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Help selecting chef knife (gyutou)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for looking (and helping).  I am looking for new chef knife, and need some input.  I'll get some info in here, and if you have any follow ups, please post and I'll get back when I can.

 

Cooking Experience:

I worked at a better than average chop/steak/seafood restaurant for 12 years.  I probably put in 2-3,000 hours in food prep/line prep, and about the same as a meat cutter (carving up sirloin butts, NY strips and tenderloins).  For both, I used knives supplied by our restaurant, which were mostly 8" Dexter sani-safe and Vic/Forschner chef knifes, and 10-12" Vic/Forschner cimenter (used a 12" butcher knife for a while).  We had a sharpening service, so I used a steel, but rarely used a stone back then.  Currently would consider myself a cooking enthusiast and use my kitchen daily, usually 2xday, but certainly don't put my equipment through restaurant level wear and tear.  I use a pinch grip.  I now own some Naniwa 400/1000 and 3000/6000 stones and a ceramic hone.  I am getting comfortable using them, perhaps somewhere around adept or good, but not excellent.  Regardless, certainly better than ceramic wheel sharpener I had been using.  I am 5'10", 195lbs, and have larger than average hands (L and XL ski and prep gloves).  Left handed.

 

Current Knives:

Global 8" chef; Global 10" chef; dexter sani-safe 12" butcher; dexter 10" slicer; misc. Global and Wustoff paring knives; Dexter offset 9" bread knife; Global filet knife; no name cleaver from 99 cent store (best dollar i ever spent!).

 

Type of knives I have narrowed down to:

Masamoto VG or Mac Pro.  Might look at Kikuichi TKC for a little more if it is worth it.  Kind of like the Korin Togiharu Nickel Damascus visually, but have absolutely no info on it.  The Zwilling Kramers are interesting, but a fair amount more, and I am not sure the additional bells and whistles on that (real and perceived) are justified in my case.

 

What I like and don't like about my current knives:

The Global G2 (8") is feather light and has a good balance in my hand. I feels more like a smaller (6 or 7") petty.  It just feels a bit flimsy to me, and now my wife uses it primarily as her go to prep knife.  It was a gift, so no harm done.  I did like the look of the globals and they performed better than any knife I had owned in the past, so I stayed with them and got the forged 10".  The length of the blade is fine with me, but it is very flat and doesn't have much belly.  What belly is does have only comes out towards the tip.  I do miss a "taller" blade with more belly.  I tend to like a pretty stiff chef knife (a complaint I have about the G2, but the 10" seems stiffer).  I really do want a japanese knife, but it doesn't have to be SS. 

 

As for size, a 240 seems about right...210 too short and 270 probably a bit long, especially if it mostly flat, but would look at a 270 if it had some belly to it.

 

As for handles, I would prefer something like POC or pakka.  Truthfully, handles don't matter a ton to me - I seem to adjust without much issue.  The kramer zwillings felt a bit odd at first in my pinky through middle finger, but it wasn't anything substantial and I know that after another couple minutes with the knife, it would be forgotten.

 

As for weight, I have always been drawn towards middle of the road german blades and the heavier of the japanese blades.  Balance can dramatically impact the perceived weight of a knife, and I acknowledge that. 

 

I tend to by drawn towards taller knives (i.e. blade height at heel of blade) and somewhere between French and German shapes...leaning towards German.   If I could find a Wustoff Classic 9" with japanese styling and grind, it would probably be close to 'right'.

 

Many of the knives I have looked at are not available to demo, so I am kind of going on photos and forum discussions. 

 

Any thoughts?

post #2 of 14

I would try out Cooks Illustrated Favorite, Victorinox, you may just like it, for the price it is a no risk purchase

Happy cooking, Andy

post #3 of 14

A member also posted elsewhere that they prefer the Dexter-Russel line of knives as shown here.  My feeling is that either the DR line or Forschner knives would be a good starting point at learning knife skills.  And once they're honed, then you can move on to something more expensive.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. Used those knives for years, moved away from them to J knives about 6 years ago and looking to stay with J knives.

While I am not working in kitchens any longer, I am comfortable in saying that my knife skills are solid. Time to step up from the global forged to something else.

Keep the suggestions coming...
post #5 of 14

I use a MAC Professional and absolutely love it. From reading your original post it seems like it might be a good choice for you, but hard for anyone else to say what would work for you. I describe it is a good cross between a German and Japanese style.

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 #6 of 14
I own a 210mm Masamoto VG, however I've never tried the equivalent Mac Pro so I can't give a comparison based on experience.

For me, the Masamoto is spot on. It feels a lot lighter than my other knives (inc a Tojiro and a Lion Sabatier), and possibly a bit 'flexy' or less stiff. I was tossing up between the Masamoto and Mac Pro too, and if I recall correctly I read the Mac is a bit stiffer.

I also own a Mac bread knife and paring knife, and to my hand the Masamoto has a nicer handle - the edges on the mac are...sharper. I also like the feel of the plastic handle more than the wood of the Macs.

In terms of blade sharpness and edge retention, I find it is good but needs fairly frequent honing.

There are quite a few threads on this forum which talk about the pros and cons of both knives so I'd definitely encourage you to have a look around for them as they're a treasure trove of information!biggrin.gif
post #7 of 14
As the OP comes from German knives, a 270 middle weight Japanese may do. Not exactly a light weight, well balanced for a pinch-gripper, not too flat, a Hiromoto 270mm gyuto.

Hiro270.jpg
post #8 of 14

The Hiromoto AS is an excellent knife and yes it's heavier than my other J-knives, but man it's a workhorse.  I have the 270 and it's a little shorter than some of my other 270s, but very nimble for its weight.  They do benefit from thinning behind the cutting edge though as they can be wedgy some out of the box. 

post #9 of 14
Recently they've changed their grinding and they come now quite thin behind the edge out of the box. Earlier versions had the clad going almost til the very edge, especially at the left side. Now, the core there is fairly freed, as the photo shows with a brand new after one day of use.
post #10 of 14

I have an older version and it's asymmetrically ground, but every time it goes on the stones it gets a little thinner. :thumb: 

 

Great knives though I love mine and it just plowed through a big veg prep for dinner tonight and I didn't break a sweat. 

post #11 of 14

You sound like me in your desire for a knife with some weight/feel behind it as well as some of the benefits of a light sharp knife. Good Luck! You want the belly of a German knife along with the heft but also the finesse and (hardness) of Japanese Steel. Perhaps you would be better off  in your purchase instead of the 1 knife for all tasks get 2 knives of the same caliber but each better suited for there tasks. This is the ultimate question on the forum but if you really get in to the food prep we all have our favorite knives for the task at hand. Just start collecting if you can afford it and use them as needed. Its really a lot of fun! 

The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the input. Went with the Masamoto VG 240mmm. Arrived today. Pulled out of the box and gripped the knife - perfect match. Love that feeling when a knife feels like an extension of your arm.

Also picked up a masakage mizu petty 150mm. Gonna try a carbon blade with wa handle and see how it goes.

Why the Masamoto? I tried the MAC and it felt light and I didn't like the graphics. I could easily buff out the graphics. But when you are spending close to $200, you kinda want it 'right' from the get-go, don't you? smile.gif

Another deciding factor - the Masamoto is noticeably heavier - 9.2 oz vs. 7.8 oz. The knife the Masamoto is replacing - a 240mm Global gyuto - is 8.9 oz. I liked the extra bit of heft, but it feels very maneuverable, almost flashy. Kind of feels like a Hummer that drives like a Ferrari.

I also like the Masamoto blade profile a bit more.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefboy2160 View Post

You sound like me in your desire for a knife with some weight/feel behind it as well as some of the benefits of a light sharp knife. Good Luck! You want the belly of a German knife along with the heft but also the finesse and (hardness) of Japanese Steel. Perhaps you would be better off  in your purchase instead of the 1 knife for all tasks get 2 knives of the same caliber but each better suited for there tasks. This is the ultimate question on the forum but if you really get in to the food prep we all have our favorite knives for the task at hand. Just start collecting if you can afford it and use them as needed. Its really a lot of fun! 

I have a fair amount of knives already. I like that the Masamoto has a fair amount of curve on the top edge over the last 1/3 or so of the blade. it definitely has some shaping reminiscent of German chef knives. Putting my Global 240mm gyuto on top of it, you can really see the difference between the global flat top edge and the curve on the Masamoto. The Masamoto kicks butt - I am VERY happy with my choice. Gonna put it on the whetstones tomorrow. smile.gif
post #14 of 14

Have fun! Glad it feels good in your hand........

The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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