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Talk about knives

BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 06:43 AM

I've been thru a few commercial and resto kitchens, and have never seen premium knives such as a kramer, rader, etc...always just the white handled forschners and such. While I love knives, I really can't justify spending such a sum on a knife, (even $250 and up sounds crazy to me) but it seems like the home-cook market drives these sales. Those who cook professionally: is an ultra premium knife important to you, or is it just another tool you use everyday?

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  1. petek RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 07:03 AM

    Hey BiscuitBoy. I cook professionally,have been for 20 years. i have used those generic,nondescript knives(up here in Toronto we call them Nellas) and thought Hey they get the job done why should I spend hundreds of $$$ on a Knife just to have it stolen,abused,misplaced etc. Then I had the opportunity to purchace some Kasumi's at an unbelievable price and I've been hooked ever since.I now own a Moritaka 240mm gyuto and there's no going back.
    So,to answer you questions,yes an ultra premium knife is very important to me because it's a tool I use everyday.

    1. Chemicalkinetics RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 07:48 AM

      I think you got it the other way around. Historically, these premium kitchen knives (Japanese style) were first driven by professional chefs, not home cooks. Yes, most commerical kitchens use Forschners and Dexter knives, but most residential kitchen use Faberware and Henckels International knives. Do you expect you will see expensive Kramer and Hattori knives if your randomly tour 10 residential kitchens?

      Analogy, one cannot say the following "I have interviewed 100 scientists and none of them are not particle physicists. Therefore particle physicists are not scientists" You see the problem with that statement, right?

      If you look around on youtube or knifeforum or whatever, you will see a good portion of these high-end knife lovers are professional chefs/cooks.

      22 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
        BiscuitBoy RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 7, 2011 08:08 AM

        That's my point...Given the home cook's propensity to shell out for sub zero, viking, lecreuset, I wouldn't be surprised if at least half of them owned such a knife. If biff and muffy can be talked into a $200 oil change on their a6 or rangrover, I betcha they feel the need for a spendy knife

        1. re: BiscuitBoy
          Chemicalkinetics RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 08:14 AM

          BB,

          You know I love you man, but do you really think half of the home cooks own a >$350 knife or even 1/100th of the home cooks have these >$350 knives? I will tell you that many of the youtube videos on expensive knives are owned by professional chefs. Like saltydog, like Curtis:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Duwt8o...

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9p_tU...

          I cannot say for sure that most of these $350 are owned by professional cooks, but I am very comfortable saying that the percentage of professional cooks owning these knives are at least 10 times higher than that of home cooks.

          Like I said earlier:

          One cannot say the following "I have interviewed 100 scientists and I didn't meet a single particle physicists, and therefore particle physicists are not scientists" We cannot say that I toured 100 professional kitchens and I didn't see a >$350 knife, and therefore $350 knives are home cooks knives.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            John E. RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 9, 2011 01:35 PM

            Chem, I have a knife question (Cowboy can jump in with an answer too).

            On yesterday's knife foray I got a French-made knife bundled with the Wusthof. I kept it because it looks interesting and I didn't recognize it. It's an 8" forged chef's knife, full tang, wooden handle, brass rivets. The make is Laguiole E'clair 440. I know the 440 refers to stainless steel. On the top of the handle near the bolster is a steel fly. The top edge of the tang is engraved with leaf design. There is also a fly logo on the left face of the knife with the name on the right side. 

            All I could find online about the brand is they make flatware, cheese knives and steak knives, none of which interests me.

            My question is, is this knife worth keeping? It must be impossible for someone like me to sharpen. It looks like a good knife except for the stainless steel part, which is a pretty big part.

            1. re: John E.
              Chemicalkinetics RE: John E. Jan 9, 2011 02:33 PM

              I don't know that brand, but then I don't know many brands. 440 is a stainless steel grade, rather a group of stainless steel grades. There are 440A, 440B and 440C. In general, 440C provides better performance than 440B which in turn is better than 440A. If it is just listed as 440, then it is often 440A, but not always.

              440C stainless steels was regarded top of lines stainless steel decades ago and is still consider a good steel. 440A is not bad, but nothing too special. Some people think a 420HC is about the same as a 440A. If this is true, then this knife is on par with Dexter-Russell knives.

              I definitely think the knife is worth keeping. Of course, you should sharpen it just to be sure. I cannot say it is better than your Wusthof and it probably is not. Sorry I cannot be more helpful.

              Cowboy and others will know more.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                John E. RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 9, 2011 03:06 PM

                I'll bring it in and see what the guy at Eversharp has to say. I'll keep it because it's a beautiful knife. It will be interesting to see if it holds an edge. The problem I have is that I have so many knives that if I want to use them all it's mostly just to mildly entertain myself.

              2. re: John E.
                scubadoo97 RE: John E. Jan 9, 2011 03:08 PM

                Laguiole is a high end French knife maker. Nice find John E.
                http://www.laguiole.com/

                1. re: scubadoo97
                  John E. RE: scubadoo97 Jan 9, 2011 04:46 PM

                  Thanks. My search only found one page on that website. Apparently I didn't try hard enough. I did search the site but didn't find any chef's knives. I did find one for sale for $2,600 Euros ($3,300 USD).

                  1. re: John E.
                    scubadoo97 RE: John E. Jan 9, 2011 06:22 PM

                    I didn't see a Chef's knife but did see a two piece Game Server and Fork for 280 Euro and a Cheese Clever for the same price. The carving knife in the server was smaller than a Chef's but similar

                     
                    1. re: scubadoo97
                      John E. RE: scubadoo97 Jan 9, 2011 07:09 PM

                      It will be interesting to see what my knife guy has to say about it. The one I got has a wood handle. The website says the knife is made with 'surgical steel'. I think that makes it difficult to sharpen but with care will hold an edge quite well. That's how ceramic knives have to be treated, ie no bones, just use it to cut meat and vegetables. I have a lot of cheaper knives to abuse for other situations.

            2. re: BiscuitBoy
              cowboyardee RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 09:55 AM

              Frankly, as a home cook who uses nice knives, I'd appreciate if you tried to be a little less insulting. Thanks.

              First off, you're asking in the wrong place. Go pose this question at knifeforums/inthekitchen. Those guys have knives and experience that put me to shame. And while there are all sorts who hang out there, the biggest demographic is certainly professional cooks.

              Also if you ask over there, you'll find that most (not all) of the professional cooks with nice knives don't take their nicest knives to work. Some take cheap but effective beaters (forschners, dexter-russels etc). Others take nice knives (often older) that they wouldn't be heartbroken if someone stole - Tojiros, Hiromotos, Globals, etc. A few bring nicer knives yet - typically not because they need them but because they like them or because they make work that they could do otherwise go even more smoothly.

              Now if you're wondering, as you seem to be in your first post, whether these knives are - strictly speaking - necessary: there is another thread open and active on this very page where all of us chowhound knife enthusiasts agreed that they are not. They are luxury items and/or expensive tools for picky specialists. A few cheap forschners should do most homecooks and even pros just fine. And as I said in that thread, if you aren't interested in learning any knife technique, you can get by with $5 serrated offerings from Walmart or your local dollar store.

              Keep in mind, when the price of a knife ($250) seems 'crazy' to you, that it may be less crazy to those of us who buy em than spending $25,000+ on a car or $100+ on a watch. Or not. In my case, I drive a cheap, ugly sedan that runs well; I have a small non-flat TV; my dog's a mutt from the animal shelter (adorable, BTW); and my cellphone is as much wristwatch as I need. But I like nice knives. There are worse (and much more expensive) things to enjoy.

              1. re: cowboyardee
                BiscuitBoy RE: cowboyardee Jan 7, 2011 10:34 AM

                Nope, from the responses, looks like I'm in the right place, besides, it looks like I have a few home cooks here too....and no insults were tossed around, sounds like a bunch of dudes talking knives, and I love knives. I have a benchmade in my pocket as we speak. I was just trying to get a feel for the pro's point of view

                1. re: BiscuitBoy
                  cowboyardee RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 10:43 AM

                  "If biff and muffy can be talked into a $200 oil change on their a6 or rangrover, I betcha they feel the need for a spendy knife"
                  ___
                  I don't try to take insult where there was none. You implied that home cooks who use more expensive knives are dupes. Suckers.

                  Anyway, it's not that you were wrong to ask here. Not at all. There are just a lot more knife enthusiasts over at knifeforums. And also a lot more professional cooks (per capita, at least). Which is at least in part an answer to your question.

                  1. re: cowboyardee
                    SanityRemoved RE: cowboyardee Jan 8, 2011 08:14 AM

                    I think I know what BB was referring to, and it's a sign of greed or the times in which totally inept and clueless "cooks" have top shelf items not because they can use them or for that matter appreciate them but due to what they represent. It's more about impressing the guests than a love of a well crafted knife.

                    Unfortunately with the surge in popularity of all things food related we are getting increases in prices because of twisted demand. When the fad aspect of food passes, the marketing and sales people are going to figure out where a percentage of their sales where going and will have to adjust prices accordingly or be under cut by those who do.

                    1. re: SanityRemoved
                      cowboyardee RE: SanityRemoved Jan 8, 2011 07:03 PM

                      Fair enough.

                      Don't mind me too much. Sometimes I just get in a fight-y type mood.

                  2. re: BiscuitBoy
                    Chemicalkinetics RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 10:58 AM

                    Biscuit Boy

                    :) I think you are correct that there are many home cooks here. In some way, I do agree with cowboyardee that you probably will get a more accurate view if you send this question out in the knifeforum. The reason I said this is that CHOWHOUND audience is still home cooks. On the knifeforum, you will truely get a better picture because those are the people who invest in in >$200 knives and you get a more selected audience. You get a sense of who are the people buying $350 knives. Cowboyardee is a regular on the knifeforum and a respected one, so he may able to answer your question here, but it is even better if you go on knifeforum.

                    This is not to discourage you from posting here at all, as I find this is a nice post, I am just not sure you will get the correct representation here.

                  3. re: cowboyardee
                    d
                    Dave5440 RE: cowboyardee Jan 7, 2011 04:46 PM

                    While I agree with you on all your points, This one " A few cheap forschners should do most homecooks and even pros just fine." while this statement is true it should be noted if these people tried using a really sharp narrow angled knife they would likely shell out the money for one,

                    1. re: cowboyardee
                      d
                      Dave5440 RE: cowboyardee Jan 7, 2011 04:47 PM

                      D'oh

                  4. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    John E. RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 8, 2011 08:15 PM

                    I would bet that most home kitchens don't have knives as good as farberware and Henckels International. I have been stopping at thrift stores looking at their knives recently. Most of the knives are crap (I believe it is representative of average home kitchens). The reason I continue to look is because there are also homes that have good knives but somehow they get donated anyway (I assume not by the purchaser) and the staff at the thrift stores know nothing about knives. Today I bought a Wusthof Classic 9" slicer for $1.80.

                    http://www.eversharpknives.com/shop/i...

                    1. re: John E.
                      Chemicalkinetics RE: John E. Jan 8, 2011 08:51 PM

                      John,

                      I am amazed you kept getting all these great deals (<$3). Well, either the staffers at the stores don't know about knives or they don't care for them. Bad for them, great for you.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                        John E. RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 9, 2011 09:16 AM

                        If it was at Goodwill that I was buying these knives I might feel a little guilty. I don't know what they're doing with the donated knives but they aren't in the stores here. I certainly could afford to buy knives retail but there is a thrill in finding them in this manner.

                        1. re: John E.
                          Chemicalkinetics RE: John E. Jan 9, 2011 09:35 AM

                          Well, let's hope the people who donated these Wusthof Classic knives are at least upgrading their knives and not downgrading. I swear I have heard of people retiring their good for "attractive but worse" knives.

                          The stories usually go like this. Their Wusthof/Henckels/whatever got dull, so when they watch TV and saw a new attractive knives endorsed by a celebrity like Rachel Ray or Oprah, they bought the celebrity knives and they are sharper than old knives. What they didn't know is that A) these old knives would actually perform better if they are sharpened and B) these celebrity new knives actually dull at a faster rate.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            John E. RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 9, 2011 10:35 AM

                            Yesterday's knife is really dull but the 8" classic chef's knife was perfect. Somebody that never learned knife skills and probably used a paring or boning knife for everything decided they never used this knife and got rid of it. That or a parent died and it ended up in the thrift store. Even if someone knew nothing of knives they should be able to pick the Wusthof out of a pile of knives as the good one.

                  5. b
                    bkling RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 08:03 AM

                    Here's another perspective. I'm not a professional cook but for about 20 years I arranged catering for hundreds of professional conferences at premier venues and convention centers nationwide. So I've worked with lots of busy chefs and seen many many kitchens. The consistent message I got (and I asked) is that while premium knives are really excellent, in everyday use there is very little difference and certainly not enough to warrant the high prices. Dexter Russell knives and other inexpensive trade brands were often mentioned. These chefs told me they can afford to personally use whatever tools they wish and they don't waste money on premium knives.

                    No doubt there are chefs who disagree. But the point is that the functional difference must be very small. And many chefs have relationships with knife makers that raise questions for me about their public recommendations.

                    So I tried some of the Dexter Russell knives, like the 8" chefs knife that Bittman recently advocated. (About $14 via Amazon.) I used them along side my Wustoff and Shun blades. In a home kitchen where I cook almost every day, the Dexter Russells did great. They've held up well over the last few years. And each time I pick one up, I have a good feeling because I'm no longer being a sucker and buying into the marketing barrage regarding high end knives. I don’t suggest my use of knives is comparable to that of a busy commercial kitchen, but I believe you are talking mainly about home use.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: bkling
                      c
                      Chowrin RE: bkling Jan 8, 2011 06:56 AM

                      depends. do you want to hone daily? if you get premium steel, you won't need to. OTOH, you'll have a devil of a time sharpening it! (free sharpening service is... a feature, but not a "bonus" feature. most sharpeners can't handle premium steel).

                      1. re: Chowrin
                        Candy RE: Chowrin Jan 9, 2011 10:25 AM

                        A hone does not sharpen knives and you'd better know how to use it too. Western knives have a 20 degree angle on the blade, Asian 15 degree. The hone merely aligns the blade. True sharpeners, and there are many to choose from, Wusthoff has a dandy sharpener with a scissors sharpener for about $9.99. They go up in price from there with both manual and electric sharpeners. Most good cooking shops will have a knife sharpening service and depending on home use you should not need to have knives sharpened more than once or twice a year.

                        1. re: Candy
                          Chemicalkinetics RE: Candy Jan 9, 2011 10:55 AM

                          "Most good cooking shops will have a knife sharpening service"

                          I keep hearing this. Is it true? If I go to Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table, they can sharpen my knives? I am not really looking to have my knives sharpening, but I am curious.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            Jay F RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 9, 2011 02:56 PM

                            Sur La Table sharpens knives in Pittsburgh, as does In the Kitchen (Strip District). I don't know about W-S.

                            1. re: Jay F
                              Chemicalkinetics RE: Jay F Jan 9, 2011 02:56 PM

                              Thanks.

                          2. re: Candy
                            c
                            Chowrin RE: Candy Jan 14, 2011 03:34 AM

                            I know that a hone doesn't sharpen knives! Premium steel (we're talking the powdered stuff here...) shouldn't be sharpened at WS... My knives are set at a 16 degree angle.

                        2. re: bkling
                          b
                          bkling RE: bkling Apr 12, 2011 06:39 AM

                          Well I know most here are cooks but now i'm speaking as an eater -- of my own words. I tried some premium Japanese knives and I'm converted. Man they just glide through stuff! I learned to sharpen very hard carbon steel when I used to make bamboo fly rods and had to sharpen plane blades, so that's no problem. I don't mind honing daily so that's not the issue, these knives are just incredible tools that are fun to use! Those words didn't taste so bad...

                          1. re: bkling
                            Eiron RE: bkling Apr 12, 2011 08:37 AM

                            Wait - !!
                            So... what did you get?
                            :-)

                        3. cannibal RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 08:10 AM

                          I think it's also partly preference and environment. Take a mechanic for instance, they can get some pretty nice wrenches that command a high dollar amount or they can go with the india-made tools that are 10 bucks for a set. Both will get the job done, but once you use nice tools it might be hard to go back to your "standard stock".

                          that being said, victorinox and dexter's are good tools...inexpensive, but not cheap. If that knife were stolen or borrowed and mis-used i wouldn't be too heart broken about it. If i were in an environment where i knew that the other people i work with were capable enough to not abuse the knife i would have no problem bringing a nicer knife to work.

                          To answer your question it really just depends. :P

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: cannibal
                            petek RE: cannibal Jan 7, 2011 08:26 AM

                            Good points by all.The bottom line for me,as a "chef" is performance.As long as I can keep an eye on my babies I'll bring them to work with me every day.And by bringing my knives to work I've successfully converted many Mac,Wusthof, Henkel users to Japanese steel,whatever the brand.But to each their own.

                            1. re: cannibal
                              Chemicalkinetics RE: cannibal Jan 7, 2011 08:30 AM

                              That is a very very good example on tools. I know many field-engineers own and pride their own set of tools and they shell out money for these very nice tools. Cheaper tools will do the jobs, but they enjoy using nicer tools.

                              1. re: cannibal
                                BiscuitBoy RE: cannibal Jan 7, 2011 08:32 AM

                                good point with the tool analogy....While my chest is full of craftsman handtools, I do own one snap on ratchet

                              2. PBSF RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 08:31 AM

                                It really depends on what type of professional kitchen one works in. Until recently, I worked at restaurants, mostly high-end, for over 25 years and there has been a slight shift toward different types of knives. Part of that is due to the wider availabilities of Japanese style knives and second is that cooks seem to take better care of their knives. When I first begin cooking in a restaurant kitchen, most of us use German made Wuhof and Henkels or French made Sabatiers with a few Forchers, etc thrown. There was a lot less fine cutting and precise slicing, therefore, German made knives serves its purpose. To this day, they are still my favorite knives for most purposes. I can split lobsters, cut up a duck or cut fish into precise portions. These knives can take abuse and requires less care that fits the fast pace of the kitchen. Recently, one see more Japanese style knives in commercial kitchens. But considering some cost in the hundreds, with the low salary of cooks, and the general hectic atmosphere of a commercial kitchen, one still most lightly see Forchers, etc. Cooks do not want to be constantly worry about someone picking up their $300 knife or worst, gets accidently toss into the big kitchen garbage bin. Of course, if one is working on the sushi line or a Thomas Keller, these do not apply.

                                1. c
                                  chuckl RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 08:36 AM

                                  As i understand it the major tradeoffs between knives is the hardness of the steel and hence sharpness vs. Durability with a softer steel. Durability might trump harder steel in commercial and restaurant kitchens. Plus you dont have as much to lose if a less expensive knifw "walks"

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: chuckl
                                    petek RE: chuckl Jan 7, 2011 08:43 AM

                                    It still sucks to lose any knife,be it a $20..00 generic or a $500.00 Hattori.
                                    whatever knife you buy, respect the steel and and it will give you many years of pleasure.

                                  2. srsone RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 08:45 AM

                                    i dont know about 250 apiece for just one knife....
                                    u can find a set of kasumi titanium knives for under 500. 5 knives and a sharpener...

                                    and i am an auto tech by trade...so spending money on tools that make my job easier is something i have done all along...but yes now that im old and wise i have one or two good knives
                                    over 100 apiece ...and some sets...yes one set of knives in a block is ok for most ordinary day to day cooking...but when i really cook i use the proper tools....
                                    just like i have cheap craftsman and stanley tools and i have high end snap-on and matco and mac and cornwell tools...
                                    but not every backyard guy doing his own work is going to buy snap on either...so it goes both ways..
                                    and i have seen on iron chef quality hand made knives and robert irvine carries a suitcase of his kasumi's ...so it does come down to the personal choices...

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: srsone
                                      petek RE: srsone Jan 7, 2011 08:49 AM

                                      better "tools" make for better easier work. I love to see people getting so passionate about knives.:)

                                      1. re: petek
                                        srsone RE: petek Jan 8, 2011 01:24 PM

                                        like la2tokyo....if being a sushi chef was my profession then yes i would have very very good knives ..or tools in my case..as well
                                        just the toolbox i keep my tools in was over 6000$ and the tools in it are probably 20,000$
                                        but yes i use them day in and day out to make a living...so if i were a sushi chef or a line chef or any kind of chef then yes spending money on quality is justified...if thats what it takes to make my job better...
                                        do i consider myself passionate about tools...maybe a little...
                                        but i also just really like to cook and good knives help in that regard

                                        1. re: srsone
                                          l
                                          la2tokyo RE: srsone Jan 8, 2011 02:52 PM

                                          I always felt fortunate that knives are fairly cheap compared to an auto mechanics tools. If I had to, I could make a decent living with $1000 worth of tools. No mechanic is going to be able to open a shop for even ten times that. Buying a rollaway full of Snap On, and then having to worry about things getting lost or people stealing stuff would stress me out. At least a set of knives is easy to keep track of.

                                          1. re: la2tokyo
                                            srsone RE: la2tokyo Jan 8, 2011 09:10 PM

                                            i dont worry about people stealing..my toolbox has a very good set of locks...
                                            and to even move it needs a tow truck or a moving van...
                                            but i also have to cover a lot of different kinds of cars..
                                            u probably only need what..maybe 5 knives?
                                            so just as a home mechanic isnt going to buy the same amount or quality of tools...he may buy some very good ones..or there are a few who might buy the same ...
                                            i would expect cooking tools..would be kinda the same...
                                            but then it all comes down to each person and preferences..
                                            i have ja henckels and a tosagta hocho
                                            and i still use some of the farberware block set....
                                            just like i also have calphalon pans and t fal pans

                                    2. l
                                      la2tokyo RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 09:16 AM

                                      I have been working in professional Japanese kitchens for most of the last 15 years. When I was a teenager I was lucky to receive a hand-me-down set of four knives that was worth about $175 per piece. After using those for about four years I began to upgrade them one by one, I added a couple more, and although I have a quite a few knives that I bought as a collector, I have an core set of about six knives worth an average of $450 each. They are absolutely essential to my job. To a large extent, my knives determine my level of performance in the kitchen. Occasionally I help out friends in other restaurants on days I happen to be hanging around in their kitchens, I use the knives that they happen to have lying around, and I am shockingly reminded how powerless I am without my tools. I need to add however, that the knives I have now would not have been worth any more to me when I was young than the cheaper ones I had when I was a teenager. It took me a decade of holding a knife for ten hours a day and a decade of learning how to sharpen them on a daily basis to be able to use my knives to their potential. As a movie producer would probably have a hard time making Avatar on a ten-year-old Dell laptop, a professional chef would have a hard time breaking down a walk-in full of vegetables and fish with a Ginsu knife. I could break down 300 lbs of fish a day with a Forschner, but it would add an hour to my workday and the results would be sloppy. $500 every five or six years for a new knife is a small price to pay for how much easier a good knife helps me on a daily basis.

                                      28 Replies
                                      1. re: la2tokyo
                                        petek RE: la2tokyo Jan 7, 2011 09:22 AM

                                        well said la2tokyo!

                                        1. re: la2tokyo
                                          Chemicalkinetics RE: la2tokyo Jan 7, 2011 09:57 AM

                                          Very well said. I will be the first to say that a good and a bad knife would have made much difference for me when I was a college student.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                            m
                                            mikie RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 7, 2011 10:28 AM

                                            Reminds me of something my Grandfather used to say, ". . . no need to get a better brush than you are painter."

                                            Italian men either become chefs, or they rarely enter the kitchen, my mother was not interested in her son becoming a chef, so I'm late to the cooking game and my knife skils are sorely missing. I am truely not worthy of a $250 knife. I can't taste the difference between a $50 bottle of wine and a $250 bottle of wine either. However, I can tell the difference between a $25,000 sedan and a $250,000 Ferrari. ;)

                                            1. re: mikie
                                              BiscuitBoy RE: mikie Jan 7, 2011 10:44 AM

                                              or petek's gto (is that a gto, pete?)

                                              1. re: BiscuitBoy
                                                cannibal RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 12:10 PM

                                                i think it's a mid to late 60's jaguar j-type? i'm trying to squint at the image :P

                                                1. re: cannibal
                                                  cannibal RE: cannibal Jan 7, 2011 12:19 PM

                                                  I take it back, i just noticed the gill and am thinking it's a ferrari 275 GTB

                                                  Edit: i want to say 65 or 66

                                                  1. re: cannibal
                                                    petek RE: cannibal Jan 7, 2011 01:35 PM

                                                    you are correct cannibal! it's a Ferrari 275 GTB. wish it were mine.not sure if she's a 65 or 66 but she's a beauty! There's a great video on youtube of someone driving through the streets of Paris,full speed, in one of these.check it out!!

                                                  2. re: cannibal
                                                    m
                                                    mikie RE: cannibal Jan 7, 2011 12:28 PM

                                                    No, that is definately Italian. I'll say late 60s GTB

                                            2. re: la2tokyo
                                              petek RE: la2tokyo Jan 7, 2011 10:03 AM

                                              hey la2tokyo care to share your knife collection with us? I bet you have some beauties.

                                              1. re: petek
                                                l
                                                la2tokyo RE: petek Jan 7, 2011 03:32 PM

                                                Generally speaking, I have the most boring knife collection that $6000 can buy. I have a friend who can get me about a 35% discount on Masamoto knives, so that's pretty much what I've always used. I don't know if getting 1/3 off Masamoto is cheaper than buying another brand at full retail which doesn't have a big name and might be a better value? cowboyardee and Chemicalkinetics could probably tell you. Honestly I'm a little embarrassed at how little technical information I know about knives compared to those two guys and the other people on knifeforum, especially after using knives for so long. I understand why I use the tools that I use, and why I am happy with most of the changes that I've made, but knowing the technical info that caused me difficulty with certain knives over the years would have saved me some headaches. After reading such informative posts for the last year or so I will probably put some more thought into future purchases, although I prefer to stick to a single brand for my core set for certain reasons.

                                                Like I said the knives are almost all Masamoto, and you can see them here:

                                                http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/MAS...

                                                I started out with one deba, usuba, and yanagi that were all the cheap masamoto kasumi series. I used them for about four years. They were already about 20% ground away when I got them, and I used them until they were too short to sharpen. Any time you use a knife until it's completely worn away you have done a lot of hard work and hopefully learned a lot about cooking. For that reason those knives have a lot of sentimental value to me. I still pull them out once in a while even though they're less than half as long as they used to be and practically impossible to use.

                                                I gradually replaced those with different hon kasumi series knives. Generally speaking, I have gone through two yanagi for every switch of deba and usuba because I use it more. Now I have I ended up with a mostly hassouuchi hon kasumi set. Those knives are awesome. They are easy to sharpen and they really hold an edge almost as well as a hon yaki. I have two deba, two usuba (kansai and kanto styles that are different sizes) and the hamo knife that only gets used a few months a year during hamo season. Those plus my two yanagi and my soba knife are all I really ever use. I don't like carrying that many knives around but I use those eight enough to where I feel it's justified to have them. I can't imagine using more than six or seven on a regular basis unless I worked in Tsukiji or something like that, and even then I don't think it would be necessary.

                                                When it got too short I replaced the hassouuchi yanagi with two hon yaki gyoukuhakukou that I rotate. I use the yanagi for six hours at a time. With the cheaper knives (even the most expensive kasumi) there was some loss of edge by the end of my shift. The hon yaki has the best edge retention, and because I am charging someone a lot of money to make food for them, I feel obligated to use it because I feel the last customer of the night deserves to have the same quality product as the first customer. That said, it is much more difficult to sharpen, and ultimately that means more work at the end of the night before I get to go home. That's why I sold a hon yaki usuba that I had for a little while. I felt like I needed to use it for more than four hours a day to justify the extra ten minutes to sharpen it every night.

                                                I have bought a few other knives that are more conversation pieces but I don't really spend a lot of money on them. Example: There are different styles of eel knives that I have a few of. Aritsugu makes nice examples http://www.aritsugu.jp/cart/html/10un... I have the bottom three which are Kyoto, Nagoya, and Osaka styles respectively. I hardly ever cut unagi so they were just for showing to people when we started talking about Japanese knife styles. And they were only about $80 a piece so my wife can't complain too much.

                                                I have a bunch of Masamoto gyuto that I kind of dislike. They are good knives but they are not precise like the single beveled knives, and I have never felt I could get an edge on a double beveled knife like I can on a single beveled knife. I am have been working on that for years, but I am wondering if it's a lost cause. I was recently given one of the Michel Bras santoku as a gift and it's great, but it definitely doesn't cut like a single bevel hon yaki. Maybe cowboyardee could sharpen it to the same level, but I don't feel like it's as straightforward as sharpening a Japanese style knife.

                                                Which leads to the most important point in all of this: The bottom line is your knife is only as good as your skill as a sharpener. If you don't know if you're skilled enough to sharpen a $1000 hon yaki then you most definitely are not. I know people who have been making sushi for 40 years who refuse to buy the $2000 ebony handled hon yaki with silver accents because they don't feel they're qualified to use it. I fear that too many of those knives end up in the hands of people who don't care for them, and that kind of breaks my heart. I think anyone who uses any kind of tool for their work understands that tools are much more than pieces of metal. If you are truly invested in your work then they are a part of you. When I die you will be able to look at all my old stubby knives and see my life story. People who don't work with their hands usually don't understand that - they just see a piece of metal and a price tag. I pick up tools that my colleagues have been using for decades and sometimes just looking at them makes me emotional. The wooden handles that are attached to most Japanese knives become thinner after about 10-15 years of daily use. When you see a sushi chef using a knife that has a handle that has become concave in the middle from wear, it means they have spent a large fraction of their life with that knife in their hand. That's something.

                                                PS Sorry that was so long. This probably wasn't very relevant to the OP.

                                                1. re: la2tokyo
                                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: la2tokyo Jan 7, 2011 04:04 PM

                                                  "The bottom line is your knife is only as good as your skill as a sharpener."

                                                  I will also add that your knife is only as good as your knife skill. Sharpening bring out of the edge of a knife, but knife skill bring out the soul of a blade, and you bring out that true spirit of a knife.

                                                  There is something special about a knife. It isn't just any average cookware. It isn't like a toaster oven or a food processor. It has personality. It communcates, it grows and it bonds with the user.

                                                  These are wonderful and heartfelt stories. It is a shame that some really good knives end up in hands of people who don't care for them and that is sad case. All the hard work in making that knife is wasted and all the potential of the knife is squandered. Thanks for sharing your thought.

                                                  1. re: la2tokyo
                                                    petek RE: la2tokyo Jan 7, 2011 04:17 PM

                                                    Great post la2tokyo! I got emotional just reading it.A great sharp knife,regardless who makes it , will,by its very nature, make your knife skills better.
                                                    Thanks for sharing your story.

                                                    1. re: la2tokyo
                                                      cannibal RE: la2tokyo Jan 7, 2011 06:23 PM

                                                      Thank you for sharing some insight into your life. That is one of the best examples of how a knife can have great value regardless of monetary price. It makes me happy to know you still use your original knives :)

                                                      1. re: la2tokyo
                                                        cowboyardee RE: la2tokyo Jan 7, 2011 10:03 PM

                                                        Ooooh, I like this dude.

                                                        Thanks, la2tokyo, for making appreciation of knives so noble. Your stories are a much more convincing argument in favor of valuing one's knives than I could have made.

                                                        Also, while I may be proud of what skill I've developed sharpening blades, I would trade that in (and ship my knives to Dave Martell) in a heartbeat for the skill of someone who has spent a lifetime learning to USE a good knife well.

                                                        1. re: la2tokyo
                                                          c
                                                          Chowrin RE: la2tokyo Jan 8, 2011 07:00 AM

                                                          shun does a free sharpening service on some of their knives. they really don't want you sharpening them wrong!

                                                          1. re: Chowrin
                                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: Chowrin Jan 8, 2011 07:21 AM

                                                            Yes, the free knife sharpening service is a very strong service from KAI, and I have to admit it is a very attractive service for home cooks who want high quality knives without worrying knife sharpening. This includes all Shun knives along with Wasabi, Komachi, Kershaw.

                                                            That being said, I am sure la2tokyo can sharpening his knives just fine, considering that he has sharpened his knives on a daily basis for 15 years, including even the very skill-oriented hoyaki knives. In addition, Shun knives are mainly home cooks' knives. I don't believe professional sushi chefs would rely on Shun knives.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              l
                                                              la2tokyo RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 8, 2011 10:36 AM

                                                              The problem with the sharpening service is that it takes a month. If you use the knife a lot and send it out every time you need it sharpened, it would spend more time in the mail and in their factory than it would in your house.

                                                              As far as doing it myself, I can do it, and I can get 95% as good and edge as it had from the factory fairly quickly. However, I have always felt that the way you basically freehand the bevel angles while sharpening a double beveled knife such as a gyuto on a waterstone is inferior to the way you sharpen a single beveled knife. I've never felt like it's possible to apply the same amount of pressure to the edge as precisely, especially on the left side of the knife (if you're right handed). I guess that's an issue for another thread.

                                                              1. re: la2tokyo
                                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: la2tokyo Jan 8, 2011 11:29 AM

                                                                la2tokyo,

                                                                "I can get 95% as good and edge as it had from the factory fairly quickly..."

                                                                I disagree that statement and I mean it in a good way. The factory edge from Shun is finished on 1000 grit which is more than enough for average home cooks, but most Japanese sushi chefs finish their knife above a 1000 grit. I suspect you finish yours at a higher stone as well. You are way too humble. I bet money that your edge is far superior than the factory edge. In older threads, I have always praised about KAI's free sharpening service. In fact, I may be only the very few people here believe Shun knives are good deal knives. Neverthelss, the free sharpening service is only a great service for home cooks. It is unsuitable for most chef's especially sushi chefs like you. Correct if I am wrong, but you chefs sharpen your knives on a daily basis and rotate the knives every other day. Forget about a month duration for sharpening turn around, I don't think you can even accept a 4-days turn-around. Due to the very nature of Japanese cuisine, you guys are basically forced to become knife sharpening experts: free hand sharpening knives every single day for 10-30 years.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                  c
                                                                  Chowrin RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 8, 2011 11:44 AM

                                                                  chem, are you talking the kaji fusion/elite lines? their best steel was a myth, ten years ago... a bloody pipe dream.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                    c
                                                                    Chowrin RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 8, 2011 11:57 AM

                                                                    chem, you saying sushi chefs sharpen knives daily (not hone?). am curious, not my field. ;-)

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                      scubadoo97 RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 8, 2011 01:00 PM

                                                                      Agree with CK. You should be able to get a better edge then just about every factory edge as they don't finish the edges at anything above 1000 grit. Many of the Japanese knife makers expect the end user to finish the edge to their liking.

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                        Eiron RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 8, 2011 03:56 PM

                                                                        Chem: "... I may be only the very few people here believe Shun knives are good deal knives..."

                                                                        No, you're not. I'm also a fan. I really like their new 7" Asian-style (aka 180mm gyuto) Shun Classic knife. Nice, thin VG-10 blade with damascus-style cladding, well balanced, wonderful handle, & very little belly.

                                                                        I've seen their Pure Komachi line at TJM for under $10/knife, & that includes their free sharpening service as well.

                                                                        1. re: Eiron
                                                                          cowboyardee RE: Eiron Jan 8, 2011 07:22 PM

                                                                          I like that asian-style Shun as well. My big problem with Shuns was always the belly on their knives, even their santoku. The price on most of em actually isn't bad for what they are. VG-10 is good steel. They look pretty. Not great geometry, but competitive.

                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                            Eiron RE: cowboyardee Jan 8, 2011 08:47 PM

                                                                            Oh man, I completely agree about the belly on the Shuns. That's why I only have their 6" utility & 4" parer. I think you might've been the one to bring it up to me when I started looking for a new knife a little over a year ago. When you look at their santoku, it's simply a blunted version of their chef knife.

                                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                      c
                                                                      Chowrin RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 8, 2011 11:41 AM

                                                                      the quality of the steel on the best shun is such that normal sharpening is not a good idea (they use special stones).

                                                                      1. re: Chowrin
                                                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: Chowrin Jan 8, 2011 12:10 PM

                                                                        :) You have three replies. Ok, I don't know much, but I will try to answer them the best I can. Others please feel free to correct me. Shun's most expensive knives like Elite/Fusion/Kaji/Kramer... are all made with SG-2 powder steel at HRC 64. Very hard knives. That being said, the two lines which Shun offers as sushi knives are "Shun Pro" and "Shun Pro II" and these are made of full VG-10. Good steel as well. We know these two lines are for sushi chefs because they are real traditional Japanese knives like Deba, Yanagiba, Nakiri (really a Usuba)... etc. You may see the knife list here:

                                                                        http://www.kershawknives.com/searchre...

                                                                        Elite, Kaji, Fusion may be more expensive, but these are not sushi knives. These are knives targeting a Western/European audience. We have paring knife, Chef's knife, bread knife... etc. Look here for the Kaji line:

                                                                        http://www.kershawknives.com/searchre...

                                                                        A sushi chef cannot use them.

                                                                        Sushi chefs are trained to sharpen (not honing) knives every single day at the end of the work shift. There is not such thing as "honing" in Japanese culture. Now we can go into the reason, but I will let la2tokoyo answer the question in fuller details. Afterall, he is the sushi chef.

                                                                        I do want to point out that la2tokoyo is using some very impressive knives, and I won't for a second put his knives under even the best of Shun. In case you haven't checked out his knives list (which he mentioned earlier). These are his knives:

                                                                        http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HSS...

                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                          c
                                                                          Chowrin RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 8, 2011 12:16 PM

                                                                          thx. very enlightening!

                                                                  2. re: la2tokyo
                                                                    BiscuitBoy RE: la2tokyo Jan 8, 2011 10:37 AM

                                                                    not at all....good stuff. As to sharpening, while I have an assortment of stones, and can appreciate the process, my tormek t3 keeps me sane

                                                              2. t
                                                                The Loaf RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 10:35 AM

                                                                When I first spent "real money" on a knife it was, like, $50 for a forged Wusthof, and I thought that was the end of it. If you had told me then that 20 years later I would be casting around, looking to buy closer to a $200 knife, and that I would then be OUT of cooking on a professional level, I would have thought I was going to win the lottery.

                                                                But I never won the lottery, don't make more than an average salary, and that's the situation. Now I cook at home out of necessity and for enjoyment, and though a stamped Victorinox would probably do for most tasks, a super nice knife makes the whole experience of cooking more satisfying and fun. (Then again, I've always liked hand tools of every sort, just on an aesthetic level. Recently I bought an unusual wrench and hung it on the wall just to look at it. So I may be weird... just sayin')

                                                                How you spend your money is up to you, but I can tell you that using a nice knife totally changed the way I think of cooking. My appliances are made by GE and Whirlpool not Sub Zero, but are still worth more than any of my knives, but I don't feel nearly the attachment to those machines. I don't prep cases of vegis or chickens anymore, but I still cook every day and my knives--all regularly used--are the working tools that I love the most.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: The Loaf
                                                                  cannibal RE: The Loaf Jan 7, 2011 12:17 PM

                                                                  out of curiosity...what wrench? :)

                                                                  1. re: cannibal
                                                                    BiscuitBoy RE: cannibal Jan 8, 2011 10:31 AM

                                                                    The Loaf ain't the only guy with wrenches on the wall....Tho I suspect his might be a little nicer:

                                                                    1. re: cannibal
                                                                      BiscuitBoy RE: cannibal Jan 8, 2011 10:32 AM

                                                                      The Loaf ain't the only guy with wrenches on the wall....Tho I suspect his might be a little nicer:

                                                                      (again)

                                                                       
                                                                  2. s
                                                                    sueatmo RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 7, 2011 01:46 PM

                                                                    Not a dude, but someone who used junk knives for decades until she bought herself a new Henckels. I have since bought myself a Henckels Twin four star II. Best knife I ever owned and plenty good enough for me. It did not cost $250. It took me about 6 months to really get so I could manipulate it like I like. (Its a big chef's knife). I guess I take a bit of umbrage at the assumption that knife people are all males who are into knives.

                                                                    Buy the best you can afford, and the first one should be a chef's knife. The way you tell if the knife is for you, is you hold it in your hand. If it fits, you will know it. (I am assuming you wouldn't be holding it in your hand if it wasn't a quality knife in the first place.)

                                                                    If you can't afford a $250 knife, don't buy one. You can do quite well at a lower price point.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: sueatmo
                                                                      petek RE: sueatmo Jan 7, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                                      sueatmo's right, If you can't afford a $250.. knife ,don't buy one because not only are you shelling out $250. plus for the knife,you have to take in consideration maintenance,stones,strops,stone holders etc etc. It's a big ,albiet a very satisfying,undertaking.
                                                                      The best knife for you is one that feels good in your hand,that gets the job done.

                                                                    2. l
                                                                      la2tokyo RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 8, 2011 11:14 AM

                                                                      As another aside, for those of you who are obsessed with the culture of Japanese knives and other tools, there is a book that is worth checking out if you have a kindle - "Japanese Woodworking Tools; Their Tradition, Spirit and Use" by Toshio Odate.

                                                                      http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Woodwo...

                                                                      If you aren't a woodworker it definitely won't be worth the money to buy a hard copy (it is out of print and has become very expensive), but I thought it was worth the $15 kindle price just for his personal anecdotes from his apprenticeship and information about sharpening.

                                                                      One anecdote that is particularly relevant to the conversation in this thread, and who should be spending money on expensive tools, is about a plane Odate bought when he was young:

                                                                      "One afternoon I took the train to a store that was well know for its fine tools. There I purchased a plane made by a famous blacksmith. Being young and inexperienced, I did not know the reputation of the smith or the fine quality of his tools. I knew only that the plane was expensive.
                                                                      On the train, I was so happy with my purchase that I unwrapped the plane and held and looked at it all the way home. I knew I would have to keep the plane a secret, for people would laugh at the beginner who bought a tool he did not know how to use properly, I couldn't even keep the plane in my toolbox for fear someone would see it. So I enjoyed the plane every evening in my room, and kept it by my bedside.
                                                                      One day it was raining, and everyone was in the shop and fixing tools. I don't remember why - it wasn't a day off - but the plane was in my toolbox. Though I was pretending to be working, I had difficulty keeping my mind on the job, so I was continually looking at my plane. Suddenly, my master was standing beside me; he asked me about the plane, and I had to tell him that I'd bought it. Immediately he took it from me and showed it to the other shokunin (skilled craftsmen) in the shop - they all thought it was a wonderful tool. After they talked together about it for a long time, the plane was given back to my master. Holding the plane in his hand, my master came to me and told me simply that it was too good for me. As I expected, I never saw the plane again.
                                                                      Tools are made to be used, and great tools are made to be used by great craftsmen. That plane was not for me, and I should not have owned it simply to keep it hidden away. It was a painful and expensive lesson to learn, but I know now that I have had greater respect for the tool and its creator. Such respect did not mean allowing the tool to be idle."

                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                      1. re: la2tokyo
                                                                        petek RE: la2tokyo Jan 8, 2011 11:30 AM

                                                                        Great story la2tokyo.Do you mind if I ask what stones you use? Do you "strop" your blades?
                                                                        I don't use any single beveled knives for work stictly,gyuto,honesuki and santoku.
                                                                        Not saying that any particular stones would make any difference on these styles of knives,but I thought I'd mention it anyway

                                                                        1. re: petek
                                                                          l
                                                                          la2tokyo RE: petek Jan 8, 2011 12:35 PM

                                                                          King #1000 every 5 days or so. Masamoto #4000 every night as needed. Masamoto #8000 for yanagi only when I have extra time. I get those almost free so I haven't exploreed other brands, but I'm sure there are better options out there. I have been seriously thinking about getting a couple natural stones but I haven't really had time to do the research. If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them.

                                                                          1. re: la2tokyo
                                                                            petek RE: la2tokyo Jan 8, 2011 12:42 PM

                                                                            I know that Korin in N.Y.C sells them.Very expensive,but maybe they can give you some useful information. I guess natural stone are the next step. There's a knife sharpener in my city that offers natural stone sharpening.I'm curious to check it out.

                                                                            1. re: la2tokyo
                                                                              c
                                                                              Chowrin RE: la2tokyo Jan 8, 2011 01:00 PM

                                                                              i've got an idahone at home. not the knife geek (see prev noobish posts), but it's pretty nice.

                                                                          2. re: la2tokyo
                                                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: la2tokyo Jan 8, 2011 11:36 AM

                                                                            I have read similar stories about Japanese swords, but I think that is another story.

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                              c
                                                                              Chowrin RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 8, 2011 11:45 AM

                                                                              the yakuza use theirs for chopping off fingers... I'd far rather see one just for display!

                                                                              1. re: Chowrin
                                                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: Chowrin Jan 8, 2011 12:14 PM

                                                                                :P

                                                                                No, I meant stories about a swordman giving away their prized sword to a better swordman because they deem it is wasteful for himself to own the sword when a better swordman can wield it better and to put in better use.

                                                                          3. Roarasaur RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 8, 2011 03:07 PM

                                                                            I think the better way to put an end to the "insults" is to state it as are the owners of a premium knife home cooks or cook professionally? Because yes, most home cooks (being that there is a 1000: 1 ratio of home cooks to professional chefs) use regular brand knives. But if you look at it proportionally, I think there would be more professional chefs that use higher end knives than the average home cook.

                                                                            1. v
                                                                              vanmartin RE: BiscuitBoy Jan 21, 2011 09:40 AM

                                                                              All this talk of cutlery makes me angry, queasy and sad. I recently had my entire knife case stolen. Several thousand dollars of knives that have to be replaced along with various microplanes, digital thermometer and little black books, etc. The knives that were gifts from my wife are the ones that are the hardest to replace. Karma; please act swiftly.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: vanmartin
                                                                                scubadoo97 RE: vanmartin Jan 21, 2011 11:41 AM

                                                                                Check with your homeowners insurance to see if they might cover it.

                                                                                1. re: vanmartin
                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: vanmartin Jan 21, 2011 01:34 PM

                                                                                  ....little black books, huh?

                                                                                2. k
                                                                                  KitchenCustoms RE: BiscuitBoy Apr 9, 2011 05:42 AM

                                                                                  I make and use custom knives. I use high end tool steels. If you are asking if it is worth it? Just as there is difference between a Chevy and Lamborghini. There is difference between knives.
                                                                                  High end knives are sharper and they cut better. Yes, a good tool steel is sharper off a stone. It will also hold it edge much longer. It will also sharpening much easier.

                                                                                  My wife went to Henckels in her Restaurants as the crew knives. You have fight on your hands if you tried to take them.

                                                                                  1. BiscuitBoy RE: BiscuitBoy Apr 11, 2011 07:36 AM

                                                                                    I had the opportunity to talk to a couple of pros recently...cia grads, who currently work for a caterer/wedding factory kind of place. When I asked what kind of knife they prefer they replied "the sharpest one." One had heard of kramer, tho neither had ever used one or seen one in person. Goes to prove that the bulk of the ultra premium knife market is fueled not by pros in the trenches, but by over monied house fraus

                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: BiscuitBoy
                                                                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: BiscuitBoy Apr 11, 2011 07:48 AM

                                                                                      "Goes to prove that the bulk of the ultra premium knife market is fueled not by pros in the trenches, but by over monied house fraus"

                                                                                      Not so fast. It does not "prove" anything. We all agree that most professional chefs do not own a Chef's knife cost more than $250. However, neither do most home cooks. The fact is that most people (home cooks or professional chefs) do not have a $250. Thus the logic of "I have talked to a couple of pros and they don't have $250 --> proves--> $250 knives are fueled by home cooks" is false. It has the same problem of "I have talked to couple of wealthey home cooks and they don't have $250 (which is true) --> proves -->$250 knives are fueled by professional chefs".

                                                                                      You have a response here. la2tokyo told you he is a professional chef and he told you that he has six knives averaged at $450 a piece. Of course, a single person does not prove anything, but it shows that there are professional chefs who spend hundreds dollars for a knife (his friends do as well)

                                                                                      Like I wrote before, it is incorrect to say "I have talked to 100 scientists and none of them is a particle physicist --> proves --> particle physicists are not scientist"

                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7580...

                                                                                      That logic is false. I can see how a Kramer knife appeals more to home cooks than professional chefs. So if you are only talking about a Kramer knife, I would agree with you, but Kramer knives are a very small sub-set of the ">$250 knvies". If you are to look at Masamoto and Mizuno..etc, they are Professional Chef's knives. The percentage of professional chefs who own (>$250) expensive knives are higher than the percentage of home cooks who own expensive knives.

                                                                                      1. re: BiscuitBoy
                                                                                        srsone RE: BiscuitBoy Apr 11, 2011 08:04 AM

                                                                                        i agree with chem on this one...
                                                                                        talking to 2 "pros" isnt enough of a sample...

                                                                                        in my business tools dont make the tech either...
                                                                                        i have seen guys with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of tools..and then not know how to do an oil change..
                                                                                        and ive seen guys with 100 worth of tools rebuild engines...

                                                                                        but they are partly right a sharp knife is always good........

                                                                                        1. re: srsone
                                                                                          BiscuitBoy RE: srsone Apr 11, 2011 08:28 AM

                                                                                          always improving my sample pool...keep you all posted

                                                                                          1. re: BiscuitBoy
                                                                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: BiscuitBoy Apr 11, 2011 08:49 AM

                                                                                            Biscuit

                                                                                            You can only realistically increase your sample pool to a certain point and frankly you will never have the sufficient size. What you seem overlook or ignore is that expensive knives make up a very small market. Tracking the general cooks or general chefs purchase bahavior is a very ineffective approach.

                                                                                            Let me give you an example. I can confidently tell you that most particle physicsts works in the public sector, but let's say we don't know this. It is very inefficient and misleading to study particle physicsts employment by surveying the general public sector or the general private sector. Why? Because particle physicts make up a very small percentage of the total scientists. One will have to survey a thousand of scientists in the public sector before getting to see even one particle physicst, not unlike the expensive knife situtation. So unless your sampling pool is thousands and thousands of scientist in both sectors, you will never able to get to the true picture. The correct way to study this is to focus on the target and survey the particle physicsts, and ask where they work. By doing so, you will only have to ask about 30-50 particle physicsts and you will get a very good idea if most of them work for the private or the public sector.

                                                                                            Similarly, the correct way to find out the ">$250 knives market" is NOT to survey the general chefs or general cooks, but rather survey people who buy $250 knives. This is exactly why cowboyardee suggested that "First off, you're asking in the wrong place. Go pose this question at knifeforums/inthekitchen"

                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7580...

                                                                                            The correct way to find out where the $250 knives go to is to survey the people who buy the $250 knives, and NOT to survey the chefs or the cooks. To give you an extreme example. Let say you are not sure if Oprah lives in Chicago. Would it be more efficient to conduct a full blown city wide Chicago survey and pollster people on the streets of Chicago to see if any of them is Oprah? Or would it be more efficient to talk to Oprah and ask her the question?

                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                              BiscuitBoy RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2011 10:42 AM

                                                                                              "You can only realistically increase your sample pool to a certain point and frankly you will never have the sufficient size"

                                                                                              um, are we still talkin' about the same thing?!!! ;P

                                                                                              I see the point you're trying to make...and I have N O desire to ever talk to oprah

                                                                                              1. re: BiscuitBoy
                                                                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: BiscuitBoy Apr 11, 2011 11:00 AM

                                                                                                "um, are we still talkin' about the same thing?!!! ;P"

                                                                                                Assuming I understand your joke correctly. Very funny, I wasn't refering to that "thing." :P Ha ha.

                                                                                                "I have N O desire to ever talk to oprah"

                                                                                                Yeah, that was a bad example in hindsight. I thought about using Rachel Ray, but still probably a bad idea. What about Chairman Bernanke?

                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                  BiscuitBoy RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2011 11:07 AM

                                                                                                  rr, I'd talk to, but not sure I'd get a word in edgewise ( "edge" wise, see what I did there?!!!). Ben would be cool to talk to as well

                                                                                                  1. re: BiscuitBoy
                                                                                                    Chemicalkinetics RE: BiscuitBoy Apr 11, 2011 12:41 PM

                                                                                                    Recently I learnt that you dislike waterstone for knife sharpening, but I guess I have learnt another dislike of yours: O-prah. :)

                                                                                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                srsone RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2011 06:21 PM

                                                                                                i still want to know how string theory will explain everything

                                                                                                1. re: srsone
                                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: srsone Apr 11, 2011 06:30 PM

                                                                                                  :) I don't know string theory. I only know that it is an attempt to unify relativity and quantum mechanics. Unified currency will be fun.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                    srsone RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2011 07:14 PM

                                                                                                    but if we have unified currency will we have cosmic inflation?

                                                                                          2. re: BiscuitBoy
                                                                                            kaleokahu RE: BiscuitBoy Apr 11, 2011 08:57 PM

                                                                                            I'm with Chem on the logic and BB on the precept here.

                                                                                            The sample is small, but I think the incentive for pro chefs to just treat knives as means to their particular ends is greater than the high-end hobbyist cooks who invest heavily in the arcanery, price and lore. If you take *all* home cooks as a sample, I think there's probably no sense at all to be made, as Rules #1-3 will be price, convenience and what passes for looks.

                                                                                            I pose an(other) analogy with cars. I think it's certain that most professional race drivers do not wish they drove Ferraris or Lamborghinis or Aston-Martins, either on track or off. And of the sample who *do* own those marques, I bet there are fewer--percentagewise--than among the larger sample of amateur "car nuts" who can afford them.

                                                                                            BB also has a yet-unspoken rejoinder that if Shun and Henkels (and even Kramer-qua-Kramer) had chefs as their *only* market for their super-premium $$$ knives, they would no longer be making them.

                                                                                            Kaleo

                                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                              Chemicalkinetics RE: kaleokahu Apr 11, 2011 10:43 PM

                                                                                              kaleo,

                                                                                              Shun knives and Kramer knives are more gear toward household chefs. However, most Shun knives are lower than $250 and most Kramer knivesare way above that price point and have little impact in term of total sale, since Kramer makes very few knives in a year. Comparing these knives to Ferraris or Lamborghinis are not bad comparison as they are indeed geared toward household customer.

                                                                                              Now, if we start looking at knives of $250 and slightly above, you will see a lot of traditional Japanese knives like the Mizuno and Masamoto. Chefs do make up a good portion of the consumers for these knives.

                                                                                              http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/Miz...

                                                                                              http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/MAS...

                                                                                              It is rather common for a sushi chef to invest hundreds of dollars per knife. These Japanese knives are not like Ferraris or Lamborghinis. They may even look plain and simple to many, and they certainly lack the Damascus pattern, but they are what many Japanese chefs seek.

                                                                                              The history of Japanese influenced knives into US market is pretty well-documented I believe. It was driven by professional chefs. I think BiscuitBoy originally asked the questions along the line of "Those who cook professionally: is an ultra premium knife important to you, or is it just another tool you use everyday?" and there were a few professional cooks who have answered that question. Still, the most accurate information would be somewhere like the knifeforum with a more targeted audience.

                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                l
                                                                                                Leper RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 14, 2011 12:03 PM

                                                                                                You may want to note, a single Kramer knife just sold for $13,700.

                                                                                          3. m
                                                                                            malkazanie RE: BiscuitBoy Apr 11, 2011 09:33 AM

                                                                                            Hi folks, figured I'd ask in this thread as opposed to starting a new one. Inspired by much of the talk on these boards, I just received my Fuliwara FKM gyuto.

                                                                                            Sharpness out of the box is good, but not blowing me away - is it normal to immediately sharpen right when getting the knife? The handle and bolster are taking a bit of getting used to (I'm used to a 10-inch Wusthof) but I feel like I'm missing out on something. I do use pinch grip, and I just tested it out on an onion. Can you help me love my knife?

                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: malkazanie
                                                                                              scubadoo97 RE: malkazanie Apr 11, 2011 09:44 AM

                                                                                              It's not uncommon to sharpen right out of the box. There are different methods of holding the knife. The pinch grip is one of them. Take care with the lack of bolster. The heal on my J-knives is where I get most of my small cuts. The lack of a bolster also changes the weight distribution. The handle is a standard Western design but different than your Wusthof. Just use the knife and quickly it will seem like you've been using it for years. My German chef's knife feels like a boat anchor to me now. Heavy and clumsy.

                                                                                              1. re: malkazanie
                                                                                                cowboyardee RE: malkazanie Apr 11, 2011 09:53 AM

                                                                                                For one, don't be shy about starting a new thread, since that is a new topic.

                                                                                                For another, sharpening a new knife is pretty common - lots of us knife enthusiasts do it with all of our purchases. That said, the point is to improve an already decent edge, and we typically use fairly high grit stones to do it. If you;ve got the set up and the skill, this might help you start to love your new knife - a Fujiwara FKM should take a pretty decent edge. You may eventually even reprofile it to fit your needs, though right now that's getting ahead of ourselves.

                                                                                                If this is your first gyuto and you're used to German knives, it;s going to take you a while to fully appreciate what that profile can do for you. For one, a different cutting motion is often more effective with a gyuto - a push cut rather than a rocking motion (though there are still occasional uses for rock chopping). You'll find that it performs much better as a meat slicer than does a German chefs knife of similar length. Drawing cuts (pulling the blade back toward you) will be more efficient with a gyuto. You'll find that it cuts through hard foodstuffs with much less resistance. You also may find you like the increased edge retention.

                                                                                                For me as a home cook, it took maybe a couple weeks to get used to the gyuto shape, and then several months beyond that to really get decent at using one and taking advantage of its virtues. YMMV.

                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: cowboyardee Apr 11, 2011 10:04 AM

                                                                                                  "For me as a home cook, it took maybe a couple weeks to get used to the gyuto shape, and then several months beyond that to really get decent at using one and taking advantage of its virtues. YMMV."

                                                                                                  Yes, but I bet it didn take you long to like your first gyuto? I got my Tojiro gyuto based on yours and many others' suggestion. I took me awhile (weeks) to get comfortable with it, but I liked it within minutes maybe even seconds. I didn't have full control of it, but immediately I noticed how nice it cut and how light and nimble it felt.

                                                                                                  P.S.: Agree. This should be a new post.

                                                                                                2. re: malkazanie
                                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: malkazanie Apr 11, 2011 09:56 AM

                                                                                                  "Can you help me love my knife?"

                                                                                                  Knife or wife? Just kidding. I heard good things about Fujiwara FKM, but have never used one. For many people, it is quiet common to sharpen a new knife right out of the box. Still, the knife should cut when it is out of the box. Pinch grip is good.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                    malkazanie RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2011 10:07 AM

                                                                                                    Thanks for all of the input. No wife, I'm one of the few ladies out there who's getting into becoming a knife geek. :) I'm a culinary student with lots of real-life/home experience, so it's a lot of fun to get more intellectual about these tools. I'm going to certainly work with it some more before thinking about the return. I haven't picked up a stone yet, but I'm looking at the 800/6000 combo on chefknivestogo.com, where I got the gyuto - super quick shipping, for sure, and tons of information.

                                                                                                    (Also, I'm happy to have this be a new thread, but I don't know how to! :) )

                                                                                                    1. re: malkazanie
                                                                                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: malkazanie Apr 11, 2011 10:11 AM

                                                                                                      "I'm looking at the 800/6000 combo on chefknivestogo.com"

                                                                                                      I would suggest something a slightly different. Based on my experience, the 800-> 6000 is a pretty big jump. For me anyway. So I think if you can get hold of something close to 1000 and 3000, then it will be better. I would argue that a 3000 grit is pretty fine for most people. Alterantively, it may be easier to get two separate stones.

                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                        malkazanie RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2011 10:20 AM

                                                                                                        Good info to know. I found a couple of 1000/4000 stones on Amazon that look good:

                                                                                                        http://www.amazon.com/Togiharu-Two-si...

                                                                                                        http://www.amazon.com/Norton-24450-Ja...

                                                                                                        I can just tell this is going to become a slippery slope. :)

                                                                                                      2. re: malkazanie
                                                                                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: malkazanie Apr 11, 2011 10:19 AM

                                                                                                        Malkazaine,

                                                                                                        To start a new post, go to the cookware section like here:

                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/41

                                                                                                        Then press the "Add New Post" button (red color button), and it is pretty straightforward from here.

                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                          malkazanie RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2011 10:21 AM

                                                                                                          Will do - hope an admin will move all these helpful posts over there! Thanks!

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