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Knife gift for professional cook

I'm looking to get a going away present for a friend of mine who is a professional cook. I'm the one moving away, actually. But he's a good friend who's done a lot for me, so I want to get him something before I go. Preferably something he could use at work.

About him:

- Right handed
- Already has Tojiro DP gyuto, carbon steel nakiri, CCK cleaver, Western slicer and paring knife (both Henckels), assorted junk knives and cheap, serrated whatnots.
- Big dude, big hands
- So far, I've been sharpening his knives for him, but he has a stone and I've given him lessons, so he'll be sharpening for himself once I've moved. A knife that's relatively easy to sharpen would be a plus.
- Works at a fairly nice restaurant with an open kitchen, so a decent looking knife is a plus.
- Can use both wa and western handles. Not super picky about handles. Uses pinch grip, IIRC.
- Seems to prefer stainless for work, keeps the carbon steel at home usually

He doesn't do much boning or heavy meat prep, even at work, so I'd lean away from a boning knife or a heavy cleaver. I'm currently leaning towards a stainless petty, about 150 mm in length. Perhaps the Masamoto VG series. But I'm open to other suggestions, both different brands and different types. I'd like to keep it under $150.

So my questions:
- Have you guys seen or tried anything recently that you've really liked and think would make a good gift? I haven't been paying much attention to the newest arrivals to the market.
- Do the pro cook/knife nuts here have any new toys that they found super useful at work?
- Does Eiron have his own line of knives on the market yet? ;)
- Anyone have any first hand experience with the Masamoto petty?

Also - how's it going, guys (and gals)?

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  1. Knives are soooo personal .....

    Tough thing to choose for anyone much less a professional chef.

    1 Reply
    1. re: C. Hamster

      The tojiro and CCK cleaver were knives I bought him. They're his go-to knives.

    2. 'Do the pro cook/knife nuts here have any new toys that they found super useful at work?'

      you are the ultimate knife nut, before l read who started the thread l was going yo recommend they read your posts and chemicalkinetics.

      OTOH find l am reaching for my Dexter-Russel 1376 or the one with the protecting bolster more than all others together. Ralph1376 on eBay generally has some of them available.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        Hey DCM, good to hear from you.

        I've been out of the loop for a bit, so figured there were maybe a few new releases that were getting some love among the knife lovers. Also, this was a convenient way for me to say hi again, and start up a conversation.

        I like DR as western knives go. Good value. Any particular reason though for your preference for this one above all others?

        I'm leaning towards a knife with similar function, but more of a heel to make it a bit easier to use on a board. And maybe a bit flashier too (no offense), since he'd probably be using it as a kind of plating and quick-prep knife right on the other side of the bar from his customers (not to mention that he is considering a job in a swanky Japanese place).

        1. re: cowboyardee

          "I'm leaning towards a knife with similar function, but more of a heel to make it a bit easier to use on a board. And maybe a bit flashier too (no offense), since he'd probably be using it as a kind of plating and quick-prep knife right on the other side of the bar from his customers (not to mention that he is considering a job in a swanky Japanese place)."

          With this in mind, I really like my Shun 150mm petit (6" utility).
          http://www.cutleryandmore.com/shun-cl...
          It's certainly 'flashy' enough (the faux Damascus will catch the eye of his customers), has the Shun "D" handle (also eye-catching), & is a distinct departure from his other eqpt. The only drawback is that it's VG-10, which will make it less easy to sharpen. But once it's sharp, look out! This is the knife which prompted my wife to announce that our knives were TOO sharp! :-D

          I'm sending my first few knives off to the heat treater today! Yay!! As before, it's taken longer to get to this point than I expected, & there's still a lot to do while the knives are being hardened (build a buffer, build my own mosaic pins, cut & stabilize the handle scales, etc, etc...) I'll have a 150mm petit in the mix, but I intended for these first knives to be passed around for feedback. Oh, & all of my handles are western, as that's what I like. :-)
          (Not to say that'll always be the case, of course...) ;-)

          1. re: Eiron

            As shun classics go, I kinda dig that one. Hopefully he doesn't have too much trouble sharpening VG 10 once I'm gone, since his main is the Tojiro.

            Nice on the heat treatment - that's a big step. Gonna do any more grinding once they come back (besides grinding in the edge of course)? Last I'd heard you weren't sure if you were gonna do double convex or scandinavian grind.

            "Oh, & all of my handles are western, as that's what I like."
            ________
            I'd bet good money that if you keep making knives, you're gonna find yourself making a wa handle at some point or another. And it'll be gorgeous.

      2. <I'm looking to get a going away present for a friend of mine who is a professional cook. I'm the one moving away,>

        Interesting going away present. :)

        <Have you guys seen or tried anything recently that you've really liked and think would make a good gift?>

        Hmm, no not really. You are probably as "current" as I am.

        <Does Eiron have his own line of knives on the market yet? ;)>

        I think he does not. At least not to us. :P He is only selling his first knives to relatives and close friends. The rest of us have to get in some lottery -- you know, like another famous knife maker. (P.S.: It is a joke for those who are not sure what is going on).

        <Anyone have any first hand experience with the Masamoto petty?>

        No.

        I think your choice of petty is a really good one especially he does not have one. Another option is to get him another Chef's knife/gyuto. How many gyutos does he have? It is always nice to have two. This gives him more breathing room in term of knife sharpening schedule.

        Now, alternatively, you can always get him a sharpening stone instead. Of course, this depends how many stones he has already.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Hey chem.

          The problem with getting a chefs knife/gyuto for him mainly just comes down to budget. He has the 240 tojiro DP and likes it a lot, and I'm just not sure if I can find another chefs knife in my budget range that would offer him any significant advantages over that knife. Getting him another similar one (perhaps the carbonext?) would certainly let him sharpen less often... but it just seems like I should be able to find him something a little more exciting, ya know?

          1. re: cowboyardee

            As mentioned, I think a higher grit stone is a good idea. Afterall, the highest grit stone he has is a 1000 grit size. A 3000-4000 grit stone will be nice. A flattening stone (like DMT) is also good too -- especially if he does not have one.

            You said that you friend loves CCK Chinese slicer, but only keep it at home because it is carbon. Well, obviously (easier to say than done) it would be nice to get him a stainless steel CCK -- which I have no idea where you can get one. I have seen them in Vancouver and Toronto, and I am very sure you can find one in NY Chinatown. Problem is that I have no idea where exactly to get one. However, if you can get one, then I think it will be the perfect knife gift for him, and it will be like $40-50 only.

            This brings us back to your original point. A high quality petty or a paring knife will serve him well. A konosuke HD or HD2 petty will be nice. Thin, sharpened like a carbon, but stain resistance like stainless. HD2 is also relatively new compared to other knives we have discussed, so there is level of novelty.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I have seen the cck Chinese slicer in china town in vancouver because I live 20 block from there, and only for $35.

              @ chem, my FUJIWARA FKH Series (High Carbon Steel) petty has not impress me so far. It is a very low quality carbon steel, on my first use it stained the blade and won't clean off. I should have put another $30 in and bought something with a bit more quality. I will post more of an update as time goes by on this knife.

              1. re: ukjason

                <my FUJIWARA FKH Series (High Carbon Steel) petty has not impress me so far>

                I thought you were impressed by the FKH :)

                <It is a very low quality carbon steel, on my first use it stained the blade and won't clean off.>

                Now, just because the steel blade get oxidized or rusted, it does not mean it is not a high quality steel. In Japanese cutlery, the white paper steel and the blue paper steel are most prized among Japanese chefs, especially sushi chefs. I have had two white paper steel knives. They get easily stained. White carbon steel knives can be very high maintenance.

                For many carbon steel knives, you have to accept that stains are unavoidable and often beneficial. What is desirable is to have a layer of so called "patina", this limits/prevents rust which is undesirable. Here are a few photos of knives with patina, and how their owners are so proud of them:

                http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/84...

                http://home.comcast.net/~urchinscrewb...

                http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc...

                Now, I am not saying that the FKM series knives are high quality steel. I don't know. However, I won't judge the quality of the steel because of its ease-of-stain.

                On the other hand, there is no reason why you have to like carbon steel knives. Afterall, many people prefer stainless steel.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Hi Chem. My whites are single bevels, and prefer to them unpatina'd. I've been maintaining them by just scrubing with baking powder after each use...like sushi chefs do. They are slowly turning light grey and easier to maintain.

                  1. re: JavaBean

                    <Hi Chem. My whites are single bevels, and prefer to them unpatina'd. I've been maintaining them by just scrubing with baking powder after each use...like sushi chefs do. >

                    You are correct. My mistake. I should be more clear. While white steel easily stains and rusts, there is a way to maintain it shiny.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      No worries, I just wanted to point out the baking powder method as an alternative for those not liking a patina.

                      1. re: JavaBean

                        This is a very good information for everyone. I have never used this method, but I have heard about it so much. Here is a video Nobu Matsuhisa used a daikon with some "oxygen bleach" to clean the knife. See at 4:00 min

                        http://www.marthastewart.com/914242/n...

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Can't believe I just watch a Martha steward video. But good info

                2. re: ukjason

                  The best knife in my arsenal is an old carbon blade butcher's knife. The blade is completely brown (not rusted, but a solid patina). It is easy to sharpen and gets scary sharp.

                  Like Japanese knives you must wipe it dry immediately after getting it wet or the blade edge will rust. Sometimes I even spread a drop of oil over it just because I want it to know I love it. LoL

                  1. re: ukjason

                    Nothing fancy...certainly not high quality...but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

                     
                    1. re: ukjason

                      The fujiwara fkm uses  (sk-4/sk-5) carbon steel that is reported to be very reactive, prone to rust, staining, smells bad, etc., but will eventually become less problematic with a solid patina. 

                      If i can't get or wait for a natural patina to build up, I'll force one ... scrub with BKF, degrease,  soak in warm vinegar for @ 15m,  rinse with boiling hot water.  repeat the soak and rinse part several times. 

              2. "- So far, I've been sharpening his knives for him, but he has a stone and I've given him lessons, so he'll be sharpening for himself once I've moved. "

                Best thing would be to equip him with a full on stone setup stones, holder, pond, flattener etc. Whatever he gets he can sharpen.

                Jim

                1 Reply
                1. re: knifesavers

                  That's not a bad idea. What he has right now is a 220/1000 grit double sided stone that I've left at his place.

                  Here's the thing - thinking about it now, I'm a bit torn between getting him a full set up and just trying not to over complicate things for him. I've shown him from start to end how to get a good edge using the stone he has (including newspaper stropping and flattening the stone with drywall screen on a flat surface), and he's sharpened a couple knives reasonably well with my instruction... but not on his own yet. A higher grit stone, flattener, or strop would still be great additions, but I couldn't say with any certainty that he would use them, while I feel very confident that he would use a new knife (assuming I choose well).

                2. Clearly your heart is in the right place but I'd never give a professional of any sort a tool of the trade. Hell, I wouldn't give my 15 handicap husband a golf club :) Just my two cents.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: c oliver

                    I understand why buying a professional cook a knife is often considered a bad idea. I do.

                    In this particular case, my friend and I go back quite a while... in the kitchen (he started cooking professionally because a chef was impressed with the amateur cooking competitions he and I put together). I've bought him cookware several times in the past, as well as buying most of the knives he currently uses.

                    I appreciate the standard advice. But with all due respect, I'm going to buy him some cookware - probably a knife. The question isn't whether to, but which one.

                  2. Knives are very personal, from the way they look to the way they cut and the way they fit the hand. People who are into cooking often have near-religious feelings about them. You might be better off giving a gift certificate and urging your friend to use it on the knife of his/her dreams.

                    1. If you reach the point where a knife is too personal, there are awesome knife rolls, fold-ups,or 'suitcases' that l would love to have for my 300+ knives, well some of them.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        THREE HUNDRED KNIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holey moley :)

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          I'd love to hear more about your collection. What are some of your favorite users, most prized possessions, diamonds in the rough, best score, etc.?

                          1. re: JavaBean

                            Half are kitchen knives, others are art folders. Have been using Dexter rosewood handles knives for decades and even with a plethora of Japanese knives purchased when l lived there for a while, other than fish use the Dexter carbon steels.
                            Most prized possessions are @ 40 Laguiole with ivory handles, all plein manche, all except 3 carbon steel, many from 19th Century.

                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Don't let the secret out about those old rosewood carbon steel Dexters. ;)

                              I have a 10" chef that keeps me from needing some $$$$$$ Japanese "laser".

                              Had a 10" cimeter with an ungodly edge that I sold to a meat cutter.

                              Jim

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                Thanks for sharing. Personally, I did the pocket knives thing for a little while, just to play with different blade steel and locking mechanisms. Unfortunately, I kept loosing and breaking them and now only get ones that I won't fret over loosing or abusing.

                                I'm currently addicted to Japanese carbons, but also have a thing for old western carbons. I've been working on restoring several j knives and have a couple of German - Emil Gustav on my to do list.

                                Are the rosewood handle dexters better or different than the oak? handle ones?

                          2. A Hiromoto Tenmi-Jyuraku Aogami Super Series gyuto it's one sick ask knife, and it looks bad ass. You can get a 240mm for about $160

                            http://japanesechefsknife.com/TenmiJy...

                            I have the santuko in this line

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: ukjason

                              Was it a santoku you got? I thought it was a gyuto. Good for you, either way.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I have a carbon next gyuto and a santoku AS, I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm so impressed with my santoku AS I would believe the gyuto AS would be no lesser quality

                                1. re: ukjason

                                  Hey jason.

                                  You are correct - the hiromoto AS gyuto is excellent quality - I have one - 240 mm. Matter of fact, I've lent it to my friend and he took it to work for a week.

                                  I'd consider the hiromoto petty. But even though the hiromoto is easy to care for compared to other carbon knives, I think he'd prefer stainless for work. He really likes the CCK cleaver and his nakiri, but they stay home for the most part, because they're carbon.

                                  Also of note - the hiromoto has cut everyone who's used it. Lopped off one of my fingertips; my buddy bumped his hand into its business end after putting it down at work; even a pair of my wife's friends both cut themselves with it on the same day while helping out in the kitchen. Nothing at all wrong with the blade - but it might be cursed. You know the dark patina where the edge meets the cladding? I refer to that as 'the blood of its enemies.'

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    Wow so many battle wound from the AS, is this knife brand cursed to cut the user lol

                                    "Matter of fact, I've lent it to my friend and he took it to work for a week."

                                    Did he like it and what was his feed back of this human flesh cutting blade?

                                    1. re: ukjason

                                      <is this knife brand cursed to cut the user lol>

                                      We should call it like "The Blood Seeker" or "The Cursed Blade" or "The Chaotic Demon" :)

                            2. Hi, cowboy:

                              I'll venture off the reservation here. If he's PC, he probably already knows what he wants... I say finesse his knife desire out of him(or have his SO do it).

                              Another idea: What about a decent bench microscope or set of loupes for him to judge his sharpening? For very short green you can get a 100x electronic loupe/microscope that plugs right into your 4G phone.

                              Aloha,
                              Kaleo

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                " For very short green you can get a 100x electronic loupe/microscope that plugs right into your 4G phone."

                                For Android? Don't tease, got a link? ;)

                                Jim

                                1. re: knifesavers

                                  Hi, Jim:

                                  I saw a bunch listed on eBay. Just search "100x loupes". I'm not sure about seeing one specifically for Android, but there were models for Samsung and iPhone. Worth a closer look. [Rimshot]

                                  Aloha,
                                  Kaleo

                                2. re: kaleokahu

                                  Aloha, Kaleo

                                  That's sort of a cool idea, and might help him learn faster. Also, I bet he'd find some other cool uses for it as well.

                                3. I tried to give a knife to a professional chef friend and he emailed me this.
                                  Knife superstitions
                                  In some places it is traditionally believed that the giving of a knife as a gift to a friend will cut or sever the relationship. To avoid such ill luck, the receiver should give a coin in return so as to "pay" for the gift. It is common to include a penny, often taped to the blade, with a knife given as a gift which the receiver is to return as "payment".

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: wolfe

                                    That's the way I was taught growing up, too. Always with a coin...

                                  2. Hey Cowboy! Some nice suggestions on here.
                                    If your buddy prefers stainless for work(as I do),I'm gonna plug the 150mm Kono SS petty.I think you can find one on CKTG for around $150.00.Sweet little knife.

                                     
                                    1. <...a plating or quick prep knife>

                                      A 150mm petty or 210mm petty/Sujihiki.  Both are good at doing small amounts of prep tasks.  For plating, I think pros that do last minute detail cuts use a 150mm, whereas those that need to slice a piece of meat & don't have the space to use a longer Sujihiki, use a 210mm petty/ Sujihiki like the Hiromoto Ginsanko. 

                                      As a homecook, I got one ( different brand) several months ago and find it very useful for times when a 240mm Gyuto is overkill.

                                      1. Here's some nice looking Japanese knives from a shop in Calgary.

                                        http://www.knifewear.com/knives-for-s...