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Advice on professional knife set.

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hey guys.
First time poster but I've been reading for a while.
Looking to invest in my first knife set and from what I've seen around here you guys have pretty solid advice and guidance.
I'm a professional cook. chef du partie and I sous chef when the chef is off.
I have a small collection at home, which are Sabatier, I have a 16cm clever and a 18cm chefs knives at home. At work I use a 25cm chef knife.
I've also used Japanese blades and was very impressed by them.

I'm looking to get a professional set for work. I know there's the divided opinion between one by one or the set at once. But more than that, I'm more interested in makes.
Even though I am highly attracted to Japanese knives I'm not sure they are what I need for work. I cook French/Mediterranean cuisine.

Anybody have any recommendations of makes that are worth their money and will hold in a professional kitchen?
I do love Sabatier's and they have yet to fail me, I just want to see what else is out there before I dive into buying anything.

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 16

I know chefs who use carbon steel gyutos daily in professional setting.  It is a different way of working and a different type of maintenance.  The big difference from your sabatier, is there is no honing or steeling.  The steel is harder and it will likely chip if you do those things.  There is sharpening on waterstones and there is touch ups on a finishing stone for maintenance.


Are you looking for carbon steel or stainless?  What's your budget?

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for carbon steel. 500€ I think could get a nice set (?)
post #4 of 16

How do you currently sharpen? How much of that budget would be used towards getting sharpening supplies?


What are you thinking you need in your set of knives?

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've just bought my first whetstone today! Sharpening supplies is not included in the budget, just the knives. Yet from what I'm reading the more delicate 'shall we say' Japanese style knifes need to be passed through a series of stones, where as a Sabatier with a 1000/1500 would be enough. So, the sharpening supplies would be in accordance with the knives.
I'm thinking; chefs, boning, fillet, serrated and paring
post #6 of 16

Awesome! What whetstone did you get?


You can get a J-knife and sharpen it just on a 1000/1500 grit stone too...it's just that you kind of get the feeling the knife can take and deserve so much more refinement. An edge taken to a higher grit will give you a different feeling in the cut, which may or may not end up mattering much to you.  I think you could say the same about the carbon Sabatier knives too. You might be able to refine and clean up burrs better by take the knife through a higher grit progression too, particularly for some stainless knives.


The Mac Pro chefs knife is one that I guess you could consider "proven" in a professional kitchen, but the price range it occupies is crowded with many options.


Are you interested in going significantly thinner than your Sabatiers? Do you prioritize a more robust feel in hand? Do any of the construction types or aesthetics of certain J-knives put you off (clad vs monosteel construction, Damascus/Kurouchi/other types of looks).


Unless you cut a lot of crusty bread, you can save some money on not getting a top of the line serrated/bread knife. May not need to spend much on a paring knife either.

post #7 of 16

Foodie518 is right about sharpening as a priority.  What you will find is that with Japanese knives, you will not always be going through a progression of stone grits every time you sharpen.  Rather, when you initially sharpen, you will go through the progression of grits.  Then, you will be using your highest grit stone for maintaining the sharpness on a very frequent basis (every few days, or even daily), and the other stones occasionally for when the knives need more work than the fine grit stone can provide (such as thinning behind the edge).


You currently have Sabatier knives.  Can you tell us the brand?  And, if you know, can you tell us the model lines?  Are the blades carbon or stainless steel?


I ask, because there's a bit of difference between brands and quite a bit of difference between carbon Sabatiers and stainless ("Inox") Sabatiers.


Foodie518 suggested a MAC Pro chef's knife.  MAC Knives are all stainless.


But if you are willing to look at a MAC, please be advised that MAC Knives are only sold through authorized national distributors, and the listed authorized distributor for France is MAC International.  The web site listing distributors by country is: http://www.mac-international.com/contact.htm


Since you are in the European Union, you might try one of the other European Union site distributors. 


If the Mac Pro (MBK-95) is more expensive (€ 198,00) than you are comfortable with on spending for a single knife, then you might consider the Mac Chef Series BK-100 chef's knife, at € 119,00..  Same steel as the MAC Pro, same thickness, and I personally cannot find any difference in stiffness between the two knives.  The principal difference is the lack of a metal bolster and a slight angle difference in the angle between the handle and the principal flat of the blade. 


For a Japanese carbon blade, I'm going to refer you to a list drawn up by a former participant on this forum, Boar D. Laze, who listed a number of excellent Japanese knives on one of his blogs, here: http://www.cookfoodgood.com/?p=190


Mind you, the list is somewhat dated (6 years old).  And BDL is / was very personally opinionated.  And the list really isn't linked to any purchasing sites, so you will need to decipher a bit of the names and references.


But, it's a list which gives you reasons for why BDL liked or was willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a significant number of knives.


And it's a start.



Galley Swiller

post #8 of 16

As far as stones go there are a number of inexpensive combi stones to choose from.


For a serrated knife maybe all you want is a cheap nsf blade from your local supply house.  MAC makes one that is outstanding, Tojiro also.


Fillet knife, Mad Cow Cutlery has nice ones in AUS-8 steel.  You might also look into the Bubba Blade.  Then on the Yo side there is the Deba.


Paring knife, ya really wanna spend money here?


Boning, you might want to try Yoshihiro Daisu powdered steel Honkotsu.


Carbon steel Gyuto:  Laser, midweight or heavyweight?  Rugged, super hard or somewhere in between?  And how big?

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Oh nothing special, a double sided 400/1500 and once I get the hang of them I'll invest in better quality stones.

ERM, about thinness I'm not sure to be honest, I'm very comfortable with Western knives and the time I did try J knives I had no knife skills. Recently though i have used J steel with a western build and handle. No idea what knife make it was, it just had J writing engraved on the blade and it was surprisingly beautiful on the eyes, in the hand and just cut beautifully.
I don't really like the standard J handles that I've seen, but I am very attracted by the steel efficiency. Kramer knife's would be what I'm looking for if I had to name on brand purely on aesthetics ... But the price!!

I have K-Sabatier stainless steel. There okay knives and respond in accordance to price. Then I have a really cheap no brand which is thierry steel which cuts surprisingly well.

For the paring,no I don't want to spend much money, same for the serrated.
For the chefs, mid weight, somewhere in between and 25cm is good.

I'll take a look around the links and recommendations.
Edited by couteau - 1/29/16 at 4:24am
post #10 of 16

I really like the itinomonn line in general for the price/performance.  I have a 240 stainless clad carbon, and a 210mm stainless, and the wa butcher.   I love my wa butcher http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/itinomonn-kurouchi-170mm-wa-butcher/  In fact i bought a 2nd one as a backup.  It's a very thick knife and tough, but if you chip it it's like chipping a deba, you have to remove lots of metal to fix it.  So sharpen it with obtuse angles and microbevel for sure. 


Since you're in France, here are some great sites with free worldwide shipping to consider:







post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

Oh that butchers is real nice!!!


So if I'd go with a J style, would I also need a western style for more heavy duty work? (Chefs). That seems to be the conclusions of what I read, they seem overall magnificent knifes but are not really created to endure what a western chefs knife is put through. Or is that a more globalized opinion and it really depends on the actual Gyuto you pick out that would depend the abuse you can put it through? or is it wiser to have a western chefs at hand for when you need to crack and smack them bones?
I mean last thing anyone would want is accidentally destroying their gorgeous knife just for not having something a little more heavy duty at hand.

post #12 of 16

For those knife abuse tasks, get a knife that is meant for it.  A heavy cleaver sharpened at an obtuse angle is the most budget friendly.  I have this one from Thailand made by a company that makes coconut chopping machetes.  This thing hasn't chipped on me so far.   It might be indestructible!  I've used it to split chicken backs, bones, lobsters, and even coconut without any problems




EDIT:  by the way I used the 'Make an offer' option and he accepted $28

post #13 of 16

I'd add the Tanaka in blue#2 along with the Itonomin as another good choice of gyuto, it's less money also.



I guess it wouldn't be bad to have a beater knife for splitting squash and such.


I'd add a finer stone to your collection, at least a 4K, I prefer 6K.  I also feel that a more refined edge hold up better.  Another thing to consider is that the better quality stones sharpen faster and typically last longer.

post #14 of 16

I had a Tanaka blue #2 in fact, so I can compare the two.  I liked it but it needed thinning out of the box.  The itinomonn is a great cutter right away.  The difference in cutting experience is night and day.


Oh and there's that pesky reactivity issue with the soft iron cladding.  The itinomonn on the other hand is stainless clad.

post #15 of 16

You can take Millions word on that.


Also I goofed recommending American suppliers, and also that the Jero knives sold by Mad Cow are just German Stainless, not AUS-8

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

Awesome! Thanks for all the advice. It's given me enough information to start doing some specific research to be able to invest in a quality set of knives!

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