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A Knife Question

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I was just watching Alton Brown (who I find particularly overbearing and somewhat annoying) doing a special on sushi. The show said in Japan its not uncommon for a sushi knife to cost $5,000. Whats the difference in a $100 knife and a $5,000 knife?
post #2 of 8
$4,900 :D Sorry, I had to do that!
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My latest musical venture!
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Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #3 of 8
Knives that expensive are almost always hand-forged and customized for the customer. Usually with lots of etchings or carvings on the blade and steel. You can find plenty of knife makers all over the world with knives that expensive. From a working standpoint, I don't know that they are that much better than the highest end massed produced knives, but from a personal standpoint, it's the prestige of being able to own and use a custom made knife by "so-and-so".
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #4 of 8
Aren't the top sushi knives manufactured with the same intensive, handmade method as was used for samurai swords? If so, it requires a highly skilled technician- artist, really- to create the perfect blades.

I saw the same episode last night. He also used Shun knives. As for the overbearing and annoying part.... I supposed he could be seen that way. He isn't meant to be taken so seriously, at least so far as his style is concerned. That said, I think he really knows his stuff.
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post #5 of 8

Alton Brown

he might seem the over-bearing part to the people who already know or cook a particular dish (or ingredient) and know the ins and outs.

for a converted non-veg person, his insight and hand-holding (or is it spoon-feeding) is very helpful.

also other chefs make it look easy and it can be intimidating if one doesn't know how to boil water.

though he might be wrong at times but his detail oriented fun loving approach is very helpful in learning new things.
post #6 of 8

What??!!!

I had to post a reply because I am a huge Alton Brown fan. Good Eats is without a doubt my favorite cooking show, not to mention my favorite television show, period. Some people might not appreciate his humor, which is fine, but I think his show is very original and informative. No other cooking show I've ever seen goes as in depth on a particular ingredient or dish as Alton Brown does. I suppose if you are already very experienced in the dish you may disagree with some of his ideas and find them overbearing, but as an amateur cook I really appreciate his instruction.

Sorry for the rant, but I'm a huge fan. Also sorry that my post doesn't answer your knife question.
post #7 of 8

that's some knife!!

i don't know it there are plenty of knife makers all over the world who can make a knife that is worth $5,000 ..... maybe CHARGE $5,000, but not worth
$5,000!!
something like japanese blue steel is much more complex and harder to work with than german high carbon stainless. and with the beating and folding of up to 256 layers on a single knife, and any mistake can ruin the blade, there is a lot of workmanship needed to create such a blade. when done properly, however, you get a knife that is harder, sharper, and cuts waaaaay cleaner than any mass production knife. it is one of those "you have to know about it to tell the difference" type things. i saw on tv a show about biro (some kind of famous chef, i guess) who wanted to throw a sushi/sashimi party at his restaurant and it followed him around as he bought the products and prepared them for this "once in a lifetime" meal. i suppose the diners were impressed with the cut fish but i was horrified!! the wusthof knives he was using simply BUTCHERED the fish, not a neat, clean, shimmering slice of fish to be seen!!
to put it in perspective, there is a greater performance difference between a $5.000 japanese knife vs. a $100 japanese knife (mostly on how sharp you can get the edge and how long it stays sharp) than there is between a $25,000 rolex and a $20 timex digital watch (both tell exactly the same time).
post #8 of 8

Knives

I'm with hipjoint. And I love good knives.

The difference between the $100 knife and $4900 knife is that the $4900 knife cuts 49 times better.

No really. The really expensive japanese carbon steel knives are repeatedly tempered (locking iron into a well organized carbon lattice) of expensive pure carbon steel. This means the knife maker spends weeks swinging a big hammer at a really hot piece of very expensive metal. Your not only paying for the metal and the hammer swinging, but for an implement that is sharp at the atomic level. If I had to spend my days cutting delicate pieces of fish, and my livelihood depended on how precisely I can do it, I think I'd buy one. But..

I can't afford one and I cut cheese more than fish. So the next best thing I have found is the Sabatier Carbon. It's high quality carbon steel, can be made extraordinarily sharp, and costs less than a hundred bucks. It also rusts so keep it dry. I also have an old Grand Prix I inherited from my father. They just aren't well suited for the casual cook because of the rusting thing. I will say that after I tried a rusty knife, I won't go back to stainless.

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