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Knives for a career Bartender

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Currently I utilize relatively low end knives at home while cooking. At work I use a variety of knives the only one I own is a paring knife (zwilling twin four star 4"). We cut massive amounts of citrus, think 500 pieces of fruit daily. More occasionally I end up prepping large items like watermelons or difficult items like sugacane. In addition to the paring knife I use a cheap Victorinox channel knife for some of my garnish work. Most often for all the Citrus prep I end up using a large bread knife that the restaurant owns. My normal method involves taking all the ends off and standing it in an end, then sawing through roughly 80% of the fruit and twisting the knife to split the fruit in half so it is still stuck together by a hairs width of skin, that allows for a single shallow cut down the middle of the fruit do that it will fit in glasses, finally I line all the fruit up and cut 3-4 at a time into slices. Unfortunately the bread knife is the only thing I have long enough for this process that is hugely time-saving. But I expect there are more appropriate knives for the job.

After a little bit of reading I think I am looking for a five and a half to seven inch santoku, and a full size chef knife for the larger items and enmass citrus preparation. Potentially also another pairing knife that matches.

Outside of the Citrus preparation before my shift most of the cutting is done in front of guests. That leads me to be looking for knives that are good on show. Since some of the ships were nice enough to let me handle their Japanese knives, I think I am looking for a Wa handle. From a show perspective, I also have a soft spot for the Damascus style Steel. My craft encourages me to showboat for tips any way I can though it really isn't my style.

I noticed on other threads, you often ask about sharpening and previous knife experience. I also do work on fishing boats in off season and end up doing thousands upon thousands of filets. So my sharpening experience is limited to low end filet knives and utility kniveso. My utility knives are relatively soft H1 "steel" to avoid rust, but have to be constantly sharpened. The only sharpener I own is a spyderco sharpmaker which uses triangular ceramic rods, and a steel honing rod.

I am looking for recommendations on knives that will last indefinitely and the equipment needed to maintain them. My budget budget is let's say 400-600 US. I'm excited to see what suggestions you may have as I am finding the shopping process quite overwhelming.

Thanks
post #2 of 17
What tasks are you hoping to accomplish with a santoku that won't be covered by the chef's or paring?
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Nothing in particular I suppose, it's really an issue of day to day space. Dieing prep I use a full size cutting board, after that I have extremely limited space once service begins. At that point my paring knife isn't big enough to make nice clean cuts on big fruit. Fine for lime, but questionable with oranges and grapefruit.
post #4 of 17
https://www.mtckitchen.com/takamura-hsps-paring-knife-150mm/ you might enjoy something like this as the 6 inch knife. Not as tall as a santoku but more agile, high edge retention, very thin
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help, perhaps it is a failure of technique, in fact I'm certain that is a contributing factor, but I was to understand that the taller knife would make it easier to accomplish straight cuts. When I tryour to make hemispheric cuts through large citrus with a traditional paring I tend to end up with wedge like rings fatter on either the top or bottom of the slice. Would the taller knife not help achieve more uniform rounds of fruit?
post #6 of 17

You have a point, and so there is also their 210 gyuto, very thin, effectively thinner than the petty due to the extra height and taper, but not at all tall for a gyuto.  Despite the name shown I believe these are the Migaki line and are R2 powdered steel, not your ordinary stainless all, very fine grained and very good edge retention.  They do make a santoku, but the gyuto provides a better tip and is not as tall, but plenty tall enough for what you are doing.

 

As far as maintenance, a cheap 1k/6k combo water stone will be fine.  No Steels!  Just a few strops light on the 6k, and it won't require that very often in comparison to your other knives.

 

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=king+combination+waterstone&sprefix=king+combination%2Caps%2C180

 

 

Or go full boat with the Geshin line.

 

https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/collections/stone-sets-and-combo-stones/products/gesshin-1000-6000-combo-stone

 

https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/collections/stone-sets-and-combo-stones/products/gesshin-stone-set


Edited by Rick Alan - 9/15/16 at 6:53pm
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheekermonkey View Post

Thanks for the help, perhaps it is a failure of technique, in fact I'm certain that is a contributing factor, but I was to understand that the taller knife would make it easier to accomplish straight cuts. When I tryour to make hemispheric cuts through large citrus with a traditional paring I tend to end up with wedge like rings fatter on either the top or bottom of the slice. Would the taller knife not help achieve more uniform rounds of fruit?

hemispheric cuts meaning your intent is to end up cutting discs? 

I don't necessarily think the paring knife being not a tall knife is a problem unless you're saying that in addition to one end of the cut being thinner/thicker than the other, that also the thickness of the slice is wavy (thicker then thinner then thicker again). Otherwise it reads to me like an inconsistency with angling the cut to be exactly parallel with the previous cut and the fact that citrus doesn't have a flat end to set it on certainly adds to that difficulty

 

Here's my bling suggestion http://www.knivesandstones.com/syousin-suminagashi-by-shiro-kamo/ Another R2 Powdered steel knife, stainless which seems important with what you prep, wa handle, another laser-ish kind of knife

post #8 of 17
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by foody518 View Post

hemispheric cuts meaning your intent is to end up cutting discs? 
I don't necessarily think the paring knife being not a tall knife is a problem unless you're saying that in addition to one end of the cut being thinner/thicker than the other, that also the thickness of the slice is wavy (thicker then thinner then thicker again). Otherwise it reads to me like an inconsistency with angling the cut to be exactly parallel with the previous cut and the fact that citrus doesn't have a flat end to set it on certainly adds to that difficulty

Here's my bling suggestion http://www.knivesandstones.com/syousin-suminagashi-by-shiro-kamo/ Another R2 Powdered steel knife, stainless which seems important with what you prep, wa handle, another laser-ish kind of knife

That is exactly what is happening, wavy fruit lol. Can you show me a link to the knife you are talking about?

I've never heard of Nakiri style before. Can that be used for slicing? Why the blunt tip?
post #10 of 17

Nakiri is used for fruit and veg.  Think of it like an extra short chinese cleaver.   Not having a tip makes it extra useful in close quarters.

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheekermonkey View Post


That is exactly what is happening, wavy fruit lol. Can you show me a link to the knife you are talking about?

I was referring to the gyutos in the URL I linked above for a bling main chef's knife suggestion

post #12 of 17

For what you're doing you can probably get away with one knife that's like 6" long whether it's a nakiri, a santoku, or a petty depending on if you need a tip or not.  You don't really need an 8" + chefs shape and a paring.  

 

Maybe something like this:

 

http://korin.com/Suisin-Inox-Petty?sc=27&category=8549938

post #13 of 17

Many very cogent suggestions here.  Very true if tip doesn't matter and space considerations trump here then Nikiris make great sense.

 

I will add that the Shiro Kamo line is not laser thin overall, but they are very thin at the edge.  And their 150 petty is unusually tall for a petty also.

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shkar2da.html

 

Do let us know what looks best to you.


Edited by Rick Alan - 9/17/16 at 3:26pm
post #14 of 17

I have a couple suggestions:

205056.jpg

Zyliss Fresh Cut Salad Knife, Green

 

 

 

These would be good for a bartender! Let me know how they work out :)

post #15 of 17

Well Someday, scissors and hacksaws can certainly mash through fruit and other produce, but there is a reason why Japanese knives for the purpose are often sharper than the typical razor.

 

And especially if my income where dependent of tips I would want my patrons to see that I cared more about them than having them see me using tools from the dollar-store.

post #16 of 17
No offense intended, but I'll bet most folks judge a bartender and tip based on service and quality of the drink rather than what tool is used to make it. I'm quite sure Someday was kidding. I laughed.
post #17 of 17

All right, all right, no more embarrassing remarks at the expense of the autsitic kid here.  ;-)~

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