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Dec 28, 2012 07:56 AM

What is the best Chef Knife for the Professional?

So this thread is designed to act as a knife buying-guide for professional Chefs and line cooks. Those of us who have worked in kitchens at a professional level know that most restaurants provide their workers with knives - usually a brand like Forschner - that are maintained by the kitchen, and every now and then, are shipped out to a professional sharpener. But what about the cook or Chef who wants to use his own knife at work? So we're not talking about home knives; you know, the kind that look good hanging from the wall. We're talking about the arm-extension - the knife that will be held for hours a day, the 'prep horse,' the knife we use for both tartare de boeuf and opening a plastic bag; the knife that sits beside us even during dinner service, in case of emergency.

With that being said, you can spend 9 bucks or 900 bucks. Personally, I'll narrow the gap to $50-$250. Let's get a discussion going that sorts through the pros and cons of all the popular makes and models. Remember, we're talking about the commercial kitchen, and we're talking about ONE knife. Let's hear it!

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  1. ok. Maybe if I throw some bait out there it'll get things started. Here are some models I'm thinkin of:

    -Wusthof Ikon
    -Henckels twin
    -Shun Premier
    -Shun Classic
    -Mac Mighty (Chef Pro series)
    -Mac Chef knife (with dimples)
    -Global G-2
    -Global cooks knife (heavy duty)

    any others i might be missing?...

    2 Replies
    1. re: djdarroch

      shun's ken onion designs are supposed to be good for arthritic hands.

      1. re: djdarroch

        Messermeister Meridian. I love my expensive knives, but when I need to go fast and not worry about what I'm doing to my knife, I go to my Messermeister.

      2. If you're a chef or cook and want to use your own knives in order to get away from the supplied Dexters & Forschners, look for Japanese steal. Many professional cooks are more than happy using a good quality gyuto at work in place of European chefs knives.

        And no I'm not talking about the stuff you get from Shun or Global. Look for a real hand made gyuto. Length is your choice, but a 240mm gyuto seems to be the most popular.

        5 Replies
        1. re: JayL

          Why do you want to steal from Japan? :D

            1. re: djdarroch

              I cannot really say because I am not a professional chef, so I won't want to presume too much. But if I am a Chef, I would probably use a knife like CCK Chinese Chef's knife if I work in a Chinese kitchen, or a Tojiro DP gyuto if I work in a Western kitchen.

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

              HA! I'd love to claim 'autocorrect', but I can't.

            3. re: JayL

              Thanks. I had a feeling that Shun and Global were too commercial. What about MAC Chef knives though? They've been recommended to be me also by pros.

            4. Who do you want to answer, and what's your point?

              1. Yes, what's your point? I'm a professional chef and I can't grasp your question. It seems a bit non-nonsensical. Are you looking for advice for you? If you worked in a kitchen, you should know this is relative. For example, I like a chef's knife with dimples to unstick veggies like cucumbers, zucchini and such. Someone who mostly fabricates meat would not really care about that but care about weight and hand feel, provided we are only dealing with good reputable knives. Bottom line, it's subjective to the user as you, yourself should know.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Meltemi

                  My question is "what knife makes are most appropriate in a commercial kitchen?"; but my point is to hear the pros and cons of the various popular makes, seeing as I have NOT physically tried all of them. Of course I know it is subjective, however, in order for the subject to be understood, it needs to be grasped (literally). Basically, I'm trying to test drive as many knives as possible without leaving my house (there's quite a blizzard outside).

                  1. re: djdarroch

                    Nu. Okay, what is important to you?
                    If it is "don't need to sharpen all the time" you might want to look at Shun's high end steel.
                    If it is "can be used to cut through bone" then you want a cleaver.
                    If it is "can be safely used near bone, occasionally grazing such" I'd recommend German steel.

                2. Why not ask a less debatable question like does chili have beans or not. ;)

                  Everyone is different and every situation is as well.

                  Germans, Dexters, and Forschners take lots of abuse and are easily fixed.

                  Japanese are remarkable cutters but cannot take the same amount of abuse without damage or be as easily fixed as Germans.

                  There is no perfect knife for everything.


                  High end stuff is more attractive to thievery.