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Old 08-26-2010, 09:33 PM   #1
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hey giys, so im going to be starting chef school in 2 weeks, havent gotten my knives yet, but yea, wondering whats my best bet in knives, for first year, that would last me for a bit, not the most outrageously priced, but mid ranged, and what kinds? chef , paring and bread good?

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Old 08-26-2010, 10:06 PM   #2
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First off, welcome to DC! Next, have you checked with the school to see if you must purchase a knife set from them? Many schools issue you knives and tools as part of your tuition and fees. If you're free to buy your own we can make some suggestions.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:06 AM   #3
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Thanks for the welcome,

but regarding the knives, the school doesnt provide it, really, you gotta come with your knives, they hve back ups im sure, but generally you want your own set of knives i would guess, right? i would like my own set, newho, but yea, so should i start of with a henkell chef knive, and wusthof parng and butchers? or something like a cutco, 3 piece set? something like that,
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:45 AM   #4
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You need to explore and see what feels the most balanced and comfortable in you hands. You also need to take into consideration your budget. And please, maybe it is just me, but cutco? Really?

Also be sure to check all over online, prices almost always beat retail if you can afford the wait.

Global, Wusthof, Henkel are decent ground up starts, though for me Global can feel thin through the tang. I would go dropping 1K on a "starter set", just get what you need and take it from there.
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:00 PM   #5
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For a chef a good knives are a 2 to 5 year investment, you use them so much and eventually your sharpening will take too much metal off them and you'll need to get replacements.

What you will need:
Chefs;
Paring;
Boning;
Bread;
and if you're learning fish a filleting knife.

Don't get exotica like specialist Japanese knives or carbon steel knives. They can be great knives but they won't be a good fit for a school environment.
You can get away with Fibrox knives for the other knives, but I would recommend getting the best Chefs Knife you can afford.

You will also need:
A honing steel; and
A combination sharpening stone.

Spend money on a good steel, the cheap heavily grooved steels can do serious damage to your knives. F Dicks finecut or Swibo polished would be my recommendations. This is a forever purchase so dropping a bit of cash isn't a sin. If you buy a cheap steel you will replace it with a better one pretty quickly so there's no economy in starting with a cheap steel.

I'd go for a 300/1000 grit (NB don't worry about exact numbers, just that sort of range) sharpening stone as good starting stone. That gives you a coarse side for reviving dull knives and a decent side for getting a good edge. If you get into sharpening you can then get into 3K, 6K, 8K, 10K and higher grit stones.
I highly recommend water stones, and would avoid oil stones like the plague. DMT have some very good looking diamond sharpening stones but I haven't used them.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:11 PM   #6
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A lot of chefs use Forschners as representing a good mix of quality and price. They available at SMKW at good prices, or try a local restaurant supply store. Does the school have any recommendations as to a brand or exact types they expect you purchase?
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:39 PM   #7
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Forschner Fibrox are good for cheap knives. For German knives I'm partial to the Messermeister Meridian Elite line. I don't think you need to completely avoid Japanese knives when you're starting out but you shouldn't sink a ton of cash into them. The Torjiro DP series offer a very high level of performance, IMOHO superior to any mass market German brand, for about the same price.

jpaulg is right- while a home cook may be able to make a knife set last a lifetime, a pro will use up their knives over time. Tools should be thought of as consumables, really. If you treat them with respect and care for them properly you should get several years out of them, maybe 10 or more if you rotate knives and sharpen carefully. If you're not a skilled sharpener your first set will probably get used up within a few years while you're learning.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:49 PM   #8
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Rob,

Just to clarify I wasn't wasn't saying to avoid Japanese knife makers, just to avoid their specialist knives, Usabas, Debas, Yanagibas and the like when starting out.

Even though I am a CS Sabatier man, I will allow that on the odd occasion the Japanese have been known to turn out a halfway decent knife.

One of the other chefs in the kitchen pulled out his first knife the other day. What had started as a 10" Chef's knife is now a 7" carving knife.
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:28 PM   #9
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In your shoes, the first thing I would do is check with the school to see what they recommend. It's kind of surprising that the school hasn't at the very least arranged for a discount set from a local supplier for it's students.

When I went in the mid eighties, they gave us a pretty bizarre roll of Henckel Four Stars consisting of an 8" Chef's, 10" Flexible slicer, Fork, 6" Utility/Sandwich, 7" Fillet, and a 4" Paring. Not the best load out, but it did cover pretty much everything except for a bread knife. Second semester, they added a nice garde manger set with eight or ten pieces.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpaulg View Post
Rob,

Just to clarify I wasn't wasn't saying to avoid Japanese knife makers, just to avoid their specialist knives, Usabas, Debas, Yanagibas and the like when starting out.

Even though I am a CS Sabatier man, I will allow that on the odd occasion the Japanese have been known to turn out a halfway decent knife.

Ah, I got ya. Good advice- single beveled knives like those don't have all that much utility for typical tasks done in a Western kitchen, and certainly aren't very nOOb friendly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jpaulg View Post
One of the other chefs in the kitchen pulled out his first knife the other day. What had started as a 10" Chef's knife is now a 7" carving knife.
Haha! Sounds like he certainly got his use out of it!
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