Hello all. First post, new to site. A little background:
I’m not a chef or experienced cook by any means. Typically, I only prepare about two to three meals a week, as I’m otherwise on the road for work. I’ve been preparing my meals for the past 15 years with a $10 Tramontina 8” chef. Dull as can be. Never once looking down the aisle for anything else.
Since I watch plenty of HGTV and DIY, I began—out of curiosity—to venture over to Food Network and the Cooking Channel. Wow, I never knew what fun I was missing. I’ve since started to explore the cooking world, and restored an old commercial kitchen’s 28.5” x 15.5” cutting board by lots of sanding and Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner. I love that board! Bought a Chicago Cutlery 6.75” santoku, which never gets used (seemed like a popular knife). For some reason, I just don’t like the way it performs; however, part of it might be my completely unschooled technique. I just like the 8” chef better, though it has WAY too much belly.
Anyway, watching all these shows got me interested in the tools of the trade, as well. Thank God for DVRs, because my pause button is getting worn out on the cooking competitions, by trying to see what the contestants are using (I take knives used by hosts of shows with a grain of salt, as they’re probably sponsored…). I’ve seen the gamut: a guy beating Morimoto and his Nenox with a Grand Prix I santoku… and he did EVERYTHING with it; others beating competitors using Ken Onions and Glestains with Forschner Fibroxs or Dexters. Hmmm…
So, realistically, while the tool might have little to do with the outcome, it—to me, anyway—might have something to do with the fun. I inherited my grandfather’s knives, which included a Wusthof and three Henckels, all of them 12”, all of them circa mid-60s (from what I can gather). Specifically, the Wusthof is a Trident Dreizack 4582-162/12”; one of the Henckels is a 102-12” chef. The remaining two are slicers.
The Wusthof is beautiful. Looks completely unused. Easily twice the knife the Henckels chef is (IMHO). Would I pay double for it? Yes, comparatively speaking. And if it wasn’t so long, or heavy, I wouldn’t be here. But alas, I need (want) something in between the crappy old 8” Tramontina and the skull-splitting 12” Trident sword.
I’ve read pages upon pages of stories similar to mine, and while one could easily make an informed decision based on many well thought-out recommendations, there’s an urge to get my own tale out. Partly because I’d like a personal recommendation, partly to chat, maybe… probably 70/30, or 60/40… but maybe that’s because I’m right-handed… ;)
To the substance: In early December, I purchased a Shun Premier paring and 7” santoku for one of my daughters, as Christmas gifts (not knowing a thing about knives… they just looked cool). CKTG was out, so I had to purchase them from two different retailers; but from CKTG I did purchase a bamboo gift box and a Shun 11-shot bamboo block (keeping the block). After receiving the Shuns (bought at the then-discounted prices), I realized they were totally inappropriate for her. She’d never use them, and would never build on to the set. Got her something else she really wanted: a PS3. :/ Oh well…
So, now I have two brand new knives, only taken out of the boxes to feel the handles. Though the $190 I have invested in the two knives (had to pay shipping from the two different retailers who had them in stock) could be used on something else, I have to question myself: presuming I can get every dime out of these knives, can I replace them with something of equal or better performance for the same dollar? The handles are nice; f&f, warranty, sharpness… it’s all there, but this forum seems to advise (strongly) away from Shuns.
I, like some others, have a “matching set” ocd problem. It’s the way I’m built, I guess. Everything symmetrical and matching. (Even the 70/30, 60/40 grinds have my skin itching… don’t know why) And I know what has been stated here before, that nothing looks more amateurish than a matching set of knives, and after watching MANY competition shows, I agree; but no one is going to see my knives, and to purposely mix my future set based on the fear I might look amateurish…
I imagine: New Chef 1 bought A, B, C; New Chef 2 bought B, C, A; New Chef 3 bought C, A, B… and not because one knife always fit the category better than another. They just randomly came in and bought stuff that didn’t match—on purpose—so they wouldn’t look new… Now, if the best knife, for a given price-point, in each category, was different… well that’s something I think I can live with and justify to my OCD… I think…
Preferences: My technique is completely untaught, though I do want to learn the most appropriate, most efficient technique; however, that said, I do like the way the finger guard feels on the Trident 4582, when I pinch it. It seems to anchor the knife in place. The handle is fine. But the Shuns’ are, as well. I can live with either. And while there is something about that finger guard, I can learn to live without it, if proper technique doesn’t need it. I’m totally willing to learn.
Like others, I don’t want to buy an $85 knife (knowing there’s that $150 knife out there that I should’ve bought), if it’s going to just sit in the block after I eventually spend the $150 on what I should’ve bought to begin with; only to regret that, because if I’d just spent another $30, I could’ve got THIS! Or another $40, and I could’ve had THAT! I’ve gotten so frustrated, pouring over CK2G, JCK, C&M, SLT, WS, MK, and on and on, along with every thread I could find on each knife, that I’ve almost convinced myself to live with my Tramontina… almost.
My questions are as follows:
For the $80 I’ll get selling the Shun Premier paring, is it worth keeping, or is there a better for the price?
For the $110 I’ll get selling the Shun Premier santoku, is it worth keeping (and learning to use/appreciate), or is there a better for the price? Or is it really not a recommended style to even keep?
(Truth be told, if I do abandon the Shun santoku, there’s no way I could keep the paring… and therefore would not buy anything else in the line. Idiotic, I know. It’s just how I am.)
For the $80-$120, what’s the best 240mm gyuto? Tojiro DP? Fujiwara FKM? Kanetsugu Pro-M? Kagayaki? Others?
How about in the $120-$180 range? Masamoto VG? MAC Pro? Others? Shun Premier*?
* The only reason I’d consider the Shun Premier 10” chef is: 1)-if I keep both in-possession Shuns; 2)-because it looks as if the blade has a more French profile that the Classic, though I don’t know if it’s so. If not French-profiled, the current Shuns are definitely going on eBay, and I’m starting from a clean slate.
And, then, I have to ask myself, will having an other-than-Shun chef in one of the aforementioned price ranges, while keeping the other Shuns (if that’s the general consensus), make me wish I’d have gone with a Shun chef just to satisfy my OCD? Probably, unless it’s something like a Miyabi Kaizen… which kind of matches…
Sorry so long, but I know more information—for me, anyway—helps clarify things a bit better than less info, even if it’s difficult to get through. Thanks in advance for any help.
Edited by EdSchmitz - 2/21/12 at 2:48pm