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Old 06-07-2009, 02:55 PM   #1
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All Purpose Knife?

I am brand new to cooking, and when I mean brand new to cooking, I mean I have yet to try to cook anything. I was wondering if there is a solid all purpose knife that anyone could recommend. Just the typical knife you see food show hosts use to chop/dice just about everything up with. Any replies are greatly appreciated

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Old 06-07-2009, 03:36 PM   #2
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The basic knife you want is what's called a French Chef's Knife or just Chef's or Cook's Knife. It should have a blade about 8 inches long and look like this:



However, you probably also will want a smaller knife for some things, like this one with a thinner 6-inch blade:

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Old 06-07-2009, 03:43 PM   #3
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I agree with Scotch and use 2 knives for 90% or more
of my needs.
While most western cooks choose the classic French Chef's
or (lately) Santoku knife along with a good paring knife
my go to main knife if an 8" Chinese knife - along with my paring
knife this gets most jobs done.
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Old 06-07-2009, 03:48 PM   #4
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any particular brands you guys recommend? nothing to expensive, around 50-60 dollars?
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Old 06-07-2009, 04:03 PM   #5
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Forschner makes an 8" Chefs knife for about $35
and it is consistantly top buy rated by America's Test Kitchen.

I am partial to Dexter Russell (American company)
and they made my Chinese knife and are major suppliers
of knives for the restaurant industry.
See below.
Dexter-Russell, Inc.
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:22 AM   #6
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In your price range ($55) I recommend a Togiharu Molybdenum Gyuto. A Gyuto is a Japanese chef's knife, shaped very much like a French Chef's knife. The steel is thinner and harder than comparable French or German knives so it cuts better and the edge lasts longer. Get a 210mm (8.2") at Korin.

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Old 06-17-2009, 07:01 PM   #7
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I'll second the Forschner knives. They're good and inexpensive.

Also, check out the Wusthof Gourmet line, the KAI Pure Komachi and the Kershaw 9900 series. All of those are in your price range and are well made knives.
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:46 AM   #8
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In your price range ($55) I recommend a Togiharu Molybdenum Gyuto. A Gyuto is a Japanese chef's knife, shaped very much like a French Chef's knife. The steel is thinner and harder than comparable French or German knives so it cuts better and the edge lasts longer. Get a 210mm (8.2") at Korin.


The add copy seems to imply it's differentially beveled- is that the case? If so that would minimally complicate sharpening for a novice. I've been meaning to try that knife out; do you think it's a better deal the the Fujiwara FMK? The Fujiwara is only $68 at JCK.
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by zepfloyd View Post
I am brand new to cooking, and when I mean brand new to cooking, I mean I have yet to try to cook anything. I was wondering if there is a solid all purpose knife that anyone could recommend. Just the typical knife you see food show hosts use to chop/dice just about everything up with. Any replies are greatly appreciated
A 'chef's knife' is the primary tool for most cooks, be it pro or home cooking enthusiast. As much as I want to agree with Buzz I'm not sure if you need anything better than the Fibrox. How much will you use it? What do you anticipate cooking? That said spending a bit more on a better knife will make cooking far more pleasurable.
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Old 06-18-2009, 05:43 AM   #10
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I prefer traditional French/German-style forged knives. The Forschner Fibrox knives and Wusthof Gourmet knives are both stamped, not forged, and don't have the wieght and balance of a good forged knife. For an inexpensive, good-quality set of forged knives, I recommend the Calphalon Traditional series knives. You can buy a full set with an 8" chef's knife, 6" utility knife, 5" serrated utility knife (tomato knife), and a 3 1/2' paring knive, plus storage block and sharpening steel for $100 from Amazon: Amazon.com: Calphalon Traditional 6-Piece Knife Block Set: Home & Garden .

These are good knives and will serve you well for many years. Like most "knife freaks", I don't allow others to use my personal knives, and have a set of these knives for everyday use by friends and family. We've been using them for several years and they've held up extremely well to heavy use and abuse.

Another benefit is that they're open stock, so you can add to the set as desired. For our style of cooking, I've added an 8" slicer, an 8" bread knife and a 5" boning knife.

A few important tips for all knives: Never put them in the dishwasher or in the sink with other dishes. Always use a wood or soft plastic cutting board. Before each use, take 3 or 4 passes oneach side of the blade with a sharpening steel. This keeps the edge aligned and greatly extends the time between sharpening. After each use, simply wipe or hand wash them and put them back in the storage block.
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:24 AM   #11
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The add copy seems to imply it's differentially beveled- is that the case? If so that would minimally complicate sharpening for a novice. I've been meaning to try that knife out; do you think it's a better deal the the Fujiwara FMK? The Fujiwara is only $68 at JCK.
The Togiharu and Fujiwara are about the same and I don't think the average user could tell the difference. Sharpening is another matter. Although I would like to think a 1 and 2k stone should be in every household it isn't going to happen. Most knives get hacked on a Chef's Choice at 22-25 degrees per side, but even in this case, you have a better knife with the Japanese because of the overall geometry.
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:44 AM   #12
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I use an 8" or 10" Gustav Emil Ern Wavy Edge Cooks Knife. Be careful it's really sharp. It has a bite so easily slices tomatoes but can be used for meat & fish work. Brunoise of vegetables is a joy with this blade. Multi purpose and easy to use.
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:07 AM   #13
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As you can see, there are a host of favorites out there, and everyone seems to like their own choice the best. Buzzard is one of our most educated participants in the knife arena (in my opinion). But what it really comes down to is your comfort level.

For instance, I love my Chroma 10" chef's knife. I do 95% of my knife work with that tool. It holds its edge very well and takes considerable abuse. A quick run along my Chicago Cutlery brand steel is all that's needed to keep it sharp enough to cut anything from the most delicate tomato, to ultra-thin slices of roast beef, to hubbard squash. It is a relatively light-weight knife compared to German knives, and has a flat blade from the spine to the belly,with a convex shaped edge (in my opinion, the strongest and sharpest edge).

My eldest son loves Henkle knives, a fine quality German brand with considerable heft. His knives are very sharp and do a great job too. I know people who swear by Global, and others who feel that nothing can beat Cutco. In the end, your best bet is to get a good, hard chef's knife, in the price range for $60 (on sale price) to $120 per knife. Whether you prefer a 10 inch blade to an 8 inch blade depends on you, the size of your hand, and what you will be using the knife for. My youngest daughter loves an 8 inch blade on her chef's knife as her hand is maller than mine and her knife fits her.

There really is no "perfect" knife, only a perfect knife for you. Like Buzzard, I prefer Japanes steel to German. I require a flat blade rather than hollow ground as it's just easier to slice with, and I require something tough enough to stand up to everyday abuse in my kitchen. Three of my kids (one is a profesional head cook and trainer) love the Chroma brand, while the other loves his Henkle knives. And don't forget ceramic knives. My eldest daughter wants an 8 inch ceramic chef's knife very badly. That's going to be her Christmas present this year.

Don't skimp on your knife. It's your most important tool, even more so than the pots and pans you will use. Get one you love, and that will last you a lifetime.

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Old 06-18-2009, 10:11 AM   #14
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chef knife (8" is standard) paring knife (3 or 4") and a serrated bread knife are the three most necessary. You can spend a little or a lot. But very decent ones are available from kitchen and food service stores.

Check out Fante's Kitchen Wares Shop - fantes.com they have a "set" of French style for a very reasonable price.
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Old 06-18-2009, 05:10 PM   #15
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The Togiharu and Fujiwara are about the same and I don't think the average user could tell the difference. Sharpening is another matter. Although I would like to think a 1 and 2k stone should be in every household it isn't going to happen. Most knives get hacked on a Chef's Choice at 22-25 degrees per side, but even in this case, you have a better knife with the Japanese because of the overall geometry.
Obviously I agree re the J-knife vs G-knife issue. Even when they're dull a Japanese knife will cut better due to how thin they are. A differentially beveled blade might be a bit much for an amateur cook/sharpener to deal with...not that it can't be done, it's just that it might frustrate someone to the point where they didn't want to deal with it.

I'm thinking of trying a Fujiwara sujihiki to replace the Fibrox slicer I keep in my work kit. I'm leaning towards carbon just because I'd only use it for meat, although the stainless they use is supposed to be okay.

Some like the "heft" of a forged German but I've really come to appreciate the lightness & nimbleness of a good Japanese gyuto. And being a knifegeek I really like how much sharper I can get them.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:27 PM   #16
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Obviously I agree re the J-knife vs G-knife issue. Even when they're dull a Japanese knife will cut better due to how thin they are. A differentially beveled blade might be a bit much for an amateur cook/sharpener to deal with...not that it can't be done, it's just that it might frustrate someone to the point where they didn't want to deal with it.

I'm thinking of trying a Fujiwara sujihiki to replace the Fibrox slicer I keep in my work kit. I'm leaning towards carbon just because I'd only use it for meat, although the stainless they use is supposed to be okay.

Some like the "heft" of a forged German but I've really come to appreciate the lightness & nimbleness of a good Japanese gyuto. And being a knifegeek I really like how much sharper I can get them.
Earth to Rob, J knives rock. Fibrox's are okay, but, please, not for you. You know better.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:48 PM   #17
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I know your secrets, Buzz- and there are a couple non-J "holdovers" in your collection, too, I think!

Okay, my excuse: for some stuff, the classical round ended slicer pretty useful. It's good for carving prime rib on a buffet for one thing (the round end makes it look unthreatening in a busy buffet line). There aren't many Japanese versions that I know of (only the Shun Classic comes to mind right now).

For that matter, my work kit contains several non-Japanese blades:

1) I keep a handful of Messermiester paring knives in there. They're easy to touch up and cheap enough to loan to the staff without worry.

2) I still carry an 8" Wusthof Chef's knife, too. But to be honest it's only used for one thing, splitting lobsters. When I have the extra cash to splurge on a Western Deba I'll ditch it but til then it stays!

3) There are 2 Fibrox knives in my work kit. I use the aforementioned slicer exclusively for prime rib. And I keep a semi-flexible boning knife for trimming the silverskin off of tenderloins. There are a few Japanese versions of the classic western pattern but they're pretty expensive relative to how often I use one. Maybe someday I'll get adventurous enough to try a Honesuki...

True, it's a J-knife I'll reach for for nearly all my tasks at work but there are still jobs I delegate to the Europeans.
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:08 PM   #18
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I know your secrets, Buzz- and there are a couple non-J "holdovers" in your collection, too, I think!

Okay, my excuse: for some stuff, the classical round ended slicer pretty useful. It's good for carving prime rib on a buffet for one thing (the round end makes it look unthreatening in a busy buffet line). There aren't many Japanese versions that I know of (only the Shun Classic comes to mind right now).

For that matter, my work kit contains several non-Japanese blades:

1) I keep a handful of Messermiester paring knives in there. They're easy to touch up and cheap enough to loan to the staff without worry.

2) I still carry an 8" Wusthof Chef's knife, too. But to be honest it's only used for one thing, splitting lobsters. When I have the extra cash to splurge on a Western Deba I'll ditch it but til then it stays!

3) There are 2 Fibrox knives in my work kit. I use the aforementioned slicer exclusively for prime rib. And I keep a semi-flexible boning knife for trimming the silverskin off of tenderloins. There are a few Japanese versions of the classic western pattern but they're pretty expensive relative to how often I use one. Maybe someday I'll get adventurous enough to try a Honesuki...

True, it's a J-knife I'll reach for for nearly all my tasks at work but there are still jobs I delegate to the Europeans.
You'll get no argument from me on any of your points. It's what works that counts, and I'm just a home cook who doesn't spent all day with my tools. When I say my so and so J Gyuto is worlds better than my "fill in the blank" German Chef's knife you better believe it's a true statement that I can back up. When you say some of your Forschners are better for certain jobs you'll never get a negative comment from me.


but i think you already knew that
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:23 PM   #19
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Haha! I never said better. It's more that since returning to school I don't have the disposable income to buy everything that catches my eye anymore. Between that and the general economic climate I can't justify as many toys. Never fear, though- over time I will replace most of them with better knives. Even then the $4 Messermeister parers will probably stay, though; at that price I'll just use them til they're gone.
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:39 PM   #20
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Never fear, though- over time I will replace most of them with better knives. Even then the $4 Messermeister parers will probably stay, though; at that price I'll just use them til they're gone.
At least you know how to keep what you have, sharp. That is important. I can't tell you how many knives I have put a real edge on for friends and relatives and what I get is that funny look in their eyes when they cut something for the first time - ever.
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