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Chef vs kitchen knife

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am looking to finally get a decent knife (or two). I read everywhere that a chef's knife is the best choice, but I've never used one. Having cooked (at home) for 20 years, I don't know how difficult it would be to re-learn cutting. Would I be better off getting a utility knife, or should I get the chef's knife and just start learning now?

Does anyone remember how difficult it was to change habits with a new style of knife?

Btw, I am new here and this is my first post! I cook for my family and for friends, but have focused more on baking and learning to make artisan breads. I thought about getting a food processor, but I think a good knife would be a better investment.
post #2 of 17
Excellent knives can be had for only a little money in the Victorinox Forschner line. I own high end Henkels and Wusthofs, but I reach for the Forschner more often.

I prefer the finger clearance a chef's knife offers over a utility knife for chopping and mincing work.

There's not much to relearn as they're used in largely the same way. It's mostly a comfort and efficiency change.
post #3 of 17
For the first "decent" knife I would suggest either a chef's knife or a santuko, with first choice actually going to the chef's knife with a blade length in the 6.5-7.5 range.

Either way, best way to decide on a knife is to go to the store and actually try it out. Using a store-supplied cutting board handle the knife as if you were cutting, slicing, dicing, chopping, etc. That's the only way to determine if the fit and comfort are right for you.

There are design differences among producers, and the weight, length of blade, amount of rocker, and handle design can all determine the comfort level. And if the knife isn't comfortable, you're not going to use it.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

What is a santuko

and how is it different from a chef's knife?
post #5 of 17
Although not 100% accurate, the santuko has been described as a Japanese chef's knife. And that's close enough to make no never mind.

But the two are configured rather differently. Santuko's, as a rule, have thinner blades, have cullens (i.e., partial groves on the sides), have less rocker, are unpointed, and are more squarish than a chef's (technically, "French chef's") knife.

Any cutlery outlet will have models of both, and you can see and feel the differences there.

They're both used for essentially the same functions, so it becomes a choice of which is the most comfortable for you to use. The exception: If you're doing heavy-duty work, like breaking down your own meat, or using your knife in lieu of a food processor or meat grinder, the chef's knife might be a better choice. Don't assume that the thinner, lighter blade is better. While I love 'em, Friend Wife can't begin to use one safely, so sticks with a chef's knife.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 17

Knife talk

I have recently bought a Santuko style knife. I love the shape of it. It allows a free range of movements. The only things I don't do with it are peeling or pareing.
A good knife is a great investment and I haven't regretted spending a bit more and getting a high quality product.
Come visit me at therealisticcook.com for more info and suggestions.
Best of luck with your search for sure!
post #7 of 17
May I suggest a visit to jahenckels.com , click on the double man logo
then click on the media center, and that will bring you to a page that features video instruction of the different types of knives. The videos are pretty good and the sales pitch is tolerable. The reason I suggest this is that way you can decide for yourself based on what you want to do with a knife, what knives maybe best for you. Going to a retail outlet and actually holding and trying out the style and brands of knives is great if you know what you want to do with them.

Regarding the santuko vs cook's knife, another consideration is the surface area of the santuko is greater for a given size, that is, a 7 inch santuko blade has more surface area than a 7 inch cook's knife making it easier to scoop up your product to transfer it from the cutting board.
post #8 of 17
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by a 'utility knife'. However, if you're looking for something that you can use for prep work, mincing, slicing, dicing etc, then the chef's knife is probably going to be your best bet. That or a santoku.

Utility knife, to me, means something you'd use to cut the packaging off a piece of steak, or the string off of a bird. Aka more like scissors.
post #9 of 17
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by a 'utility knife'. However, if you're looking for something that you can use for prep work, mincing, slicing, dicing etc, then the chef's knife is probably going to be your best bet. That or a santoku.

Utility knife, to me, means something you'd use to cut the packaging off a piece of steak, or the string off of a bird. Aka more like scissors.
post #10 of 17
Bedeo, several makers offer models they call utility knives. Although designs vary, naturally, they seem to be general purpose knives that fall somewhere between paring knives and boning knives.

Are they practical? Having never used one I can't say. But those I've seen seem designed to be jacks of all trades trying to do the jobs other knives do better.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #11 of 17
Ah Yeah, that was what I had though was being referred to, but wasn't sure. In my opinion, since they're shaped more like a boning knife or a paring knife, there's no real rocker and little finger clearance, so definitely not so hot for prep that involves any mincing or dicing actions.
post #12 of 17
The only thing I've ever used a utility knife for is to open cardboard boxes or cut open onion bags.
post #13 of 17
aka scissors :D

That was my feeling about them too.

Naturalmom, I think if you're looking for a 'beginning set' of knives, the most common advice is that you should just pick up three things 1) A Chef's knife 2) A paring knife (no need for fancy curved blades, just a plain ole paring knife 3) a serrated knife (aka bread knife), I prefer scalloped serrations because they don't tear.

I think the forschner/victorinox Fibrox series has been mentioned previously. These got top reviews from Cooks Illustrated and a couple of other places, beating out the Wusthof and other knives that were far more expensive. I have one which I always use over my other, more expensive stuff. I know that you can pick up the 8" chef's knife from Victorinox for less than $40, while the paring knife generally runs for less than $10.
post #14 of 17
Santuko knives are a poor solution to a non existant problem. I find them useful for some tasks, but they in no way replace a good French chef knife.
post #15 of 17
Do yourself a favor and get a good knife. Go here and look at the 210mm Gyuto. 210mm = 8.3". A Gyuto is the Japanese version of a standard chef's knife except the blades are slightly thinner and much sharper. The steel used is far superior to 440A versions found in German, French, and Swiss knives. You will never be sorry.

Buzz
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
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Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
post #16 of 17
I like my Santoku. I have never really succeeded at the rocker motion with the chef knife. I have two chef knives-one 8" and one 6". I use the 6" for things the Santoku doesn't do well, but mostly I use the Santoku. I can slice through when I'm prepping things like onions and peppers without running into trouble. Since I am totally self-taught with no example except the Food Network, I just haven't learned the rocker motion. I would like to. Maybe someday.
I have an Asian cleaver (vegetable cleaver) that I use for things like shredding lettuce and cabbage. My husband hates big hunks of greens in anything and the cleaver does a great job. The regular cleaver--not much good to me.
Lately, I have added pitting Kalamata olives and mincing garlic to my 6" chef knife's uses.
más vale tarde que nunca
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más vale tarde que nunca
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post #17 of 17
I use the GF Series 16cm Chef's Knife GF-32 and 22cm Carving Knife GF-37from Global Knives. I would recommend them to anyone, professional or home cook.
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