First off, disclaimer, I'm NOT a chef, even a home chef, as much as my family thinks I am--I don't have the skills, I'm just good at following recipes and following my instincts. I do have a Shun Classic, 8" chef, I got it for $60 because there's a couple 1/4mm nicks in the edge. And surprisingly, despite me being left-handed, it seems to fit very well-- though I've barely used it, I want to learn how to sharpen it right, first.
It's gorgeous, but I've been researching and I'm realizing more and more that while it's a 'good' knife, it's more show than performance. I also know that it won't be 'good' until I can fix the edge, I've got a 400/1000/3000 waterstone set I'm learning on with some of my cheap knives, like mom's old $5 Ginsu "cook's knife" that's half straight edged and half scalloped/serrated (stamped stainless, so beat up the edge's rolled over in places)
But I want more, I want to *learn*, there aren't any cooking schools around, or anyplace I can really go to learn, other than teaching myself, and asking "the experts". I don't want to be just 'a cook', I want to be a good cook, I don't know if I’ll ever get to the point I'd deserve the title 'chef', though I'd like to someday.
I've been taught for years, even back when I went thru a 'swords are awesome' phase as a kid, "The right blade is an extension of your hand, your thoughts" -- it needs to fit you. I know better than to delude myself into thinking I need to drop $1,000 on a Kiritsuke on amazon, or even $900 on a Shun classic student set, to be "a chef". It's the skills more than the knife, but I want a good knife even so, it'll help. I want something good, that'll keep an edge, last me to 10/20/30yrs if maintained right... I want a knife (or knives) that can travel with me along that 'road to being a chef', without costing close to a month's income for a set. (i.e. $700/800/900+)
This Shun was an impulse buy, mainly because I know enough to know it'll keep an edge if I treat it right and it's, admittedly, a beautiful knife. (I nearly fainted when I saw the Fuji line on eBay, those are outright gorgeous, but works of art more than 'working knives'... but the price is enough to give you a heart attack!)
But enough of my 02:30 rambling, I came here for questions!
1. I'd prefer a Japanese knife (fond of the bevel mainly), but realistically I'm not sure if it'd work for 'general use' in my situation, I don't know what's out there though other than names and hearsay, don't know what's good, what's junk, what's overpriced mediocrity. So, I'm asking you... where do I start? The "kitchen outlet store" downtown has some Wusthof and Henkels, but it's their bottom end lines, best I can tell not much better than stainless ('primero' and 'gourmet' I think, though they had a 'twin star' or two that were factory 2nds, but no chefs in that line)
2. I don't think there's a "Real" cutlery store closer than 150+ miles from here (ironically about the same as the Shun factory!) -- Is there anything I can get that IS 'good' without going into a store? Or, assuming I can (it's a bit hard to travel that far), how would I know what's "right"? All I've known are what I've grown up with are cheap 'Wal-Mart' or 'goodwill' stuff, I know enough I can tell this Shun is worlds above that when I hold it, same with the Wusthof I got a chance to try, my friend got one of those gourmet line Santoku's. But I don't know I'd know 'feels like good quality' from 'feels *right*'... any thoughts?
3. And, lastly... assuming I do end up with a good knife, one that'll last and be 'a real Chef's Knife'..... how can I learn the rest? Knife skill, knife care, prep skills, all the other stuff I don't know that I want to know? I'll never be a Masaharu Morimoto, Geoffrey Zakarian, or a Bobby Flay, much less a Wolfgang Puck or Jamie Oliver.....
But I want to *learn*, want to see... the food inside the ingredients, to paraphrase Michelangelo, learn what goes together, WHY it goes together, HOW it goes together. I've picked up fragments- good eats, chopped, iron chef... but the latter two are more showmanship than show-you-how, to say the least. So, I take what I pick up from them with a grain of salt. I read, I watch YouTube teaching videos (far less useful than I thought in the beginning!), but I don't know the next step, or even if I can take the next step, not having anyone/anyplace around to teach me?
Help? Comments, thoughts, criticism, insight? Anyone?
......whack upside the head for posting a book?