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knives for the prof kit

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I worked in a kitchen where there was a knive service once a week. This sounds great but two days into the week the knives were really dull. The cooks always complained, and at one time some who could afford, brought their own to use. Alot of nervousness gererated because of theft. Because I carried my own knives, I didnt care. I believe that they were purchased by the kitchen. I understand why they were so bad, NO ONE took care of anything in that kitchen, Now I have to make the decision as to what to do about Knives in a kitchen Im responsible for. I Read the commet Chef Hogan used about good knives in his kitchen.

Question is : How many kitchens require cooks to own/bring their own knives and what do u do about the dishwashers who prep? Also what do you do about the stealing of cooks good knives. I believe you should fire them ! That may not be so practical. There is a funny side of this story but I'll bore u at a later date.
post #2 of 6
Knives are like any other valuable tool...You don't turn your back on them. If you have sentimental faves, leave them home. DH always got pissed if someone used his knives in any professional kitchen. People don't treat your knives the way you treat your knives. Bring the essentials for every day and special knives for days you know you need them.

Everyone taking care of their own knives is the best rule as far as I'm concerned. Knife edges keep well if you sharpen them regularly with a diamond steel, finish with a round steel. If you use a stone, great. Once a year a professional sharpening is recommended but I don't know that I'd let someone take my knives out of a restaurant to sharpen them. Too much risk.

Any line cook or prep cook worth his or her salt will have their own knives and keep them correctly.
Food is sex for the stomach.
Food is sex for the stomach.
post #3 of 6
Unfortunately, more and more places are getting away from having the cooks supply their own knives, which I think is very sad. The knives that most restaurants supply are pretty crappy. They go dull way too quickly and you can never get a really sharp edge on them anyway.

As for places where we did have to bring our own knives, theft was a very minor problem. Most people seemed to respect that we had all gone out and spent hard earned money for our knives, and you just didn't steal someone elses. Of the mere handful of times that knives were supposedly stolen, about 75% of those were merely a case of a missed placed knife or someone borrowing a knife and forgetting to return it until a day later. The biggest issue was someone "accidentally" grabbing someone else's knife when they had to do "rough" jobs, such as breaking down carcasses, busting open pails, cutting up boxes, etc.

Dishwashers were mostly allowed to borrow our knives. Newbies quickly learned to show respect for the knives or they got stuck peeling or dicing with the 1 chewed up paring knife and the 1 super dull chef's knife that chef kept around.
post #4 of 6
I'm used to everyone bringing his or her own knives in restaurants, even the prep people. As long as the place provides a stone and a steel, that works fine. We always marked them somehow (tape or paint), so it was easy enough to find yours when they "walked." Although when I worked on an opening -- all new staff, no one knew each other -- fairly early on some of mine disappeared into a box of bananas. And the one guy who was always borrowing stuff from everyone and "forgetting" to return it never made it to opening day.

But I agree with Pete: when you know each other, you don't have to worry much about theft.

At the manufacturing plant, "knives" (such as they were) were provided. When I got there, the knives and buffalo chopper blades were sent out to be done (badly :mad: ). And there was an electric grinder from Sears that someone who knew nothing about knives had bought to use for "sharpening" the knives in between. I stopped the service, threw out the grinder, and got us a decent stone and steel. Unfortunately, none of the cooking staff ever learned to sharpen the knives, so that was another of my tasks. But at least we always had sharp knives. (I still brought my own, anyway.)
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #5 of 6

Knife Care

I was fortunate and bought a set of Wusthof Gran Prix knives for a seriously reduced price. Upon getting these gems, I found that what was said previously about only you will care for your knives the way they should be is true. I found myself fishing my parer, and various other knives from the 7 I have out of the dishwasher, or out of the sink of dirty dishes.
To me it was the equivalent of finding the dog digging in the rose bushes, or something similar. I was simply apalled at what I saw, and nearly fell over in a heap on the floor. That's actually a bit extreme, but I was not happy to say the least. I'm not a chef as yet, but I think once I do, I will have to leave my babies at the house for fear of them getting lost or damaged. Those are some scary stories though about what can happen to good knives. I can't imagine someone using a good knife to open a box, or a pale. That should be punishable with a week in the dishes or a full day of dicing onions....

post #6 of 6
I know this isn't really a professional kitchen but we too at school have to supply our own knives for obvious reasons. But to signify that a knife belongs to someone would be to make a unique marking on it. Whenever something goes missing, chef would stop the class, instruct everyone to pull open their tool box, then individually search through every class mates tool box. Because of this and my markings, I've never lost a single iteam in class. The tools I don't tag are things that no one else in class has like a kitchen tourch, a wire strainer, a kitchen wrasp, etc. and chef is fully aware of who has the extra toys.
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