin" about salmon, tuna, and skate. For one dish he'll use his chef's knife (a shortish flat big-bellied one) for everything, for another he'll use a utility knife; smashing and chopping garlic, chopping onions and vegetables, doing a julienne of lemon rind, even slicing steaks or whatever from a hunk of tuna, either knife will do. He also used a paring knife to fish anchovy filets from a tin, but only for that.)

            Not much help for boitz2000 there, I'm afraid. It's all in the hands, not the knives, as long as they're very sharp. The knives, that is. :-)

            1 Reply
            1. re: John Francis

              Definitely not for boitz2000, considered that he asked the question more than 6 years ago. :)

            2. If you watch the credits after his show, all the manufacturers/suppliers of all the equipment used on the show are listed. Since the credits tend to zip by quickly, it's easiest if you record an episode & then pause it when the equipment credits are blowing through.

              17 Replies
              1. re: Bacardi1

                Advertisers who provide the products want exactly the response by the OP... I want his knife, pots, pans, etc... Most commercial kitchens use much cheaper knives, pots and pans to get the job done.

                1. re: bbqJohn

                  I want what Giada uses on her show :)

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I want what Giada uses on her show :)

                    Over my head, didn't get it. I don't have cable and watch much TV except for over the air channels.

                    John Francis, Bacardi1.. apologies off topic ... just wanted to comment that in general most cooking shows that show equipment may not be the equipment of choice in the hosts home or professional kitchen but a required item because of advertisers.

                    1. re: bbqJohn

                      I don't have cable neither, and even when I had it, I didn't have the food channel.

                      <just wanted to comment that in general most cooking shows that show equipment may not be the equipment of choice>

                      Probably. Kind of like cereals I guess.

                      1. re: bbqJohn

                        Jacques Pépin's shows are on public TV. No commercials as such, and in the brief spots at the beginning by underwriters, OXO is the only kitchenware maker. They make knives but Pépin doesn't use them, and the vegetable peeler he uses and praises isn't by OXO either. No product placement there.

                        1. re: John Francis

                          Yes there is - during the end credits of every show. Not necessarly the same as the underwriters. And since the OP was interested in the knife that Pepin was using ON HIS SHOW, then what Pepin uses at home doesn't make any difference.

                          1. re: Bacardi1

                            I don't understand what you're arguing about. bbqJohn said that "show equipment may not be the equipment of choice in the hosts home or professional kitchen but a required item because of advertisers." I pointed out that Jacques Pépin's shows have no advertisers as such, and that he doesn't use equipment provided by one of the chief underwriters, OXO.

                            The credits that flash past at the end of the show are not advertising but information, like the names of the show's production staff. I assume those companies may have provided cookware for the show, but there's no reason to suppose they actually dictated to Pépin that their equipment must be used. How could they have that kind of leverage since OXO, who are actually paying part of the production costs, obviously doesn't?

                            The credits may answer Boltz2000's question of which knfe or knives Pépin uses. If you'd like to provide that information, I'm sure he'd be grateful.

                            1. re: John Francis

                              Sorry, didn't know I was arguing and didn't intend to be. I just made a blanket statement.. and I didn't realize you clarified by stating that it does not apply to Jacques shows. Thanks... I worked today and don't have time to review all the posts.. I just check in from time to time and post occasionally.

                              I also have seen his shows on PBS, the "no cable" was directed at Chem and his Giada reference.

                              I guess I was focusing not on what the OP was asking for but why... which was to improve the OP's skill set with a new knife.. and if so the knife has little impact on skill .. I use a lowly Dexter 5 day a week for prep work (like many in the food industry).. but over time I have come to care less about what I use as long as it has a decent edge.

                              A knife to many in the industry is just a tool to get the job done... just like a wrench is to a mechanic.. and very few cooks get excited by specific knives or knife brands.. I know some will disagree but that's been my experience.

                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        i just assumed chemickinetics wanted tasty cleavage and a very photogenically-sized head.

                        1. re: linus

                          Ha ha ha. That is a real good one. Although you have to admit that (beside what you speak of), she has very pretty eyes.

                          In my defense, I really do not have food channel, and so I really didn't know Giada from her TV shows. The first time I noticed her is from her book cover:


                          1. re: linus

                            LOL. I wasn’t sure if Chem was interested in her Global knives or Global boobies. :-)

                            FWIW, I actually met (stood next to) her once and she's really tiny. Like 5' nothing and ~90 lbs

                            1. re: JavaBean


                              Do you mean Giada uses Global knives or her version of Global knives? I know she has a line of knives sold at Target and they "look" like Global knives, but they are very cheap:



                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                When she first started on food network, i pretty sure they had the black dots on the handle like the real ones.

                                1. re: JavaBean

                                  Ok, in that case, she must have used the real Global at the time then.

                          2. re: bbqJohn

                            Uh - while that may be, the OP specifically asked what knife he was using ON HIS SHOW. And if he was using it ON HIS SHOW, the knife manufacturer will be on the credits. Geesh.

                            1. re: bbqJohn

                              I've never heard that Jacques Pépin was passive or indifferent to product placement in his shows. He rarely even comments on his equipment, except to praise a serrated vegetable peeler (without naming the brand).

                              What commercial kitchens use is not just off topic but irrelevant. Pépin can use any knives and other equipment he likes without having to consider durability or cost, and I'm sure he does. Home cooks can do the same if they can afford to.

                          3. He seems to use the chef's knife less than any other TV cook does. I'll bet that as a teenage apprentice, he learned his skills with a smaller knife, which would have been a better fit, and just stuck with it. I'd also bet he doesn't even NEED a knife....he could just CHARM the bones out of that chicken or fish! ;-D

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: greygarious

                              I'm not sure, but I suspect Pepin uses smaller knives so often at least in part because doing so often gives the camera a clearer shot of the food he's cutting. Before his TV career, he worked in several world class kitchens for a long time, so I figure he's no slouch with a chefs knife and probably feels comfortable with whatever knife he picks up. At the same time, that level of comfort and practice with knives works both ways - nothing wrong with using a utility knife for a job that normally calls for a chef knife if you're as efficient with it as Pepin is.

                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                I remember on one episode (it may have been with Julia) he broke down a whole Chicken with a paring knife, and did it quite quickly as well.

                                Keeping with the subject of breaking down birds, he has used, alternatively, a chef's knife, kitchen shears, and the aforementioned paring knife to remove the back bone.

                                I would be shocked if he has never used a utility/Santoku knife to break down a bird as well.

                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                  Oh, Cowboy, you may also be interested to know that in his original series, way back in 198? (84-88, I can't remember, but you can get it on DVD, which is where I have it) he showed how to sharpen knives using a stone, a commercial at-home sharpening tool (like the 2-stage Chef's Choice models) and the back of a ceramic plate that has an unglazed ring at the bottom that acts as the base of the plate.

                                  1. re: DougRisk

                                    The reply above by DougRisk rang a bell.

                                    I have a signed copy of ESSENTIAL PEPIN. 685 pages, which includes a DVD in the back of the hardbound cover. I have learned much from this amazing and talented man.
                                    So I put the DVD in our PC and looked at it again.

                                    In one of the chapters, Jacques states that he has over 200 knives in his collection.

                                    That said, I realize that this is an old post (2006) and that much his changed in six years. Perhaps his collection is now 250-300 knives, something I would like to see..

                                    Looking through the DVD and some of his shows online, I see a large variety used. I would expect that as he now lives in the United States, the majority of his collection has been purchased there lately. Clearly, his show knives are not always those of the credited sponsors.

                                    Having a F.Dick 1778 knife purchased in Germany, it is the most expensive purchase in my small and humble collection. But frankly, it gets little use. It cuts and preps no better than an inexpensve stainless steel Kaiserberg also purchased in Germany, but most likely fashioned in Chinese hands. It also is less heavy, and easier to clean and store.

                                    1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                      " I would expect that as he now lives in the United States"

                                      He has been living in Madison, CT for a long, long time.

                                      1. re: DougRisk

                                        Thanks Doug.

                                        It looks like a beautiful place to live in the background of his videos.

                                        1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                          To my knowledge, none of his series have been, or are, shot in Madison, CT. I believe they are all shot in San Francisco by KQED. However, he did show how to make puff pastry on Julia Child's show, Cooking with Master Chefs, and I believe that segment was shot in his home.

                                          1. re: DougRisk

                                            In the ESSENTIAL DVD we have there is a house kitchen set with a pool in the background for many of his shows. In one case it is empty with snow, and in others it is raining with Spring or Summer deciduous trees in the background.

                                            I know Mt. Diablo in the Bay area (Walnut Creek) can get a touch of snow now and then for a few hours, but Jacques does refer to the location as " here at home. " Of course with his popularity, perhaps he owns a few homes.

                                            1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                              Oh, ok. Well, I assumed that the Essential Pepin DVD was simply a copy of the shows that aired on PBS. So, OK, I was probably wrong then.

                                              "Of course with his popularity, perhaps he owns a few homes."

                                              He also has a home in Mexico which he rents out.

                              2. At the end of one episode of "Essential Pépin," the credits included Shun Knives and Wusthof.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: John Francis

                                  At the end of an episode of "Fast Food My Way," the following knife makers are credited: Lamson Sharp, MAC Knife, and Wusthof. Possibly others whose names I don't recognize. The specific knives Pépin uses aren't identified, just the companies. It's a moving target.