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Dec 12, 2013 01:10 PM

Knife for girlfriend


So, I'm able to use some rewards points I've built up for a little Christmas shopping. I figured I would buy my girlfriend a nice knife, as she enjoys cooking (so do I, but we live apart for now).

My options are a little limited with the rewards, but I thought I would post here to get any advice. I was basically narrowing it down to a santoku or chef's knife. Also, I think I want it to be no bigger than a 5.5 or 6 inch knife. I fear anything bigger will get unwieldy. Though, I'm not set in stone on this.

A few options:

Wusthof Classic 6in Chef Knife

Henckels Zwilling Pro 5.5in Santoku Knife

Henckels Zwilling Pro 6in Wide Chef Knife

Morimoto by Henckels 8in Chef Knife (I only list this because it's discounted greatly. Thoughts on it? It's probably too big. But they also offer a 5.5in utility knife.)

Global 7in Vegetable Knife (Slightly intrigued. Could you use this for light proteins as well? Chicken, pork?)

So, those are a few choices. There are many more available, but I tried to limit to more highly regarded knives. What do you think? Or is there something else that would be better? I can look up any suggestions to see if they are available in the rewards.

Many thanks for any advice!

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  1. Hi, OC:

    I'd go with one of the latter two. Six inches would never satisfy her.


    2 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Size doesn't matter as much as how you wield your blade...

      1. re: JayL

        Hi, Jay:

        Ah, but size *and* skill... As the philosophers might put it, size may be a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition.


    2. Take her when you go shopping, so she can get a feel for the knife. If it doesn't fit her (or if she doesn't like it), she won't use it. Personally, I prefer an 8-inch chef's. My second favorite is a Chinese cleaver.

      1. Out of the knives listed, I would get the Morimoto. Be prepared for a lot more knife opinions to come.

        1. What kind of food does she like to cook? Does she take care of her kitchen utensils, or just throw them in the sink to wash later?

          I'd also suggest staying away from the smaller knives, as 8 - ~10 inches is really more ideal in a home kitchen.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Cynic2701

            She cooks a variety of things. Usually nothing overly complex unless we're cooking together. Salads, pastas with sauces, chicken or pork dishes, etc. Mostly chopping/preparing veggies, fruits, garlic, light proteins, and things like that.

            She takes care of her stuff, so that shouldn't be an issue.

            Even for everyday tasks, an 8 inch knife is preferable?

            1. re: OrchConductor

              I have both 6 and 8 inch chef knives. I will grab the smaller knife if I am chopping a few things on a small board, but I much prefer the bigger knife... And for cutting up a mess of greens, winter squash, etc I wouldn't consider the smaller knife.

              1. re: OrchConductor

                The 8 inch knife is more versatile than a smaller knife. I'M sure it would be the best choice, if the cutting board is not too small. You should buy her a new cutting board as well, but let her choose which one she likes.

                1. re: OrchConductor

                  <Even for everyday tasks, an 8 inch knife is preferable?>

                  Yes, for most people, but it really depends on the person.

                  1. re: OrchConductor

                    Like some of the other mentioned, 8+ inches is preferable even for a home cook. It's only when you start hitting 12+ inches that it may be a bit too large for the average home cook who won't be making food for large groups of people, and may not have the space necessary to wield a 12+ inch knife.

                    For the home cook, most of the bigger foods you come across (large squashes, lettuces) will be able to be cut in one slice with an 8+ inch knife.

                    The profiles of bigger knives (i.e. the longer curved profile) can lend to rock chopping if that is what you are looking for. There are also profiles that are flatter that lend more to push cutting. A nakiri (Japanese vegetable knife) has a very flat edge with only a little curve in it that makes mincing, dicing, and chopping very easy.

                2. Knife length is VERY personal. Most people prefer 8" knives, but some people prefer 10" and a smaller group of people prefers 6". There is some correlation to the person's body height and size of hand, but not always. Sometime, you can have a very tall man prefers a 6-7" knife.

                  Has she said anything about the knife size/length? Ask her. You really don't want to buy the wrong length. You can buy the best steel knife, but if the length is wrong, then it will be unsuitable. Ask her. It is easy to do, and it will save you a lot of troubles down the road.

                  Now, if this is a surprise, and you don't want to ruin the surprise, then ask her about her current knife. Just ask her something about her current knife and try to gauge if she likes the length of it.

                  If these 5 knives are your own choice, then I will probably go with Morimoto Miyabi for its high quality steel or Global for its nice thin blade.

                  Any Shun knives in your reward list? Shun knives are not bad. Not that Shun knives are better than Morimoto Miyabi or Global, but Shun knives are on par of these two.

                  One last thing. You need to subtract 1 inch for a Santoku. If a person prefer a 8" Chef knife, then he will likely prefer a 7" Santoku. If a person prefer a 6" Chef's knife, then he will likely prefer a 5" Santoku.....etc.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Hey Chem,

                    How does the Morimoto Miyabi compare to the Tojoro 8" DP @ 79.99 (no tax / free ship) ?

                    PS: That 4 inch Tojiro DP damascus paring knife arrived yesterday. Very sharp and should be very easy to sharpen compared to the Wusthof paring. Thanks!

                    1. re: Tom34

                      <How does the Morimoto Miyabi compare to the Tojoro 8" DP @ 79.99 (no tax / free ship) ? >

                      I have no personal experience with Morimoto Miyabi knives. I only have experience with the Henckels Miyabi Artisan, which is not the same line as Morimoto Miyabi.

                      What I can say about Miyabi Artisan is that it is a little thicker than Shun Classic. The Damascus is a bit more flashy than Shun's.


                      Back to Morimoto again, I can talk about its reputation (not my personal experience). Morimoto Miyabi has very good reputation. Part of the reason is that this series has some good knives. Another part of the reasons is that the previous Miyabi knives before Morimoto were not very good, so the collaboration with Chef Morimoto really helped Henckels.

                      Both Morimoto Miyabi and Tojiro DP use the same kind of steel. Some of Morimoto knives have Damascus pattern and some don't. For the ones with Damascus pattern, they have flashier pattern than Shun's pattern and definitely flashier than Tojiro DP (since Tojiro DP has no pattern at all). Miyabi also has nicer handle. Tojiro DP's handles are completely serviceable, but they are very plain.

                      I really don't think you can go wrong with either one.

                      If you want a slightly better looking and slightly more polished knife, then pick Morimoto Miyabi. If you want to save a few buck (~$20-25) toward your next knife or toward your next Playstation 4 system, then Tojiro DP is great.

                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      my two cents:
                      i like the hand feel of my Shuns much more than the hand feel of Global knives.
                      completely arbitrary, but the shun handle is "right" for me.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        I will say, and I think is fair to say, that Shun handle is more normal, and Global's handle is more unique. I am sure plenty people like Global's handle, but I also know plenty more people like Shun's handle better.

                        A few CHOWHOUNDERS helped me conducted a poll, as you can see, handle is an issue:


                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Thanks for the reply. This would be a surprise, so I haven't asked her what she may prefer. I don't really remember what she has currently (she lives in a different city), but it's not anything great.

                        One of my knives is a 6in Wusthof Black Ikon Chef Knife. I like it quite a bit, but I do wish it was slightly longer. Especially for cutting onions and things.

                        I do seem to be leaning toward the Morimoto. There weren't any Shuns on the reward list.

                        1. re: OrchConductor


                          Chance is that she will like a 8", but we just don't know that for sure. The problem is that some people are very particular about the knife length, while some people don't care too much. Just to give you an example, Rachel Ray loves Santoku. A main reason is that she does not like the additional length from a traditional Chef's knife. (Santoku knives are usually shorter).

                          The good thing is that you can probably return the knife if she does not like the knife.

                          Let me ask you this. Do you know if she likes to use push cutting or rock chopping?

                          Rock chopping is video chip like this from Norman Weinstein (you only need to watch 15 s or so):


                          Push cut is like this from SaltyDog, sometime with some forward or backward motion, but always up and down.


                          If your girlfriend prefers rock chopping, then you can remove the Global vegetable knife from your choice. The Global vegetable knife is best for push cutting not for rock chopping.

                          If you really don't know her preference, then I would say "go for the Morimoto". Here are two reasons why.

                          First, most likely you will like 8".
                          Second, if she happens to dislike 8", you will like it. You said that you thought the 6" Wusthof Blackwood Ikon is too short for you. So at least the 8" Morimoto won't be a waste. Later, you can always get her a shorter knife. I know. It is not ideal, but given that you don't know her preference, this is probably the best path forward.

                          If you are to get her an 6" inch and then she dislikes it, then neither you two will like this knife, which makes the situation tricky if you cannot return the knife.

                          I guess that I have painted all the goods and bads. :) Sorry for being too upfront, but I thought it is better that you find out now, than later. Good luck.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Thanks for the helpful advice, Chem. It seems like the Morimoto is the best choice without asking her and ruining the surprise. I'm not exactly sure what knife technique she uses. I suppose I could just tell her I want to get her a knife too.

                            The Morimoto seems like a knife I would enjoy, so you're correct on that front!

                            1. re: OrchConductor

                              :) I just realized that I had a typo in my previous reply, an important typo too.

                              "First, most likely you will like 8"."
                              should really be
                              "First, most likely SHE will like 8"."
                              I really meant to say that she will probably like the 8". If not, then at least you will like the 8" Morimoto knife.
                              Whereas, if you get the 6" knife, you may end up in a situation that no one likes the knife.

                              Sorry for any confusion.