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A complement to knife use, or just a tool?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have a question relating to knife use, and I don't mean that by simply "buying a product." A simple search here might provide me with a list of suppliers. I'm referring to a product utilized in conjuction with knives. And I'm not joking here.

That is, the carving fork.

Now here's what I've noticed. Some forks have straight tines. Some have a slight bend near the ends. Some just mirror the decorative handles of the accompanying knife.

But I've never, ever, ever had a chef toss a cheap carving fork across the room in disgust, nor have I been approached by a chef to "refine" the tines for his personal roll.

If anything, (and that means rarely), a kitchen worker will even ask for a fork.

Now if a chef will spend +$3K for a superior knife, why doesn't he ask me for forks?
post #2 of 20
Isn't that just cos you can use anything to hold the meat... Doesn't have to be a fork... I've used my fingers, a teatowel, tongs.
But at the dinner table I use a horn handled fork and a good knife
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
And I would surmise you are correct, but I'm not a chef.

Here's the reason this seems odd. I did a search on my supplier's website for a carving fork. They only have one listed.

For 80 bucks. Yikes.
post #4 of 20
I have one nice carving fork, a forged Messermeister. But carving forks are mostly useless and almost completely unnecessary- I only use them if I'm manning a carving station. For most work it just gets in the way, and obviously you have to be careful not to clang on the thing with the edge of your knife.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
That's the point of the debate. Do we consider adjunct or ancillary tools needed or simply wanted(?)

For example, over the years I've collected a lot of shop rags. Now this might seem like a minor issue--that is, until you scratch something of value.

Before that happened, I gave the shop rags to a neighbor and replaced everything with micro-fiber cloths.

Hey, guess what? This small addition has paid dividends already. I can safely polish knives, computer screens, plus vehicle paint and chrome. And to my arsenal of cleaning products I can now use BugSlide. An unusual name, but a tremedous cleaning product for delicate and polished surfaces. Like expensive mirror finished knives.

Getting back to forks, we've had a pro opine that just about anything can be used in a working kitchen. Truth be told, I've seen some oddball stuff happen in kitchens.

But I wonder what would happen if I presented a server with a razor sharp Damascus pattern carving knife and a fancy-schmancy fork as he left to go serve prime rib?
post #6 of 20
A "carving fork" has wide, curved tines. A "pot fork" has wide straight tines, along with a stud on the bolster for hanging the fork on the side of the pot. "Cooks" or "chef's fork" is the more general, inclusive term including wide straight tines without the nub, and "bayonet" tines, etc. I don't know them all, but they certainly come in many flavors including carving and pot.

I get a fair bit of use out of my old Henckels bayonet fork. It's quite stiff and strong, and very useful for moving heavy pieces of meat from here to there, as well as all the big fork uses. While I actually have a dedicated "carving fork," I tend to use the old Henckels for carving, if only because it's kept in a more convenient place.

Chef's forks aren't nearly as popular as they used to be, you almost never see a TV cook use one. People use their hands on food a lot more than they used to do.

BDL
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post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Ewwww. I've seen chefs on "The Iron Chef" cut themselves, slap on a bandage and go back to work. Hasn't anyone heard of blood-borne pathogens!

Laugh if you will, but here in Wisconsin we have CWD and CJD concerns because even the intense heat of prolonged cooking will not destroy prions.

That 80 bucks for a decent fork is starting to sound like a paltry amount.

(BTW, when was the last time you heard a biker go "ewwww"?)
post #8 of 20
Mmmm... "Pot fork" for me, has short, stubby curved tines, this is so you can hook a roast under the strings and move it about in the pot while searing, or hoisting out a pot roast out of liquid.---Tongs really are not ideal for fishing out a 8 or 9 lb roast.

A "Carving fork" for me, has long tines that you can pile on sliced roast and slide it off onto a plate. Many people-especially Orientals get put -off if you offer them meat (from a carving station) from a knife rather than a fork.

The Europeans tend to use forks more. The tongs that are so prevalant here in N. America are not so commom in Europe, and you find many cooks using forks to grill meats, roll up leaf spinach or noodles, or spuds onto plates.

How much to pay?

I dunno... Still have an ancient Victorinox that has 7 of it's 9 lives used up.

Not directly realted to this topic, I've been offered a 9 or 10" cake spatula from a Japanese dealer... he wanted $120 CDN for it. It was nice, full boster some kind of exotic wood scales and all that, but I'd rather spend the money on a vacuum packing machine......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #9 of 20
Yeah, that's the main use I have for one. You don't want to be waving around a razor sharp knife, and certainly it's not polite to serve meat right off of the knife and onto someone's plate.

On occasion the heavy duty forks are handy, certainly for stuff like moving around really large roasts.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #10 of 20
What in the world does CWD have to do with human blood? The Chef's wash their hands, bandage the cut and wear a finger condom.
BTW there are other states that now have CWD in their deer heard thanks to that brilliant move from the high fence clan in Wi. :eek::(
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
At this time they are unsure on how this stuff spreads. In fact, many opine that Wisconsin's problems stem from a limited amount of elk being imported from our western states.

As for prions, heat doesn't kill them, and just because you're washing your hands it doesn't mean that you sanitize your kitchen, cutting boards, counter-tops, floors, clothing and pans every time if infected venison is introduced. In fact I was in a kitchen once where a drain backed up and raw sewage came out of the floor. That was a four star.

It's gotten so bad here that our DNR has identified "hot zones" which is a fancy-schmancy way of promoting a total slaughter of 'potentially' exposed animals.

However, why should I be exposed to any pathogen because of a sloppy chef? Ever see the signs in bathrooms requesting employees wash their hands--and I doubt if compliance on that is 100%.

In fact, Seinfeld did an episode on exactly this topic.
post #12 of 20
IIR the WI DNR states that the current CWD out break started as a result of two fools moving diseased deer to a high fence operation.
The fact that heat does not kill prions is irrelevant to the topic of a Chef cutting him/herself.
CWD and human blood borne pathogens are two very different issues.
Just because some one cuts their finger it doesn't mean they have backed up toilets, CWD or they are un-sanitary hacks. Every professional kitchen should have a first aid kit with finger condoms.
I guess you must be a "sloppy" knife sharpener if you have ever cut your digits. Does this mean you don't wash your hands after you use the head? :crazy:
Your posts are all over the place.
As far as not being exposed to "any Pathogen" you better lock your doors and start the chicken little dance because your almost certainly exposed to some pathogens every time you go out in public.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
It sounds like you're defending disease. I don't care for it, myself.

Edit: To offer a rebuttal let me state that any and/or all of these conditions are not only out in the real world, but in every kitchen, as well. Most people don't know it, but we have staph germs on us most of the time.

But I cannot report to you that I find prions 'okay,' but blood borne pathogens a 'maybe' and raw sewage 'bad.' It's all bad, and our profession centers around preparing a product that goes into people's bodies.

Look, I'm not letting myself off the hook, either. All of my sharpening fixtures are wrapped in blue painters tape and changed frequently. I changed out one press this morning. I wash my stones and glass mounts in hot soapy water. I wash my completed knives, but admonish the client to wash them again before use. I even clean my stone holders.

Here's something that might help you understand my position.

In the late 1980's I was a credit manager for Madison Family Dental Association. When their supply manager quit unannounced I inherited that job to provide cost containment. However, this was at the time that "infection control" and "barrier protection" were big buzz-words.

All of my life I had seen dentists wrap handpieces (the drill) is a square gauze soaked in alcohol. Imagine my surprise to find out that this procedure did nothing. You would have been better off wiping the equipment on your sleeve. Glutaraldehydes, phenols, and iodophors were the only effective cold soaks.

In fact, as I left that employ Steam Statim machines were replacing those soaks.

So yes, I do place blood, common germs, CWD prions and even mucus in the same category. I believe professionals should adopt procedures to protect their clients, and I do.
post #14 of 20
I'm starting to wonder if alcohol is a factor in your posts. If you think CWD prions are in "in every kitchen" then you are obviously under the influence or out in lala land. Placing CWD prions and mucus in the same category is beyond inane.
No one is going to find CWD prions "OK" but that has Z E R O impact or relivance to all the other side bar issues you are tossing out. Raw sewage may be an issue for you in your home butt not in the vast majority of professional kitchens.
BTW Staph is a bacteria. Your body needs bacteria to survive.
It's not that complex.
You take a dump. You wash. We all do it.
You cut your finger, you wash, sanitize, bandage, and stick it in a condom or if you are a cupcake you go home. Either way human blood borne pathogons should never come in contact with the food that gets served from a professional kitchen.
You've jumped from a finger cut to CWD prions to feces to dentistry.
This is starting to remind me of a saying my drill instructor loved,
If you can't dazzel them with brilliance baffle em with BS.
AFAIK "our profession" is not the same. ;)
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
I don't drink, I'm SDA.

But I am wondering if you argue just to argue.

Look, this is a forum aimed at professionals preparing food. I commented on pathogens, germs and prions in the context of cross-contamination.

What's not to get? And I wonder if you read my stuff, at all. If you don't like my position of topics, it might be better for you not to read them.

But I'm not going to type things over and over. If you wish to parse my posts for nuances, be my guest. Then you get the privilage of having the last word. I'm onto other topics.
post #16 of 20
Indeed this is a forum aimed at professionals preparing food. Emphasis on those who actually prepare food professionaly as they should understand basic sanitation.
You are just not grasping the fact that you can't have cross-contamination with something that's NOT THERE. CWD Prions are proteins. They are not just floating about in the kitchen. They are not the same as mucus or the bacteria on/in your body.
Getting CWD, JCD etc is not even in the same ballpark as cutting your tootsies. :crazy:
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #17 of 20
I do the same thing. I only use a carving set for table-side services and at family dinners. In the kitchen, I just use a large table fork or a set of tongs, depending on what I'm carving.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #18 of 20
This thread has gone way off topic. Thank you ChefRay for bringing back around to the OT. I do find chef's forks useful, and have 1 in my kit, which stays with my all the time. But, let's face it, they are not necessary. 99% of what a chef's fork (meat fork, pot fork, carving fork) is used for can be done with other utensils, maybe not always quite as efficiently, but the point is they can be replaced. I do like large forks for moving large, hot pieces of meat (less chance of the meat slipping than with tongs) but the only time I required any of my staff to use a carving fork was out on the buffets, and that was only an esthetic issue
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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 #19 of 20

hrm

the origional post asked why the placement of value on knives and not so much the fork?
welp as a blacksmith and bladesmith Im here to tell you its a HECK of alot easier to make a meat fork out of mild steel than the entire forging, heat treatment, finish and handle work that goes into knives. theres a world of difference between high carbon and mild steel.
post #20 of 20
Spot on! It looks great when used on the buffet line but for a practical use there are easier tools to grab and go for smaller cuts. Now a barron of beef can use 2 forks and do not ask how I know.:cool:
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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