or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › Best chef knives money can buy and where to purchase??
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Best chef knives money can buy and where to purchase??

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

Im interested in purchasing a close friend some very high quality chef knives and money is no object

 

Im wondering if you can help me out by recommending the absolute best chef knives and where they can be purchased?

 

Thanks alot, Any and all responses will be appreciated

 

 

post #2 of 50

The only good knife is a sharp knife!

post #3 of 50

Very true...

 

@johntaverner09:

It's also very difficult to recommend a knife based on above info.

What's the knife gonna be used for?

What steel are you (or the person you are giving the knife to) looking for?

What profile?

 

If you give some more info, maybe we can help a bit better?

 

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
post #4 of 50

Both of the above answers are excellent advice.

 

If you were to ask a wine expert what the absolute, overall "best" wine was, they would tell you no such thing  exists.  There are many excellent wines, each with their own unique qualities and taste.

 

So it is with knives.

 

What I tell all of my employees is that there is no magic in a knife.  It's just a hunk of steel with a sharp edge, the magic is in the user's hands.

 

There is no sense in buying an excellent, expenisve knife for your friend if that person does not know how to sharpen it properly, or have access to someone who can.  All knives will need sharpening, and the cheap-o ones that claim you don't have to, are just hacksaw blades in a handle.

 

Knives are also  a bit like shoes, either they fit you--your hands and style-- or they don't.  You need a bit of knowledge and experience when picking out expensive knives.

 

I hope this helps somewhat

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #5 of 50

While all of the above is true, I believe that most knife enthusiasts will also agree that, *if* money was no object, they would own at least one high grade Japanese Honyaki knife.  Honyaki is the process of hand tempering and quenching that was originally used to make samurai swords, and results in steels with HRCs of 65-68 (typical Wusthof/good Henckels is about 58).

 

This extraordinary hardness allows an expert to grind edges with incredibly steep angles onto it.  The best Honyaki knives carry the Hamon -- the tempering line -- denoting the differentiation of the edge metal (ha-gane) from the support metal (ji-gane) resulting from differentiated tempering, where the edge metal is quenched and tempered more quickly than the support metal.

 

They will be very hard to sharpen, and aside from the sharpness, it takes the right abrasive and some skill to polish the blade in such a way as to show off the Hamon.  However, if money is truly no object, you could always get it professionally sharpened and polished by someone who is skilled in handling the highest grade Japanese blades, even if you have to ship it to them and back each time.

 

They will also be hard to care for in other ways -- Honyaki is typically carbon steel which will rust if not taken care of the right way (though there are some stainless Honyakis out there too, be sure you are aware of this before buying -- a good Honyaki knife can cost in the thousands per knife and it would just be a damned crying shame for such a work of art to rust in a block if the person using it did not realize this).  The extreme high hardness means that it will be more prone to chipping if used roughly or hitting bone, and may even have big chunks broken out of it like a plate rim if it is dropped.  If your friend just wanted a good sharp knife that is pretty to look at, he/she might prefer a stainless damascus pattern knife of 60-62 HRC instead.  Or perhaps even have one of the many dedicated and skilled knife craftsmen in America make a custom set -- look at knife seller sites like chefknivestogo.com and browse the "knife brands" to see a listing of some of these people who have dedicated themselves to making beautiful and highly functional knives.

 

To look up where to purchase one -- just google the term "Honyaki" and you'll see many high end knife vendor sites carry them.  If you ask around on forums like this one, someone can also direct you to Japanese smiths, some of whom would also be willing to custom make knives to order.

post #6 of 50

LOL. I absolutely love the "money is no object" frame of mind. I couple of months ago a fine member of this community, Trooper, gave me some examples of very affordable "laser" knives. I won't at all call them "beginner" or "entry level" knives. I found them to be fantastic examples of what I should and will get when I buy anything new; ex: 180 Santoku $77, 240 Gyuto $93. Yeah, you all know that there are much more expensive and possibly better quality knives. Now just for a second maybe think about this. Would someone who would/could appreciate this level of equipment actually need, have or want someone else to get it for them? For that kinda coin I want to pick out my own stuff. Get me a gift card. 

 

http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KAGAYAKI.html

http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/FKHSeries.html

http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HKSSeries.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

LOL. I absolutely love the "money is no object" frame of mind.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 Sure is nice to spend money that is not yours in your head ain't it.  It's why people buy lottery tickets. :D

post #8 of 50

One word. KRAMER! :D

post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tapslog21 View Post

One word. KRAMER! :D

I don't think so. I would take many others over a kramer like Murray carter, hattori, and a few others.

Sent from my thunderbolt using tapatalk pro.
post #10 of 50

I just laugh when I see any discussion about knives. Not at the OP, just in general. I got a kiwi brand knife from my local Asian market for $3 and it is my favorite knife I've used.

post #11 of 50

I agree.  When I was a kid I used to spend ridiculous money on the latest and greatest, but after 22 years in the business I've found that I've beaten the snot out of more Victorinox/Mundial/Dexter-Russell generic 10" Chef knives than anything else, and they just take the beating and then re-take an edge without a fight.  Not to mention, they're NEVER forged (lol), so they're actually lighter knives.  When you're cooking all day long with a knife as your main implement of destruction, the non-forged, cheap, lightweight knives with the big ugly nylon grips are SO much more forgiving than the mega-bucks knives.

I remember buying my first expensive knife.  It was made by a little old Japanese man in his backyard forge.  AWESOME to look at, held an edge like crazy, had a 550-braided paracord handle, superbly balanced, weighed a TON.  And you noticed it 3-hours into your shift.  $375 that looks and performs amazingly, but sits in my home kitchen drawer.  Hell, even at home I wind up grabbing an old beat up Forschner chef's knife for 90% of the jobs I do here.  It was probably $25 new, and it's probably worth about $5 on the garage sale table now, but I just simply use it too often to sell it.

You don't have to spend a lot of money on knives to get something completely usable and awesome.

If you're looking for a status symbol, just throw the highest amount of money possible to the boutique-iest little so-and-so from whatever country who is handcrafting artwork in his backyard forge.  You won't use them any more than a cheap set of industrial-grade stain-free Dexter-Russells. 

 

The expensive knives are designed to work flawlessly. The cheap knives are designed to work their asses off.

 

That being said, just get something with "NSF" etched into the side of the blade, chances are the recipient will be very well-served.

 

post #12 of 50

I'll have to chime in here.  My Randall Bowie #1-8 is 30yrs old and I actually sharpened it once (oh horrors! say the collectors), but I think there are still buyers out there for 3 or more times what I paid for it.  Money being no object, get the Carter.  His knives are still "relatively" affordable, and will very likely be escalating in price, much like Kramer's.

 

Rick

post #13 of 50

Oh brother, I should check dates before commenting

post #14 of 50

Got me a 10" Forschner that I wouldn't trade for much of nything. It ain't pretty, it ain't fancy, it ain't handmade by a hundred year old Tibetan yak herder over a campfire and it's got a wooden handle so beat up and stained it looks as if it's black plastic with finger grips... but it's my baby, 

"Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously."
Hunter S. Thompson
Reply
"Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously."
Hunter S. Thompson
Reply
post #15 of 50

What's the "best knife?" The one YOU want to have in YOUR hand, day in, day out, hour after hour. The rest is nothing but opinion and fluff.

"Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously."
Hunter S. Thompson
Reply
"Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously."
Hunter S. Thompson
Reply
post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by KvonNJ View Post

Got me a 10" Forschner that I wouldn't trade for much of nything. It ain't pretty, it ain't fancy, it ain't handmade by a hundred year old Tibetan yak herder over a campfire and it's got a wooden handle so beat up and stained it looks as if it's black plastic with finger grips... but it's my baby, 

LOL, this.

post #17 of 50

I recommend these four knife companies in order of which I think is the best

 

Shun Knife Company Japan

Wüsthof Germany

Henckels Germany

Robert Welch German Steel Forged in Taiwan

post #18 of 50

Henckels are maid in Japan as well sorry for the mistake!

post #19 of 50

MIYABI KAIZEN!

post #20 of 50

Since this post seems to have reserected itself, let me recomend you look at more recent posts on the subject of best knives, especially best knives for the money, as the ones mentioned don't fit either category so well.

 

Rick

post #21 of 50

Henckels are made in Japan as well sorry for the mistake!

 

Henckels Twins (aka Zwillings) series are made in Germany.  Henckels International series are made in several countries, I think Spain has the largest output.  The Miyabi series (Miyabi is a Henckels brand) are made in Japan.   

 

Since this post seems to have resurrected itself, let me recommend you look at more recent posts on the subject of best knives, especially best knives for the money, as the ones mentioned don't fit either category so well.

+1. 

 

BDL

What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #22 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capsaicin View Post

While all of the above is true, I believe that most knife enthusiasts will also agree that, *if* money was no object, they would own at least one high grade Japanese Honyaki knife.  Honyaki is the process of hand tempering and quenching that was originally used to make samurai swords, and results in steels with HRCs of 65-68 (typical Wusthof/good Henckels is about 58).

 

This extraordinary hardness allows an expert to grind edges with incredibly steep angles onto it.  The best Honyaki knives carry the Hamon -- the tempering line -- denoting the differentiation of the edge metal (ha-gane) from the support metal (ji-gane) resulting from differentiated tempering, where the edge metal is quenched and tempered more quickly than the support metal.

 

They will be very hard to sharpen, and aside from the sharpness, it takes the right abrasive and some skill to polish the blade in such a way as to show off the Hamon.  However, if money is truly no object, you could always get it professionally sharpened and polished by someone who is skilled in handling the highest grade Japanese blades, even if you have to ship it to them and back each time.

 

They will also be hard to care for in other ways -- Honyaki is typically carbon steel which will rust if not taken care of the right way (though there are some stainless Honyakis out there too, be sure you are aware of this before buying -- a good Honyaki knife can cost in the thousands per knife and it would just be a damned crying shame for such a work of art to rust in a block if the person using it did not realize this).  The extreme high hardness means that it will be more prone to chipping if used roughly or hitting bone, and may even have big chunks broken out of it like a plate rim if it is dropped.  If your friend just wanted a good sharp knife that is pretty to look at, he/she might prefer a stainless damascus pattern knife of 60-62 HRC instead.  Or perhaps even have one of the many dedicated and skilled knife craftsmen in America make a custom set -- look at knife seller sites like chefknivestogo.com and browse the "knife brands" to see a listing of some of these people who have dedicated themselves to making beautiful and highly functional knives.

 

To look up where to purchase one -- just google the term "Honyaki" and you'll see many high end knife vendor sites carry them.  If you ask around on forums like this one, someone can also direct you to Japanese smiths, some of whom would also be willing to custom make knives to order.

a few quick notes here... first off, many german knives are around 56hrc (whusthof and henkels included).  Softer japanese knives are around 58-59hrc.  Honyaki knives at the hardest will be around 64-65 hrc.  Some powdered steels will be harder than that (zdp-189 and cowry-x can be hardened to 68ish, but thats about it).  Also, honyaki blades do not have hagane AND jigane... only awase bocho do.  Honyaki blades are entirely hagane.

post #23 of 50

I have owned and used countless makes and models of knives, and the ones that I have settled on, after 12+ yrs at the level of executive chef, are Masanobu VG-10s.  I have the entire set and they suit every need and situation I have encountered.  They are comfortable, hold their edge, and can be sharpened to different specs.  Feel free to sharpen the knife with to a finer edge (less durability) if you need it, and touch it up more often.  Or stick with the factory angles and it will keep even a professional cook satisfied for a week.  When I was on the line I would sharpen every night, like sushi chefs, but now I obviously do it much less frequently.

 

On a sharpening note:  Shapton Stones, are the best I've ever used.  They do not require soaking (just add water when you use), they get your edge faster (twice as fast = half the strokes = lower risk of damaging steel), and you need less pressure (stone lasts longer).

 

Good luck.

post #24 of 50

Not to be disagreeable, but caveat emptor.  Masanobu VG-10s are san-mai VG-10 and -- except for handle, fit and finish, and cost -- about the same as every one of the other countless numbers of reasonably good quality san-mai VG-10 knives on the market.  The handle is spiffy, F&F is excellent, and the price is ridiculous.  You'll get the same blade performance from a Tojiro DP, for a quarter the money. 

 

BDL

What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Not to be disagreeable, but caveat emptor.  Masanobu VG-10s are san-mai VG-10 and -- except for handle, fit and finish, and cost -- about the same as every one of the other countless numbers of reasonably good quality san-mai VG-10 knives on the market.  The handle is spiffy, F&F is excellent, and the price is ridiculous.  You'll get the same blade performance from a Tojiro DP, for a quarter the money. 

 

BDL

 Just let me chime in that quite a number of individuals including myself have been less than thrilled with the edge-quality of Shun knives in their VG10 series.  Tojiro at half the price seem to consistantly rate well on the other hand.

 

Rick

post #26 of 50

Masanobu fit my hand and style of use perfectly.  The only way to find the best knife for you, is to try them out.

 

BDL - you're are quite the knife aficionado, so I must ask you: is dexter russell really the go-to entry level knife for line cooks? Or is there an alternative (I currently buy all of my cooks their first knife).

post #27 of 50

Posted by chefchadnyc View Post

BDL - you're are quite the knife aficionado, so I must ask you: is dexter russell really the go-to entry level knife for line cooks? Or is there an alternative (I currently buy all of my cooks their first knife).

It's been decades since I've been anywhere near a line or pro cooking of any sort (if you don't count occasional teaching), but based on what I know about sharpening and on friends' current restaurant experience as execs I'd lean to Victorinox (Forschner) Fibrox/Rosewood as the go-to entry level chef's knife for the line.   

 

As you know, I'm all about sharpness; and my impression is that Victorinox has better edge taking and holding than Dexter stamped.  Neither brand can take or hold an edge anywhere nearly as well as an one of the sub $100 entry-level Japanese and American knives in the $100 range -- and if the cook or operation can afford something in that range it's probably going to be a better long-range economic proposition... but it's awfully easy to spend other peoples' money. 

 

Any sort of "hard and fast" rule will fail because so much depends on the particular cook and kitchen, for instance how much the cook abuses his knife with a steel, how often knives are sharpened, how they're sharpened, who does the sharpening, whether there's any sort of instruction, and so on. 

 

BDL

What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #28 of 50

OK.  So I know the specific conversation and questions were directed to BDL.  He is the guy who gets my questions too.  I'm commenting here based on his statement, "It's been decades since I've been anywhere near a line or pro cooking of any sort ...".  Well, I'm in a pro kitchen every week. 

 

I concur that Victorinox/Forschner knives are better than Dexter.  No question there.  I have VF knives myself.  However ... from my experiences, the Dexter knives have been somewhat heavier than the VF.  Is that important?  I don't know for myself, but if you have a kitchen full of inexperienced guys hacking away at everything, you may find that heavier knives will hold up to more general abuse.  I know I did.  That being the case, where guys are beating the ever-loving bageebies out of the equipment, I think I would recommend basic NSF knives.  They're the cheapest to replace. 

 

NSF Commercial Chef's Knife     $9.99


Edited by IceMan - 1/26/13 at 1:36pm

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #29 of 50

The problem with the ultra cheapies is that they can't be made very sharp; and whatever edge you can get on them they lose pretty quickly.  If your standard of sharpening is an AccuSharp, then they're fine.  

 

Sure, most line guys can't even use a steel, much less sharpen; and most execs aren't terribly critical about the quality of the cut to the extent that they're going to go around the kitchen and finger everyone's knives; but... it makes a difference.

 

If you'd worked for me as one of my regular guys at Predominantly French, you'd have learned to cut, sharpen and maintain on day one.  

 

BDL 

What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #30 of 50

Interesting comments.  My current staff, while hard working and completely dedicated, are not the type to ever go out and buy their own knives (or any equipment for that matter).  They have minimal knowledge in sharpening/honing, although I have given them multiple extensive demos.  It's just not something that is a priority for them.  They just want to reach for a blade, give it a couple quick swipes on a steel (or against the back of another knife or what have you), and get to work.

 

I know that no knife stays sharp if it's not maintained, but basically I need to know if there is a better option.  I've used victorinox before and I think they're fine, but all of those pressed handle knives are uncomfortable for me (personally).  As far as japanese style knives are concerned, most of my cooks have hardly seen them before, let alone used them.  I bought my sous chefs some mid/low level japanese knives for xmas, but they're afraid to use them.  They just keep using the dexters.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cooking Knife Reviews
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › Best chef knives money can buy and where to purchase??