Let me save you a few hundred dollars.
I cook, a lot. A whole lot.
If you are going to make the purchase, you don't need to spend a million dollars. Yes, the high end Chef's knives are trendy, forged, and, usually, nice to look at. But, I'm here to tell you, you do not need to spend more than about $30-50 for one of the best Chef's knives available. I've been using it for two years, and it cuts and handles better than much more expensive knives I've owned.
Victorinox Forschner makes a Chef's knife, with a food safe Fibrox handle, that can be washed in the dishwasher, with no ill effect, and it hones to a razor sharp edge and holds it. It does everything a $250 knife does. This knife consistently wins Cooks Illustrated's Chef's knife competition.
If you have to have it, they do make versions with wooden handles.
Follow this link.
That said, buying a Chef a Chef's knife is usually a bad idea. You have to be familiar with her knife preferences, length, weight, knife technique, etc. Just buying her a knife, and spending a ton of money on it, might not work out in the end.
Tell her your plan and get her input. You can get her a knife she'll be happy to use.
Last edited by Jack19; 06-30-2012 at 03:44 PM.
Please be aware you may get technically excellent J-knives at a reasonable price as well, think between $75-150. Examples: Fujiwara, JCK Kagayaki, Hiromoto. The price difference with the Victorinox is due to the far better steels, and somewhat better F&F.
The Victorinox are nice knives but have to be steeled in permanence. They are simply worn out within one or two years in a pro kitchen.
What you describe is perfectly normal with soft steel. In my country almost all butchers use them, and steel before every task. By the way, a typical Victorinox chef's knife angle will mesure 35-40 degree, a Japanese some 25-30 degree inclusive.
Last edited by Benuser; 07-01-2012 at 12:48 PM.
I would avoid buying any higher end knives from any walk in stores. You will pay a big time premium there. Go into those stores just to look and see what you like, then order the knives online!
I bought my Shun Classic chef's knife and utility knife online, and got them for about 60% of what I wouldve paid at Williams-Sonoma. So why buy it there?
Secondly, you simply cant go wrong with the Shun knives. get the higher end model knives though. They make cheaper, moderate quality knives too, but they also make several high end series. The Classic is the entry level high end Shun series. Then there's the Premier, the Kaji, Fuji, Elite, etc. All these are better than pretty much ANY of the German knives..... Japanese knives seem to be better than German knives as a rule these days.
Certainly dont waste your money on the JA Henckels Twin Signature knives. Total junk....... I bought a 7 piece set 3 years ago for $110, and they were truly worse than previous $20 sets we've owned in the past! I know that $110 isnt much money for a 7 piece set, but it certainly should be better than a $20 set!
For a higher end 7 piece set like the Shun Classic expect to pay at least $450, but you need to really look around online and compare prices. You can go on Ebay and find sellers selling these knives on auction and some times they go for 50-70% of retail.
Last edited by HighlanderNorth; 07-03-2012 at 10:43 AM.
To OP, go hang out on KitchenKnifeForums - alot of very knowledgable ppl about kitchen knives & sharpening there. Keep in mind, that the forum owner seriously dislike CKTG.
For $350, you sure can get a nice starter assemble of jknives: 240mm gyuto white#2, 180mm petty/util blue or white, small cleaver/deba.
I have heard many, many great things about these knives. Excellent performers with a price tag not too high.
<deal spot removed>
Last edited by Morrow; 07-03-2012 at 12:51 PM.
Off topic: Don, how are your 1080 knives coming along?
Edited - 2 are in the mail - <deal spot link removed> - great introduction into the carbon world for ppl like non-pointed edges. I will force patina them.
Last edited by Morrow; 07-03-2012 at 12:53 PM. Reason: Nakiri anyone?
Could it be that it is less about the steel and blade shape on the Victorinox and more about the handle comfort ? This is just my observation and please chime in here with your opinions but I think most kitchen knives are uncomfortable . Little skinny flat handles that are not designed for the pinch grip most american chefs are taught to use . Very non ergonomic and not very controllable if your hands are slippery . This is one of the major reasons I feel Victorinox cooks knives are a staple for so many cooks. Price aside for a moment . Isn't this the reason or at least a major contributing factor ? I can't for the life of me understand the standard kitchen knife handle design . Seems more about ease of manufacture than ease of use . Am I wrong here ?
I agree with Mr.Onion. In my opinion, the handle feel, weight and balance are as important as the kind of steel. You're not going to use an uncomfortable knife. I like Forschner (Victorinox), but at that level, I prefer the Kershaw 9900 series. They have better handles. I almost never use a paring knife, but I do have relatives that never use anything else. I much prefer a boning knife. My current favorite is a Mora Frost - best handle ever and it holds an edge almost as well as my Bob Kramer carbon steel chef's knife.
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