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Needing a Chef's knife for work.

Discussion in 'Kitchen Cutlery & Tools' started by xxspeakxx, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. xxspeakxx


    Jan 26, 2014
    They're getting ready to start training me to cut/prep the meat at work and for that I need a knife that can withstand 8-14hrs of continuous use daily.

    My price range is up to about $200

    Aside from the basics (quality build, comfort, steel, etc.) one thing I'm needing is that it needs to be recognizable. This is more or less to keep it getting accidentally mixed in with the basic kitchen cutlery that the restaurant provides.

    3 picks so far



  2. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    Forget the second one. #1 doesn't do much for me either. For under $200, maybe the Misano UX-10 210mm gyuto?
  3. jc57

    jc57 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2012
    Left you a visitor message with more information.
  4. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    A couple of fast thoughts
    Pakkawood and Dymond wood might not be the best choice, they are not as heat and water resistant as a full plastic or rubber handle. look for knives with a more neutral handle shape as you will be able to use more grip options, this limits your RSI risk, although its still a thing to think about.

    I'd go with whats good enough for now, something that you know you can keep sharp, and cheap enough to find out if you like the style. Not much point spending 200 on an asian style knife when you decide you like a french better. Your restaurant should be able to get you a knife at a wholesale price or at least let you browse the catalog. None of the knives you listed look like they are NSF so that might be a limiting factor.

    Recognizable is an easy fix, just a few small notches in the spine will mark it as yours, and if its a cheapy, no one will walk away with it. It all depends on your kitchen, but thats something to keep in mind.
  5. Bazzle


    Dec 17, 2013
    gadgetgeet said it well.
    If your prepping, a nice heavy western knife will get it done much faster than a thin japanese knife. Of course this is an opinion.
    My pic would be a 10" and 14" chefs knife. The 14" is nice fore big heads of cabbage, slicing huge chunks of bacon, etc.. The 10" will be used 95% of the time. If kept sharp it will cut anything you ask it to!
    Check out Mundial. Not as sexy looking as what you had in mind but cheaper and much better quality.
    Use house knives to cut random things.
  6. DANG OL'

    DANG OL'

    Feb 2, 2016
    As in you'll be moving to strictly meat prep?

    What type of meat prep does your restaurant expect of you? Skinning? Breaking down primals? Cutting through bone? Deboning? Precise slicing?

    I would not recommend "one knife to rule them all," especially in a professional environment. Knives are purpose built. This is the same issue with trying to find a do-it-all, can-only-take-one survival knife. It's a compromise of several styles mashed into one.

    Rather than spend $200 on a single knife, buy several moderately priced as part of a kit. Depending on the type of work; look into cimetars, traditional butchers, breaking knives, boning knives (stiff and flexible), and cleavers. I get by with just a large Dexter Russell cimetar and Forschner stiff boner (HARHAR) for deboning and breaking down pork shoulders at my work. Oh and of course a quality honing steel on-station.

    Avoid things like Globals and most wood handled knives. They start to slip as your hands get greasy from animal fat. Slipping with a very sharp knife meant to go through flesh is a bad idea.

    If you're worried about getting your knives mixed up or messed up, clean them yourself immediately after use. Don't throw it in the dishpit and expect it to be okay.
  7. nate1714


    Apr 16, 2005
    I know a few Chef's, some bought entire kits for $500 or so others parted together a kit with the few knives they needed/would use. A constant winner is the Victorinox Fibrox Chef's Knife, 8-Inch. Also it has won the past 5 times on America's Test kitchen. For the price its a must have.
  8. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 1, 2013
    One of my sharpening accounts is A butcher shop here in Santa Monica. You want Dexter Russell or Victronox for meat prep in a commercial kitchen with Plastic handles.

    I have other customers that own their restaurants that I have built my custom knives for, They rarely bring these knives to their own restaurants unless they are doing front of house presentation cooking/serving.

    Your $200.00 knife will grow feet and run away! :eek:
  9. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    I knew that theft from employers in the food service industry has been an issue for years, but it was not until recently that I heard that theft of personal gear was a problem too.
  10. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 1, 2013
    Theft from fellow employees is rampant in most locals, the good news is to attempt to Rehab offenders we get them jobs in the food service industry.
    The bad news is, Well you can figure out the rest. ;)
  11. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    Well, i guess the other good news is that unlike with airline baggage handlers stealing knives out of luggage, these thieves actually know what they are stealing and may even appreciate them. :p
  12. Greenberg Woods

    Greenberg Woods Wood Fanatic and Rosewood Addict

    Dec 27, 2013
    Its a huge issue. I did some rehandle work for a friends brother, he used to be a knife dealer and now works as a chef. He has three sets, his cheap plastic handles for work in back, his flashy Damascus and cocobolo burl blades for front of the house demonstrations "He actually bought all my cocobolo burl THE DAY I bought it. And then his s35Vn knives he keeps at home. He says he brought his own safe to the restaurant to store his showy knives when hes not working because he knows they would vanish in a second otherwise. Its a damn shame.
  13. JamesSimpson182


    Oct 5, 2017
    What did you go for in the end?

  14. chipshopman


    Oct 9, 2017
    Probably way too late, I have about 80 knives in various states of assembly from 12" 150 year old German stock to every Sabatier you could wish for. Priced from $5 for a 1960's Chinese work knife that looks fine but it has the quality of Euro steel. I am in Brooklyn NY and knives are very personal. When someone is trying to choose a knife I sell them the 2 they are interested in and leave an open offer for a full refund within 3 months if one or both of them don't work. I can do blunt or rounded tip returns I don't do broken. I am also a restauranteur and when I go into the kitchen I take a Sabatier nogent 8" and a sabatier 10 chefs knife both carbon steel. For $200 if you came to my workshop as a junior chef who earns crap you would leave with a Sabatier nogent, a 10" sabatier cooks knife and a small K series sabatier that works better than any paring knife. All carbon steel. You would also learn how to sharpen them properly and then you will be ready for work. I have a sliding scale, Industry guys get a very fair market value, commis chefs and junior chefs get an amazing deal to purchase a knife that will last a lifetime and if I spend 10 hours putting a new handle on an antique Henkels and finishing it perfectly I would rather sell it for half the price to a chef than to a yuppie for a status piece.
    ShannonSteelLabs likes this.
  15. midnight flyer

    midnight flyer Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    No telling where the OP wound up. But for the others reading this, I too would advise to take a knife to work that you can afford to be relieved of, or abused by others. I do a LOT of cooking away from the house, and even do some small event catering (no more than 250 people). No one will care about your knives like you do, no one will take care of them or even for the most part use them correctly. ALL of my good knives stay and home and I have the restaurant style knives available at any restaurant supply store, and even sometimes at the big warehouses like Sam's and Costco.

    I went to a barbecue competition about 5 years ago that was raising money for a children's charity. I took a couple of blades that I had handled, nice little shapes and pretty good steel that I simply put scales on. I was pretty pleased with them as the performed well, and that little adventure was a close as I wanted to come to being a knife maker.

    There were only twelve teams. At the end of the event we all cleaned up our sites, washed up our gear, and left it out to finish drying. We all had a pretty good time and we went to visit each other for a few minutes to congratulate the winners and tease the losers while drinking a cold one. I was gone about 20 minutes. When I came back to my area, someone had taken a five gallon bucket we used for sanitizing and put all of my knives (ALL of them), my commercial tongs, my commercial spoons, my ladles, and dishers into the 5 gallon bucket and took off. Of course, NO ONE SAW ANYTHING.

    I never participated there again, and never take my good stuff to the event.

    I should know better, too. As a contractor, I swear I have provided tools for half of my city due to employee theft. Whether they "just left it on their truck/toolbags/tool box and forgot" or they stole it on purpose because they were mad at me, or simply wanted a tool, employee theft if HUGE. All of my construction buddies that contract like I do have the same problems. It is a different time and place from when I started in the workplace 45 years ago, and I don't like it one bit.

  16. tim37a


    May 18, 2010
    Hey midnight flyer,
    Years ago I sold industrial air compressors and and some of my best customers were contractors and small shops. Employees would steal every electric tool that wasn't nailed down so my customers bought an air compressor and went to pneumatic tools. That stopped the theft until people like Sears started selling small, inexpensive air compressors for home use. Pretty soon employees were stealing the air tools. Can't win !!
  17. PERRO


    Jan 21, 2013
    Just an " FYI "

  18. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    I’ve made 15n20 and 8670 knives for chefs. The price is lower, they are tough and withstand abuse, and perform better than cheaper knives. They buy hitachi steels or W2 for home use.
  19. tomsch

    tomsch Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 31, 2004
    Ya overall people suck. I would pick up a 10" Vic Chef knife and just get used to touching it up throughout the day. It will not hold an edge as long as better steels but that is OK if you have the ability to do a quick touch-up or steeling during the day. It is also pretty generic looking so it may not turn out to be a target for someone that feels they deserve your knife.

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