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Knife Sets?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I just started working as a Sous Chef and Catering Chef for Aramark.  The knives they have available to use can barely even be called knives and my set just isn't cutting it anymore (it's the set I recieved when I enrolled in culinary school about 4 years ago).  Can anyone reccomend a good knife set that won't destroy my bank account? 

post #2 of 10

Most of the folks on here, who know what they are talking about, will advise you to shy away from sets.

 

You can get better knives for the same money, or save a few dollars with the recommendations you will get here.

 

I found this, and a couple of other sites before I made any mistakes, fortunately.

 

Good Luck.

post #3 of 10
check out the richmond artifex line from chefknivestogo

=D
post #4 of 10
Have no personal experience with them. Have a look at Taz575's regrinding job on CKTG, and see the original geometry. Clearly project knives who need a lot of work.
post #5 of 10

You almost certainly need at least a few new knives, but no one can make a sensible recommendation without at least knowing what your duties are and what sort of budget you have. 

 

If you don't already know how to sharpen proficiently and already own an appropriate sharpening kit, those will be immediate priorities as well. 

 

BDL

post #6 of 10

To add to BDL's questions what did you have from culinary school and what has been your sharpening scheme the last 4 years?

 

Many student sets are either Victorinox, Dexter, Mercer, or German makes like Wusthof or Messermeister. What is yours?

 

All the aforementioned brands are adequate to good and can be resharpened pretty easily. Are yours just really dull or ground down? You may want to resharpen and keep the chef knife around for heavy tasks like splitting chickens or other abusive scenarios or sketchy kitchen with a lot of knife theft. A Masamoto or other J knife will have a lot more theft appeal than a Victorinox Fibrox.

 

You can spend any amount you want but it will go dull so a maintenance plan is equally important as a new blade.

 

Jim

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by souschefb View Post

 my set just isn't cutting it anymore (it's the set I recieved when I enrolled in culinary school about 4 years ago). 

In what way are they no longer acceptable? Do you feel that you have outgrown your knives and are looking to upgrade or are you just no longer able to keep a good sharp edge. I ask because in my experience the working life of a knife even in a professional environment should well exceed 4 years. If it is the latter reason some attention and work should be able to remedy that scenario and enable you get more working years out of your knives.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

You almost certainly need at least a few new knives, but no one can make a sensible recommendation without at least knowing what your duties are and what sort of budget you have. 

 

If you don't already know how to sharpen proficiently and already own an appropriate sharpening kit, those will be immediate priorities as well. 

 

BDL

My duties vary day to day. One day I could be doing something as simple as cutting fruits and veggies for catering pick-ups, the next day I could be breaking down a whole salmon for fillets. It seems like I'm always cutting chicken or slicing up portions from beef and pork tenderloins. I do a lot of everything. Since taking this job, I have noticed that I have three go-to knives, which are my chef, cleaver and paring knives.

 

Budget wise, I would like to be able to get a new chef, cleaver and paring knife without going over $300-$350 total for right now. 

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post

In what way are they no longer acceptable? Do you feel that you have outgrown your knives and are looking to upgrade or are you just no longer able to keep a good sharp edge. I ask because in my experience the working life of a knife even in a professional environment should well exceed 4 years. If it is the latter reason some attention and work should be able to remedy that scenario and enable you get more working years out of your knives.

 

I definitely feel as if I have outgrown my knives.  These Mercer knives have been dependable for the past four years, they did get me through culinary school and a few odd jobs after I graduated.   But they no longer feel right in my hands, honestly.  They've started to feel light in my hand and I'm the type of person that prefers a little weight to my knives.  I feel like it's taking too much force to even slice through green onions when it should just be gliding right through them, even after proper sharpening (I've always taken VERY good care of my knives.  They're less of a utensil and more of an extension of my own arm, an appendage even).

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by souschefb View Post

 

I definitely feel as if I have outgrown my knives.  These Mercer knives have been dependable for the past four years, they did get me through culinary school and a few odd jobs after I graduated.   But they no longer feel right in my hands, honestly.  They've started to feel light in my hand and I'm the type of person that prefers a little weight to my knives.  I feel like it's taking too much force to even slice through green onions when it should just be gliding right through them, even after proper sharpening (I've always taken VERY good care of my knives.  They're less of a utensil and more of an extension of my own arm, an appendage even).

 

Sharpness should be more of a factor of how easily it should be able to slice through food; even with a lighter knife as long as it's sharp it'll be practically effortless. I'm surprised to hear you think Mercers are lighter, as I have their usuba and used other styles and feel they're pretty hefty. That said, even taking them to stones... for me personally I can't get a great edge out of them compared to numerous other brands.

 

If you're looking for weight, you should look into mostly german knives. I have a Wusthofs for home and (keeping with the european region) have a Victorinox in my expendables set for work. For industry kitchens and home, I still favor Japanese blades for their edge retention and easiness of sharpening. 

 

If you have access to a place to personally hold a knife in your hand, then that is highly recommended. Depending on where you may be working, don't forget you can draw from your fellow co-workers' experiences and opinons as well (sometimes even trying out their preferred knives).

'A fool can't act the wise, but the wise can act a fool...' - Kweli

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'A fool can't act the wise, but the wise can act a fool...' - Kweli

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