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Old 10-03-2012, 10:52 PM   #1
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Santoku vs. chef's knives

I have been using a low end Henckels santoku knife that I got at Bed Bath and Beyond, and it seems a little flimsy. I'm thinking of exchanging it for something of slightly better quality, possibly in the Victorianox line. I'm not sure whether to get another santoku or a chef's knife, In the past I used a Wusthof classic 8" chef's knife but it was too big and cumbersome for me. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to choose a knife?

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Old 10-03-2012, 10:54 PM   #2
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I have been using a low end Henckels santoku knife that I got at Bed Bath and Beyond, and it seems a little flimsy. I'm thinking of exchanging it for something of slightly better quality, possibly in the Victorianox line. I'm not sure whether to get another santoku or a chef's knife, In the past I used a Wusthof classic 8" chef's knife but it was too big and cumbersome for me. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to choose a knife?
Consider a 6" chefs knife if the 8" was too big.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Andy M.

Consider a 6" chefs knife if the 8" was too big.
Will a knife that size work well with most vegetables, especially larger ones like butternut squash?
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:59 PM   #4
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Will a knife that size work well with most vegetables, especially larger ones like butternut squash?

I use one regularly along with my 8" chefs knife. A longer blade may be easier to use on a large squash but the 6" will get the job done too.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Andy M.

I use one regularly along with my 8" chefs knife. A longer blade may be easier to use on a large squash but the 6" will get the job done too.
That's great. Do you did that there are any advantages to using a chef's knife versus a santoku?
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:12 PM   #6
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The rounded blade of a chefs knife makes chopping easier.

The straight blade of a santuko is for slicing .

But for most home cooks it doesn't matter a whole lot.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:19 PM   #7
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The rounded blade of a chefs knife makes chopping easier.

The straight blade of a santuko is for slicing .

But for most home cooks it doesn't matter a whole lot.
My knife skills are at beginner level, so maybe a chef's knife is best for now?
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:50 AM   #8
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That's great. Do you did that there are any advantages to using a chef's knife versus a santoku?

I find the chefs more versatile. The key is what you are more comfortable with.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:12 AM   #9
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I find the chefs more versatile. The key is what you are more comfortable with.
I agree with this 100%. Not so much comfort in the strict sense of the word, but having the knife fit well in your hand and under your control. As your knife skills grow, you will find that you can use different knives for different needs.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:20 AM   #10
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Ask to try the knife in your hand. Emulate chopping with it. Is it comfortable? Start out with a chef's knife. It is more versitle than any other knife in your kitchen. But just make sure it is comfortable in your hand. Your knife skills will come in time. Just go slow and don't try to do everything like you see on TV. Those folks have been cooking for eons.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:29 AM   #11
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That's great. Do you did that there are any advantages to using a chef's knife versus a santoku?
I have both kinds of knives. For the longest time I didn't use the santoku very much, because the traditional chef's knife is what I was used to. Then three or four years ago I had some guests over to the house for a cooking party. I gave everyone else the chef's knives to use and took the santoku for myself. It was a little awkward to use at first, but I finally found that if I rocked it more toward the tip, it worked fine that way. The shorter 7" blade also felt easier to control. It didn't take very long to get used to it.

However, the real revelation I found was when cutting onions. The flatter style blade actually worked better for making the horizontal cuts needed for cutting up an onion.

While I use both knives and can see arguments leaning either way, I now favor the santoku for doing prep work.

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:49 AM   #12
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I have both kinds of knives. For the longest time I didn't use the santoku very much, because the traditional chef's knife is what I was used to. Then three or four years ago I had some guests over to the house for a cooking party. I gave everyone else the chef's knives to use and took the santoku for myself. It was a little awkward to use at first, but I finally found that if I rocked it more toward the tip, it worked fine that way. The shorter 7" blade also felt easier to control. It didn't take very long to get used to it.

However, the real revelation I found was when cutting onions. The flatter style blade actually worked better for making the horizontal cuts needed for cutting up an onion.

While I use both knives and can see arguments leaning either way, I now favor the santoku for doing prep work.
Which santoku do you have?
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:51 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Andy M.

I use one regularly along with my 8" chefs knife. A longer blade may be easier to use on a large squash but the 6" will get the job done too.
It looks like Victorinox doesn't make a 6" chef's knife. Do you know of another reasonably priced manufacturer that makes a 6"? I'm not ready to splurge on a high end knife quite yet.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:57 AM   #14
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It looks like Victorinox doesn't make a 6" chef's knife. Do you know of another reasonably priced manufacturer that makes a 6"? I'm not ready to splurge on a high end knife quite yet.
Victorinox knives have stamped blades which are lighter than forged blades like you would get with a Henckels.

So an 8" Vic would probably be lighter than a 6" Henckels. I strongly recommend going to a store that sells knives and handle both.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.

Victorinox knives have stamped blades which are lighter than forged blades like you would get with a Henckels.

So an 8" Vic would probably be lighter than a 6" Henckels. I strongly recommend going to a store that sells knives and handle both.
I'll do that. Glad that Bed Bath is nearby and has a good return policy. The Vic 8" is only $44.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:03 AM   #16
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Which santoku do you have?
I have this model made by Shun, but 7-inch - and no, I didn't pay that much. It was closer to half that price.

Amazon.com: Shun Classic 7 1/2 Inch Wide Santoku: Home & Kitchen
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:05 AM   #17
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Just go slow and don't try to do everything like you see on TV. Those folks have been cooking for eons.
Glad you said this! I've been wondering how the heck chefs on tv can chop so fast! I chop at a snail's pace.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:43 AM   #18
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I have a santoku and a several chef's knives. Also a nakiri. Most of my prep is done with either the nakiri or a large (240) chef knife. For my purposes, the santoku is a compromise knife, and like most compromises, does nothing well, but most things average.

I also have a Forschner, now Victorinox, chef's. I don't use it much as I don't like the wide blade and the overly round blade.

If you are looking for a low medium priced knife. It might be worth a trip to a restaurant supply. The knives they sell are generally reasonably priced and of decent quality.

However, getting what feels good to you is most important.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:51 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.

Consider a 6" chefs knife if the 8" was too big.
As luck would have it, I found a lower end Wusthof 6" chef's knife at TJ Maxx today for $19. It was the last one they had and made in Germany, not China!
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:50 PM   #20
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I say it's best to learn on a classic chef knife of the 8" variety. The extra length will come in handy a lot more than you'd think, and the pointy end can be helpful. It takes a small amount of getting used to a new knife length but once you get a good handle on how to properly wield it, there's a good chance you wouldn't want to go down in size--generally speaking. A santoku is great for vegetable prep but the classic chef style is perfectly reasonable at veg prep and better in every other category. The Santoku has the advantage in blade width, which can be helpful in transferring things from the cutting board.
A lot of people feel more comfortable learning with the Santoku because it has a rounded front vs. the classic chef, but I think that's a good way to learn bad safety habits.

I'm posting this having started my culinary hobby with a 7" Santoku, and nowadays I use an 8" chef much more often as I tend to end up cooking more at my buddy's house more than my own and he has a nice chef knife. After using the Santoku for years, using the classic chef shape was a true revelation. My next knife will be a 240mm Gyuto style.
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