Originally Posted by mpjunior
OK, im convinced.
so what i need is a chefs knife (9.5"-11") a paring knife (prefferably 5"-6") and a block (or sheaths) and my budget per knife goes up.
Rob, you seem to know quite a few varieties of knives and i like the style you showed me before. What chefs knife and paring knife would you get for that budget (say a budget of 500+- including the block)?
I don't mean to quibble over your wording but what I
would buy for $500 probably isn't relevant to what you
should get. If I had $500 I'd get get a gyuto for $497 and a $3 paring knife.
I'm actually not really kidding! I have a $600 gyuto on the way to me right now.
Okay, what should you
get? You're not a culinary pro so there's probably no point to going extreme. For instance, although your budget allows for a Shirogamo or Super Aogami knife, you probably won't want to mess with high carbon (especially White). The fact that you're looking at knife like the Miyabi shows that you can appreciate the superiority of a thinner, more advanced knife. On the other hand, you also seem to be attracted equally to the "exotic" looks.
I'd suggest you get a knife made of VG-10 at the least, maybe something better. I would rule out the CarboNext if appearance is important to you as it's rather plain.
One gyuto you'd almost certainly love is the Hattori Forum Knife.
It's VG-10 which is fairly pedestrian but Hattori-san's heat treat is superb. The fit and finish of this knife are spectacular- it leaves little to be desired. The profile is great and it's got the most comfortable handle I've ever used on a kitchen knife.
Here it is in Linen Micarta:
If you go that route you could get the matching paring knife and you'd be well set and far enough under budget to buy a block. Can't make many suggestions there as I don't like using blocks for knife storage.
With a budget of $500 for both, you might also want to look at the Konosuke HD 270 mm gyuto.
It's a beautiful and and performance wise can hang with almost anything at any price. It's very, very thin, and the steel used is fine grained and capable of taking a breathtaking edge. It will be a smidge more delicate than the Hattori but not greatly so. Aside from the high end performance, this has two things going for it that you'll appreciate; it's a stunner to look at and the octagonal handle is as good for a lefty as a righty.
A pic of this bad boy:
I can't think of any reason not to buy the Akifusa, either, if you like the looks. If you have very large hands it isn't ideal if you use a "hammer grip" but in a pinch grip it's fine. The blade isn't very tall and it's much flatter than your average gyuto. To me it's close to perfect.
Also, the Richmond Addict I linked about should be on your list. It has many virtues and very few shortcomings. The only reason I sold mine is that CKtG is soon releasing a version in 52100, a very fine grained high carbon "uber steel". This carbon version would almost certainly not be a good choice for you but I'm giddy at the thought!
At any rate, the Addict combines good looks and stellar performance, and it another knife that will be very lefty-friendly.
Let me add that I thoroughly agree that there's no need for the santoku. A petty/utility knife is handy, but not mandatory. Unless you simply want to spend more there's not much point to getting any paring knife more expensive than the Shun. Even Shun haters will grudgingly admit it's about as good as it gets.
But I would think very hard about adding a bread knife to the list. A good serrated, while not strictly necessary, is nice to have if you eat a lot of crusty artisan-type breads. There's nothing I'm aware of better for the money than the Tojiro
and it's cheap enough that there's no reason not to pick one up.
Any of these would satisfy me and will do the bulk of your kitchen tasks. But part of me wants to tell you this is a bit like me picking out shoes or a mountain bike for you. Fit and personal preferences are at least as important as quality. The knives I listed have the virtue of working well for a wide range of users (eg different sized hands and varying technique) but it's still difficult to predict what someone will like.