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Long Wiki Article on Japanese Knives

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hey gang,

 

I've written a very long wiki article on the basics of Japanese knives. I hope you'll read it and use this thread (and perhaps splinter-threads) to discuss it. Eventually I hope you'll all get involved and fix things, but at the moment I'd like to hold off.

 

The thing is, this isn't a normal wiki at all. Normal wikis, in my experience, are all about brief bits connected through zillions of hyperlinks. This thing doesn't seem to do that: it's basically a long article that everyone can edit. If I'm misunderstanding, I NEED HELP!

 

What's clearly needed is

 

  1. some formatting (the TOC should be clickable and each piece should be back-clickable to the TOC)
  2. information on stainless steels, about which I know nada
  3. comments on knife brands you know something about
  4. comments on particular knives you find outstandingly good or bad
  5. contact information and comments about places you buy knives, brick-and-mortar or online
  6. indications of any significant errors or omissions

 

I think there's probably one or two other things I've forgotten, too.

 

Anyway, please read and tell me why I'm an idiot.

 

Thanks,

Chris

post #2 of 16

Chris,

 

It's very ambitious and as it stands already very good.  I'd like to help. 

 

A su servicio,

BDL

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks, BDL. We'll continue to talk....

post #4 of 16

   WOW!  Nice Chris, thank you.

 

 

   It's nice to see you posting more often again.  Although, you and BDL compliment each other very well with your personality/writing style.

 

   thanks guys!

 

      (I'm always readin'...even if I'm not typing)

 

  dan

post #5 of 16

Nicely Done Chris. I watched Top Chef DC last night and I was reminded of an opinion posted by BDL that at the time I really disagreed with. I believe the comment was some thing to the effect that many, if not most Chefs are pretty clueless about knives and sharpening. After watching last nights episode I realized that indeed he may have well been spot on and that I've been lucky enough to have been surrounded by those with a larger than average interest in their tools most of my career. I saw several santoku's, a suji or two being used to brunoise onions and a petty being used to break down chickens. 

Then there was the flailing steels. 

It certainly drives home the need for an article such as yours.

 

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

A petty is a terrific knife for breaking chickens, DuckFat. That doesn't mean these folks knew what they were doing, of course, but on that one it's not the knife that's at fault.

 

Case in point: my pal (well, not personally) Pepin uses a knife that looks an awful lot like a petty, and he can bone out a chicken completely -- not break it apart but remove all the bones and leave the flesh intact attached to the skin -- in 30 seconds. A small, stiff, very sharp knife is just the right thing for the job.

 

If it's cutting-up, the only question is whether your method involves a lot of shearing through bones, but if for example you're doing it French-style you can work very fast and clean with a petty and only need any other knife -- specifically, something heavy and durable -- when you "french" the drumsticks and when you shear the center part of the breast off.

 

Years ago, I saw a bit on Top Chef #3 -- the one Hung Something-or-other won -- and they had this quick contest where one of the parts was breaking down 3 chickens. Hung did well -- not as clean as I'd have liked, but quick -- but the other one was a joke. What made it really depressing was that Tom Colicchio was just in awe of Hung's skills doing this, which he shouldn't have been. It was fine, very solid and professional, but nothing to get excited about. It just looked great next to the mediocrity of the other contestants at their appointed tasks (one woman chopping onions was just appalling -- she should have been sent home immediately and not allowed to continue, if you ask me).

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gonefishin View Post

   WOW!  Nice Chris, thank you.

 

 

   It's nice to see you posting more often again.  Although, you and BDL compliment each other very well with your personality/writing style.

 

   thanks guys!

 

      (I'm always readin'...even if I'm not typing)

 

  dan


Thanks, Dan. I'll actually be disappearing for 6 weeks or so pretty soon -- we try to spend a lot of time in VT during the summers, and the internet access is a joke -- but I'll be back. Just don't listen to BDL too much while I'm gone.

post #8 of 16

Watching some one choke up on a petty and struggle with a chicken was just painful. Much of the group struggled peeling potato's and it was clear that dull knives were an issue for a few. What we don't know is if the Chef's were aware of the task before knife selection so that may have been a factor for a few. 

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #9 of 16

Hey Hung.  I can break a chicken about as fast as anyone and he's at least twice as fast as me.  He either used a Misono UX-10 suji or UX-10 gyuto which had been sharpened down enough to look like a suji.

 

I used to just use my chef's to break a chicken, but if I'm breaking more than one, I'll use my petty to break the thighs, legs and wings, and my chef's to split the back, and keelbones.  If I'm breaking it "French" style, i.e.,  breast off the bone, I'll just use my petty.  I love my petty for it.

 

That said, I generally agree with Dave da Duck about the level of knife skills on last night's Top Chef, and of course thank him (or you if you happen to be him) for remembering dthe conversation.  You've got to wonder how anyone as slow and sloppy as a lot of those people are moved up the kitchen hierarchy.  In some places relativity is physics, in others it's nepotism.

 

Chris and I had a long conversation the other day, and I was very impressed with his perspicacity, knowledge and intelligence.  So when he says you should ignore me, start by ignoring me on that.

 

BDL

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

Nah, ignore him.

 

But seriously, we apparently remember Hung's chicken-breaking differently. Fair enough. I didn't say he wasn't awfully good -- and very good with knife skills generally, for that matter.

 

I will say BDL and I apparently have somewhat different senses of what "French style" breaking amounts to, but that's just minor trivia with bits of pedantry thrown in for added seasoning.

 

On the other hand, anyone who "chokes up on a petty" when breaking a chicken doesn't have the first clue how to break a chicken, and anyone who also "struggles" while doing the breaking is really lost. What, did these people all come up in the ranks doing short-order stuff where everything was pre-prepped for them or something?

post #11 of 16

I was dumbfounded by the lack of knife skills on the first episode of TC-DC. One of the cheftestants even managed to cut them self while peeling a spud. Good grief. 

Since I took in the Ichi's earlier this year I've grown to love a petty but the 270 suji just makes me giddy. I enjoy that knife so much it's almost not right.

The total flip side was TC Master if any one caught Suser Lee. Mad knife skills but brutal on the knives. Then again it is the big time and I'd certainly be going for broke and worrying about edge repair later.

Both Hung and Mike Voltaggio from last season had killer knife skills. I remember one episode last season where the Chef's were at the house and Mike V was sharpening his knife with several of the others standing around in awe as if they had never seen it done before. I still covet that Glestain box hung had. 

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #12 of 16

Longtime lurker, just joined to try and help out with this wiki article.  Something weird is going on -  wiki source says

<a id="teeth">Teeth</a>

browser renders it as

<a id="user_teeth" target="_blank">Teeth</a>

 

Looking into it.

post #13 of 16

I can create the internal links (and even links back to the beginning) but it seems to be default behavior to open a new tab every time.  At least, that's the same behavior I see in the wiki tutorial:

http://www.cheftalk.com/wiki/wiki-article-tutorial

Does anyone have a different experience?  Please note that "Teeth" is the only one I've done so far.  If anyone knows moderators or site owners, knowing what platform the wiki runs on would be helpful.

For some reason, all links default to setting the TARGET attribute to "_blank".  This is problematic as TARGET is deprecated (not part of HTML4), and this behavior is obnoxious anyway - as you can see if you click through the tutorial, it results in many tabs/windows.

post #14 of 16

After looking over some more material, I strongly suspect that this behavior is enforced by Joomla, and there's nothing I can do about it.  If others find this similarly unpleasant, perhaps there is a way we can contact the site operator to discuss?

post #15 of 16

Deleted


Edited by boar_d_laze - 6/30/10 at 5:41pm
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkeilson View Post

After looking over some more material, I strongly suspect that this behavior is enforced by Joomla, and there's nothing I can do about it.  If others find this similarly unpleasant, perhaps there is a way we can contact the site operator to discuss?


Hi, sorry, been away for a bit. Thanks for doing the digging. It looks to me like there's only one actual problem here --- this wiki editor doesn't produce wikis. It's just a communal blog editor, really. So the whole idea of everyone editing things together, with cross-references, goes out the window. And since there isn't much point in a wiki without cross-references, it's all moot.

 

I'll maybe do some posting here and there, when I get around to it, and others should feel free to do the same, but it looks to me as though the wiki thing is pretty much dead.

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