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lifelong commitment - 8" Chef, 4" Pairing & serrated knives for amateur

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I have long wanted a good set of knives (20 years).  After much research and saving have decided to invest in 8" chefs, 4" pairing and serrated bread knife.  I'm overwhelmed by the brands Global, Shun, Henkels.  Please help.  I want to buy these knives once and keep them the rest of my life. No pressure.

post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbhill View Post

I have long wanted a good set of knives (20 years).  After much research and saving have decided to invest in 8" chefs, 4" pairing and serrated bread knife.  I'm overwhelmed by the brands Global, Shun, Henkels.  Please help.  I want to buy these knives once and keep them the rest of my life. No pressure.

I'm looking for the same. 8" chef 4" paring and maybe a 6"utility. What's your budget? My purchase would be a gift to a new chef. I know I want stainless steel but still deciding between Japanese and german. Maybe I'll get him a mix of both. Please help, I was going to get shun but well respected members like BDL said there are better blades for less than what you would pay for a name like shun.
post #3 of 14

There are many opinions on this subject and some people are very passionate on this topic. Ask yurself the following:  if Shun were such crappy knives then why do they sell a lot of them and why are some top chefs seen usng them?  Are they all just whores of Shun marketing or are they perhaps using them because they are a reasonable option?  Pepin and many others aren't exactly inexpeienced nr are they just an anonymus handle on the internet with the gift of gab (not intending to be offensive towardanone who is; just saying). Beware the loud minority - they certainly have an opinion often based in fact, but that is not the only opinion out there.  Best suggestion I will make is to leave the keyboard and go to a shop where you can handle a few brands and reach your own conclusion.

 

p.s.  ratehr than gifting a knife it may be better to gift a gift certificate and let the new chef make his/her own decision.  Chef knives are like underwear... one generally doesn't want someone else choosing the style.

post #4 of 14

Really to make any type of recommendation we need more info.  All the usual stuff:

 

-left or right handed

-western or wa handle

-price range

-preferred cutting techniques

-are you good about cleaning your knife

-what products are you cutting

-are you going to learn to sharpen/maintain your knife

 

I wrote an article basically as background reading for this type of question:

 

http://www.knifeplanet.net/best-japanese-chef-knives-gyuto/

 

I thought it turned out better than that Cooks Illustrated crap anyway...

post #5 of 14
Quote:
 Chef knives are like underwear... one generally doesn't want someone else choosing the style.

 

Haha and some people go commando

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

- right handed

- no clue what western or wa handle means

- up to $500 per knife

- whatever technique the recipe calls for 

- I am OCD about taking care of stuff (work hard, buy the best I can afford, pay cash and take excellent care of everything - probably why I'm still driving my 96 Honda Accord - will have cash for dream car in 2016 but that's another post)

- cutting everything from meats to veggies (do not do bone in meat if that helps)

- lifelong commitment - these knives will look and cut like new in 20 years 

I'm sure you can tell from my answers that I'm an amateur but amateurs have to start somewhere right? 

post #7 of 14

Tell us what profile do you like more:

 

This? 

 

 

Or this? 

 

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Reply
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Reply
post #8 of 14

BTW: this is a Yo (Western) handle:

 

 

And this is a Wa (Japanese) handle:

 

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Reply
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Reply
post #9 of 14

-right handed chef knife 8"-10" 

-western handle

-$100-$300

-preferred cutting techniques: im not too sure..

-he isnt the worst with upkeep

-meats and produce

-he'll probably get it done professionally

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

 

There are many opinions on this subject and some people are very passionate on this topic. Ask yurself the following:  if Shun were such crappy knives then why do they sell a lot of them and why are some top chefs seen usng them?  Are they all just whores of Shun marketing or are they perhaps using them because they are a reasonable option?  Pepin and many others aren't exactly inexpeienced nr are they just an anonymus handle on the internet with the gift of gab (not intending to be offensive towardanone who is; just saying). Beware the loud minority - they certainly have an opinion often based in fact, but that is not the only opinion out there.  Best suggestion I will make is to leave the keyboard and go to a shop where you can handle a few brands and reach your own conclusion.


 

p.s.  ratehr than gifting a knife it may be better to gift a gift certificate and let the new chef make his/her own decision.  Chef knives are like underwear... one generally doesn't want someone else choosing the style.


Popularity is no guarantee of greatness. Shuns (and in a different way, the popular German knives) have a good distribution network and effective advertising. Most (other) Japanese knives don't. It doesn't mean Shuns are bad knives. If you love the handles and the look, like a good bit of belly to the profile, and don't mind a few chips in the blade over time, then why not?

 

But there are LOTS of other choices available via online purchase. Limiting your knife purchases to brick-and-mortar stores is a BIG limitation.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbhill View Post

 I want to buy these knives once and keep them the rest of my life. No pressure.

Advice: dont sell them, or throw them in a sink, this is very dangerous ( they cone tight back out). Problem solved.
What was the question?

Spending 1500 on three knifes is IMO silly, or crazy, or un called for, showing off, wastefull, er I dunno lots if things. But if I was rich or spending someone elses money I might find a 500$ knife also.

That kind of budget is for collectors I think, Im certainly nit that but will point you to some knives;

Go to
japanese knife imports dot com
chef knives to
Amazon

I'll recommend Tojiro Dp because that is what I went with looking for a new knife recently. 72$ on amazon.ca

About the Shun/ Global love hate, I've used a few and they are all awesome.
post #12 of 14
How do you will maintain the knives? Whether it's a $80 or $800 knife, it will dull within a few weeks of very moderate home use if not properly maintained. If so you may stretch it to three months perhaps. So tell us if you're prepared to invest time in learning sharpening. It's hardly convenient to send out a knife every few weeks, not to speak about the costs. There are just a few sharpeners in the world I would trust my knives to. Of course, if you happen to live next to Korin in NYC...
To a home user, maintenance could mean stropping on a fine stone twice a week, touching up on the penultimate and the last stone every two weeks, and have a full sharpening once every three months. All will depend on the board, the user's technique and the used blade. If you require a high end edge you have to be prepared to maintain it properly which is far from simple.
Edited by Benuser - 12/5/14 at 5:26pm
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverVeggieNut View Post
 


Popularity is no guarantee of greatness. Shuns (and in a different way, the popular German knives) have a good distribution network and effective advertising. Most (other) Japanese knives don't. It doesn't mean Shuns are bad knives. If you love the handles and the look, like a good bit of belly to the profile, and don't mind a few chips in the blade over time, then why not?

 

But there are LOTS of other choices available via online purchase. Limiting your knife purchases to brick-and-mortar stores is a BIG limitation.

All very true.  Popularity is only an indication that they meet the real or perceived needs of a lot of people.  For whatever reason; we often have no idea.  And to go one step further, celebrity endorsements or voluntary use does not indicate that there may not be a different, possibly better, option to consider.  But both tend to give genuine credibility to the product until someone can prove that one or both of those attributes are fictitious or manipulated.

 

But the value of brick-and-mortar shopping as a first option is HUGE and often underappreciated: try before you buy.  Unfortunately a lot of online purchases can only be made on the basis of referral, often by random anonymous people who may or may not have credible opinions or the same needs as the person asking advise.  Some do and clearly show their detailed knowledge in a defensible and understandable way, and some may be questionable... but one could postulate that none of them have enough established credibility beyond an anonymous handle on a specialty forum to be considered Gospel-writers.  (I'm not implying anyone in particular and I'm certainly not judging, BTW.)

 

As experience has proven to me many times in my life: try before you buy is ALWAYS a bigger benefit than limitation.  I try and if it meets my needs I buy.  I try and if it doesn't then I can consider another option like buying something folks recommend based on their needs/experience which may not be quite the same as mine.  I wouldn't call online shopping a "pig in a poke" buying experience, but it isn't quite as rich an experience as being able to handle the gear first.

 

But it's all good...  all input should be considered and applied as it seems appropriate.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by basheesh View Post


I'm looking for the same. 8" chef 4" paring and maybe a 6"utility. What's your budget? My purchase would be a gift to a new chef. I know I want stainless steel but still deciding between Japanese and german. Maybe I'll get him a mix of both. Please help, I was going to get shun but well respected members like BDL said there are better blades for less than what you would pay for a name like shun.

 

The undeniable problems with Shun are:

 

Firstly, is they are way too thick behind the edge for a J-knife, though chefs who work in the typical pro kitchen environment surrounded by German-style knives are most often accustomed to this and don't seem to care.

 

Second, and perhaps you could put this first, Shuns heat treat is known for being unreliable.  Mostly the metal comes too brittle and chips excessively, then sometimes it is too soft, and VG10 in this state is impossible to sharpen properly, I know this first hand.

 

In third place, as has been said, you can do much better performance-wise for the money.

 

The Zwilling-Henckles Myabi line are similarly high-priced, but they offer a properly thin knife which is a big plus from my perspective.

 

Both of these knives can be considered attractive and that is definitely the major appeal most people feel for them, along with the big-name brand hype and guarantees.  But if you use them they won't stay so pretty for very long.

 

 

 Aside from the possibly good recommendation of some form of gift certificate, just something to give some direction on your choices:

 

Right now I have a prejudice toward an Alloy known as HAP40.  There is very little available in it at this time, too bad as if I could find a proper slicer in it I'd order it on sight.  But check this out for an 8" chefs: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohagy21.html

 

Utility knives are not something the average chef spends a lot of money on.  A Tojiro DP petty is a top recommendation here.  Great entry-level Japanese knives, along with the Fujiwara FKM series.

 

Parers I understand are an item that chefs consider a disposable fit for all abuse for the most part and tend to buy them by the dozen.  But as something to be reserved for more delicate work I think this one is well worth the relatively modest sum, being nicely thin and of an exceptional stainless alloy used in some of the best razors.  Nothing fancy looking, the corner of the heal needs to be rounded so you don't nick yourself on it, but your recipient should be able to handle that.

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar80pakn.html

 

 

Rick

 

PS  Has anyone noticed how unreliable the word processor on this site can be?  I've had to edit this comment several times as my changes did not go through.  Minor complaint.


Edited by Rick Alan - 12/7/14 at 1:25am
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