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My first decent chef's knife.

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Wuddup everybody, I am on the market for my first, nice chef's knife. In another thread someone said a Sabatier. I actually already have one, 8" Sabatier Elite, but I got it at Big Lots for all of 8 dollars. I like the feel of the handle but it's just not a very good knife. Maybe it just needs to be professionally sharpened? Who know's...
Anyway, I was wondering what you guys got as your first decent knife. I know there is a "best" knife, I am just looking for something in the $90
-$110 range that will last me throughout my culinary school career.

Many thanks ahead of time!

post #2 of 32
If handled properly, a good knife will last you your entire career. Wustoff and forschner make good knives in a lot of different grades and price levels. Even average quality knives will work well if sharpened properly. You just might have to sharpen more often. The knife itself is less important than the operator if you know what I mean.
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It's Good To Be The King!
post #3 of 32
First of all, Sabatier doesn't exist anymore. Nobody owns the rights to the name, so anyone can make a horrible knife and call it a sabatier. Second of all, look into japanese knives. As you get more into really honing your knife skills, you'll want an edge that can last at least half the day. You won't get that from a german. Check out these websites:

JapaneseChefsKnife.Com Top Page

Global Knives,Wusthof Knives,Henckels Knives,Ceramic Knives,Kitchen Knives,Shun Knives,Steak Knives
post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 
thanks guys!

post #5 of 32
just make sure you get a good knife that fits your hand, dont get somthing that youll be uncomphrable with.
post #6 of 32
I was wondering why i have seen sabatier in stores for like 20 bucks, is there a way to know if its one made in france or not?
post #7 of 32
The original company doesn't make them anymore as far as I know. You can get used and/or close to new ones on ebay, but they go for almost the same as a decent japanese knife.
post #8 of 32

check out

Check out CCI Superior Culinary Master knives. There affordable and use high carbon surgical steel.
post #9 of 32
These are the knifes i recieved at culinary school, Are you affailated with the company Somehow?

there are much better knives than these out there, there pretty heavy have a pretty thick spine. Also there a pain in the but to shapen and will dull out quickly. Since i have bought almost all new knives since culinary school i gave my school knifes to my girlfriend. I shapened it before i gave it too her, after one week of having it it was dull and im sure it wasnt put to heavy use. Trust me when i say there are LOTS of better knives out there.
post #10 of 32
I am, sorry to read that you were not happy with what the "school" selected. Perhaps contacting the company that made them and letting them know your complaint a resolution could have been worked out that would have pleased you.
post #11 of 32
Why then is their website still up? You can buy their knives also?

I have the 10 inch Idealis carbon steel and it keeps a great edge.
post #12 of 32
its alright, they were ok knives probaly good knives to learn on but i just think there are better knives out there
post #13 of 32
Iv seen this too, i even contaced the company to see if they would ship to the us and they emailed me back saying they did.
post #14 of 32
Welcome to the world of knives, Sautepan. If you are set on Sabetier you can get some very good ones at Lee valle(Lee Valley Tools - Woodworking Tools, Gardening Tools, Hardware) this is a store that specializes in woodworking tools. What all the others have said about the name of Sabatier is true, the name is up for grabs, but you can "test drive" the ones at Lee Valley if you stop by the store. It's a nice knife, but fairly expensive and it is a heavy knife too.

Do not knock stamped blades, they are a true workhorse of a knife and work very well, and they are the first choice of many Chefs: The famous, and regular working guys. They are the "Chevy pickup", true, they may not be very glamorous, but they work very well, fairly cheap, and comfortable. Many Chefs--including myself, do not like their staff bringing in $200 and $300 fancy knives into work. Why? Because they are expensive, and they tend to "grow legs" i.e get stolen. Many Chefs and employers will supply house knives for their staff to avoid this problem.

When you say that you sharpened the knives, the big question is How? To sharpen, by true definition, means to remove metal so that new bevels are established. Getting consistant bevels takes a fair amount of experience or a good jig, and the choice of abrasives and their fineness also plays a huge role in edge life.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #15 of 32
I thought Japanese-style high carbon steel knifes (like a Kasumi) were quicker to dull (although capable of holding a better sharpness) than the German-style carbon steel knifes like a Wusthof. Having both a Kasumi and a Wusthof I like to use the Wusthof for the regular day-to-day grunt work, it simply feels more durable and I'm not afraid to use it to do things like whack coconuts or hack bones.

Of course, at work I use the stamped steel knives provided by the restaurant and not my own...
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
post #16 of 32
I like the sabatiers also I have a nice set of henckels and they were just too heavy for everday work. The problem I found with my sabiters is that they are too nice to bring to the work place. Seriously who wants to bring an 80 or 100 dollar knife to work? What I used on a daily basis in the kitchen was a Forschner 10 inch.

I would highly recommend this since it is easily replaceable and I can't tell you how many times I saw kids with 150.00 knives have them stolen by some jerk in class or in the work place. With a forschner you beat the tar out of it and it holds a great edge. When your done you guy buy a new one for 20.00.

Nicko Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
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Nicko Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
post #17 of 32
my first chef knife was a wusthoff grand prix II 8" w/ hollow tip edges.
i'd tried quite a few out on the job, and at stores (macy's, sur la table, etc).
i found it the most comfortable, and after using it for 3 months, i'm still very happy with it.
i ended up buying a 12 piece grand prix II set, and it came with an 8" chef knife identical to mine, sans the hollow tip. since i'd already been using mine, i set it aside, and its still sitting here brand new and un-used.
pm me if you're interested.

also, ebay is a great place to buy knives believe it or not.
i don't know if i'd buy a used one there, but i bought all my knives so far new on ebay, and they've all shown up here brand new in original packaging without a catch.
just a FAR lower price than stores or catalogs.
post #18 of 32
While you're in school you do want to keep the cost down, just in case.

Chef knives come in two basic persuasions, French and German. For reasons that have little to do with shape, since the sixties the German shape dominated American kitchens. However, for reasons which also have little to do with shape itself, the French shape is roaring back with a vengeance -- largely carried by Japanese manufacturers and steels.

If you like a lighter weight, French shape -- MAC original. One sharp knife, fairly easy to keep sharp, holds its edge forever. Watch out for bones, and slice -- instead of hacking at -- tough vegetable skins like pumpkins. The edge can chip.

If you prefer a German shape with more curve on the belly -- Forschner, Rosewood series. FWIW, the Rosewood series is the same as the "Fibrox," only with a wood, instead of a plastic handle. Unless you do a lot of butchering, or work with gloves on, the Rosewood handle actually has a better grip than the Fibrox. In either case, the blade is perhaps the easiest mass-produced stainless blade to sharpen and steel, but dulls relatively rapidly.

Me? I'd go with the MAC.

Good luck,
post #19 of 32
I have to offer my support for MAC knives too. Very sharp. Lightweight. Fits my hand perfectly. Great, great knife.

AND I also agree about being careful what you use it on. I kinked the blade on some frozen meat that I was separating. Don't blame the knife...blame the handler. I even thought to myself "Maybe I should thaw this meat out some more first." But did I stop? NOOOO. I was dumb and I kept right on working. I was able to hone it out and fine stone it. Sharp as ever.
post #20 of 32

Oh yes...

And for heaven's sake, learn to use a 10" knife while you're in school. You get more done, and you have 2" more blade to dull before you need to resharpen. The only good reasons for an 8" knife are a very small station, or very small hands.

Even with small hands... My wife preferred smallish knives all her life until we started living together (in our fifties). As it happens, she moved in to a house with a number of well maintained knives, too. Her favorite knife for basic prep, tiny hands and all, is the same as mine -- a 10" Sabatier K au carbone.


The sharpest knife in most peoples' kitchens is a steak knife?
post #21 of 32
Kasumi's are not the best choice in the japanese field. Look for brands like Horimoto, Masamoto, Ryusen, etc. There is something called the Rockwell scale that gives a knife a number based on hardness of the steel. For general use, you want something in the range of 58-63. German knives are typically 50-53.
post #22 of 32
This thread wandered from the original question a bit, and in the course of its meandering acquired a lot of mis-information. Let's see if we can't dispel a few of the myths.


The term "high-carbon" when used by itself, is generally meant to distinguish the steel referenced from stainless steel. All steel contains carbon. In fact, the presence of carbon is mostly what distinguishes steel from iron. Carbon is partly what makes steel "hard." High carbon steels are steels with more than 0.5% but less than 2% carbon.

Stainless steels have a relatively high chromium content. Usually greater than 13%. Stainless steels can also be high carbon.

But be careful not to over-emphasize the importance of steel formulation because other manufacturing processes like heat treatment and powdering are as important when it comes the final working qualities of the metal.


One of the better net sources for Sabatier information is a fellow who's a regular contributor to this forum, buzzard. If you have questions you could do worse than writing to him. Also, if you're interested take a look at the Sabatier article on Wikipedia. It's interesting.

Sabatier is alive and well. However, "Sabatier" is not the name of one company it's part of the name of a bunch of different companies. Some make great knives, some make good knives, some make bunk. The word "Sabatier" is not enough. Look for Elephant Sabatier aka Thiers-Issard, K Sabatier, Lion Sabatier, V Sabatier, and Mexeur et Cie Sabatier. **** Sabatier was also a very good variety, but they've become part of Elephant. IMO, "V," Elephant and "K" are the real class acts. Opinions differ. Good luck finding "V" Sabatier.

I own many carbon Sabatiers and a few stainless. In fact, of the eight knives in my everyday-use block, six are carbon Sabatiers, two modern and four "vintage" or "antique." Four are Elephant and two "K." My chef's knife is a "K" au carbone from the sixties. For my purposes all of these knives are as good as anything available today at any price. In spades for the Chef's knife.


If Lee Valley sells any types of Sabatiers anymore, I couldn't find them following the link foodpump posted.

IMO, the best source for Elephant is Sabatier Kitchen Knives at The Best Things

IMO, the best source for "K" is Kitchen Sabatier Knives : French cutlery from Thiers

Rots o Ruck finding V Sabatier


Rockwell Hardness aka the HRC number, is informative but not totally descriptive or predictive of the qualities of a knife. 10 - 20 years ago one would expect that knives with a low HRC number (say low 50s) would take an edge more easily than a knife with a higher number. OTOH, one expects a knife with a high HRC number (say 57 and above) to hold an edge longer, require less steeling, but chip more easily. However with advances in steel manufacturing and formulation that's not quite as true anymore.

Japanese chef's knives are generally more prone to chip than their European counterparts, partly as a matter of geometry, partly of tempering.


"German knives are typically 50-53." Not true. Top line German steel now runs around HRC 57-59. The increase is partly due to formulation changes, but mostly to a variety of hardening processes. I'm not going to go through the complete range of German manufacturers and all their lines but this includes all the up-market Henckels, Wusthofs, Victorinox, Messermeisters and Vikings. Most better German knives use more or less the same formulation, called "X50 Cr Mo" However, the big companies use special iron ore from Solingen, and each has its own proprietary heat (and/or cold) treatments.

Don't be confused by German names either. Henckels Twin Cernax are actually Japanese knives and their HRC is ~63. Victorinox is made by Forschner, a Swiss company, in a German factory with Solingen steel.

FWIW, the better stainless and carbon Sabatiers have HRCs in the 56-58 range.

Inexpensive Forschner Fibrox (and Rosewood) has an HRC of 55-56.


Kasumi makes several lines of knives. Their most popular line, "Sumingashi" is made with a type of steel called VG-10 which is one of the more common steels in mid-high Japanese knives. Not my personal favorite, but still a good steel. These Kasumis are as good as any other VG-10 of similar manufacture. Suminigashi means "ink pattern," which is what the Japanese call the Damascus look. That refers to the outside cladding. The knives are built as warikomi, that is a hard interior -- the hagane -- is surrounded by a softer cladding -- the jigane. Not my favorite design, in that I don't care for Japanese Damascus, but heap plenty knife.

The lines Chef Aaland mentions, Ryusen (presumably the Blazen line, but maybe their Damascus), Masamato (presumably the VG line, and Hirmoto (presumably Aogami Super) are different from one another and from the Kasumis. The Ryusen and Masamatos don't use a jigane.

Ryusen Blazens are made with a high speed, powder steel from Sweden, and are extremely hard and light. Despite their hardness, they don't chip easily, but do take an edge without too much trouble. Extremely high F & F as Japanese knives go.

Ryusen Damascus -- exactly the same blade as Hattori HD, same factory, etc., are much the same as Kasumi Suminiagashi. No real difference except handle geometry. Hattori HDs have the reputation for the best F & F, and Ryusen the worst of the three. You can throw Tojiro hon-Warikomi, Shuns and a few other knives in with this group too. VG is VG, 33 layer sumi is 33 layer sumi as far as I'm concerned. Look for a comfortable handle and a good price.

Of their western style knives, Masamato is more famous for their carbon knives, especially the HC series, than their stainless knives (ST and V series). Neither line makes use of jigane. The V is a little more upmarket than the ST, and uses VG-10 stainless. Good F & F, but too expensive for what they are. Ryusen Blazens and Misono UX-10 (to name two) are better stainless hagane at the price.

Hiromoto Aogami Super are among the best warikomi type knife at any price. No damascus, though. "Aogami" equates to Japanese "blue steel" which is one of the best varietal steels there is. It's a well made, but plain looking stainless knife with some nicely engraved kanji script. The whole thing is set off by the darker, carbon-steel edge peeking out of the stainless. If I were buying a non-Sabatier $200+ chef knife, it's what I'd get.


German knives have a different geometry from French knives. The German style is generally heavier, uses a different shape bolster. Geometires are slightly different through most of the shapes -- but are especially pronounced in the chef's knife. E.g, German knives are wider at the spine, and have deeper, more rounded bellies.

Japanese knives made according to European (yo) styles are made more in the French style than the German. In fact, compared to German, the differences are even more exaggerated.

Most up market European knives are forged, and have bolsters as an artifact of the process. German and French bolsters are different -- the German appearing more streamlined and are slightly more amenable to "wrong" grips. Whether forged or stamped, most Japanese knives do not have full bolsters. Their upmarket stamped knives have ferrules, though.

German knives tend to take abuse better and rock-chop better than French or Japanese knives. If you spend most of your prep time rock-mincing or , rough-chopping you're better off with a German. Ditto, if you use your chef's to whack through bones.

German chef's knives are generally sharpened to an edge angle of between 20 and 22 deg. Japanese to 15 degrees.

When it comes to knife-abuse tasks, you're better off with a "chef de chef," sharpened to a more obtuse angle. (I have a 12" "K" Massif, sharpened to around 26 degrees). They're also called "lobster crackers." A meat cleaver works. Anything heavy. Preferably from a flea market. The Japanese call this a yo-deba and charge a yo-fortune. If yo buy'n, yo a yo-suckah, yo.

French and Japanese knives are lighter and more agile than the Germans. They also have a straighter belly. The French pattern point is slightly different from the Japanese, which is more stylized and slightly dropped. The similarities are more important than the differences. The less abuse you put a knife to, and the more fine cutting (fine dice, julienne, batonet, brunoise, etc.) you do, the more you'll prefer a French shape.

Compared to a French chef's knife, a Japanese chef's knife is built with a slightly more acute angle. However, even though they were traditonally sharpened to just under 20 degrees, a good French chef's knife will support a 15 degree edge angle (30 degree included angle) almost as well as a Japanese knife -- especially if given frequent steeling. IMO a big consideration in purchasing a chef's knife is your sharpening regimen.

Hope this helps,
post #23 of 32
Don't be fooled by the cost of the knife you got. I got an 8" Sabatier Elite at Big Lots for $7.00, and have been kicking myself ever since for not getting two. I have Henckel's, old Sabatier, Wusthof and others, and this particular Sabatier is my current favorite. It sharpens and stays sharp, and I love its balance and shape.
post #24 of 32

Chefs knives


I'm a bit out of touch with knife purchase probably because i've got too many already. Some very old and some a bit newer.

Of the older ones, Tichet was considered the very best manufacture, balance and metal beautiful to use. I have a large chopping knife of this name very old and it's a treasure.

Of the newer ones i'm not too sure about names as doubtless a very competative market (look what happened to the chef's uniform - bandana hats and clowns trousers, etc) but it's not quite so bad with knives.

I can offer one little bit of advice however, handles need to be food safe but colour coding doesn't really work if you ever think about that route. (There's research to substantiate that point.)

Best of luck and maybe a bit of variety rather than the 'standard set'.
post #25 of 32
they gave me a set of wusthofs when i started school.

the chef knife they gave me was this gargantuan 10" was fine for a while, but i ended up buying an 8" wusthof, with a granton edge. it's a little more managable and you can be a little more dextrous to my way of thinking.

i bought a wusthof santoku that i like a lot's 7" or something. it's pretty handy some times.

you can get lucky if you look...this one kitchen supply store in cleveland was going out of business, and i picked each of those knives up for $50 each. w00t!

also, try ebay. good chance you'll get some deals there if you know what you're after.
post #26 of 32
Different type of jobs will have their own working weapon, while the knife is considered as the main weapon for a chef.

That's why, every chef has the own responsibility to take a good care of their knife. :)

I remembered my first knife is this "Forschner 10 inch" type and this had been nine years ago...
post #27 of 32
In response to your question about Sabatier. There are a lot of knock offs on the market now. Sabatier knives are made in Theirs France. There are several lines of Sabatier knives and all of them will have made in France on the blade. There is a great little Sabatier knife outlet off of I95 in SC (exit 33)
post #28 of 32

Troyce, you've managed to resurrect a very old thread, something to look out for in future.




post #29 of 32

Someone mentioned that true Sabatier knives are no longer manufactured. But as the French would say, au contraire!


Happily, Sabatier is still manufactured in Thiers, France by descendants of the Phillipe Sabatier, who gave this brand of cutlery its name.   In order to distinguish his knives from those of another manufacturer in the region, the Sabatier family marks its cutlery with a distinctive K in front of its name.


This is an important designation since Sabatier by itself is not a protected brand name that can be used by any and everybody who wants to make use of the name to imply quality.  


There are also Thiers-Issard, which manufactures Sabatier knives as well. Thiers-Issard knives are marked with four stars and an elephant as a distinguishing mark.

post #30 of 32

Actually if you want anything like a real and currently fabricated Sabatier you'd have to buy one of the pre-war drop-forgings that are non-heat treated and still floating around and finish it yourself.  As far as I know current Sabs are no longer drop-forged like those Phillipe and many others would have turned out (well actually some were fully hand forged), but stamped from sheet.  The moderns use a little localized heat trick to form the full bolster, but these blanks are not forgings.





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