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Old 05-13-2003, 04:01 AM   #21
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Since I live in Germany, I have been able to go to all the demo shows and see the knives in use before I purchased any.. I decided on Wusthof Classic set.. I don't know how I ever lived without them.. They are wonderful!!!.. I have the classic 9 set, then went out a got all the extra ones..
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Old 02-10-2004, 10:04 PM   #22
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My personal favorite is Wusthof. The Classic series is beautiful, well-made, and quite comfortable. I would not buy a set, simply because you do not need all the knives included. I cook professionally, and I use on a daily basis a 10" Chef knife, a 6" flexible boning knife, and a 2-3" paring knife. I also have the hollow ground santoku, which I love, and wish I could use more, a hollow ground 10" slicer, and a serrated sandwich knife. All are Wusthof Classic.
I also have a Norton Multi-oil stone with a hard Arkansas stone in place of the coarse stone. In my opinion, if you have quality knives, you need a quality stone to sharpen them on.
I realize that spending a lot of money on knives is something that most people don't want to do, but a good knife lasts very long, and makes the job that much easier. Think of it as an investment in your culinary future!

Good luck,
"I own enough ironware to anchor a twenty-eight-foot cruiser in a twenty-knot wind."
-Robert F. Capon
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Old 05-11-2004, 04:03 PM   #23
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By Joe Yonan, Globe Staff, 4/15/2004

When Bernard Marcovitz owned Stoddard's Cutlery in Downtown Crossing seven decades ago, selling high-end kitchen knives was a relatively uncomplicated affair.

There was a handful of manufacturers, from the United States, England, and Germany. Most of the knives were of a similar design: carbon steel, black handle, three simple rivets. And conversations with customers concentrated on such pragmatic concerns as how often a particular knife had to be sharpened. Aesthetics were hardly a factor, limited to knives such as carving sets that would be used at the table, not hidden in the kitchen.

Now look behind the counter at Stoddard's, in a different location and operated by Marcovitz's grandson, David Marks. Alongside the classic black-handled German knives are the kinds of angles and curves -- in stainless steel, wood, and plastic -- that seem positively sculptural by comparison. And among the standard chef's, paring, and boning knives is a shape now carried by virtually every high-end knife maker: a Japanese santoku, whose cleaver-shaped blade makes it ideal for dicing and whose dim-

pled edges help produce paper-thin slices. "It's not as simple as it used to be," says Marks.

That's putting it mildly. These days, there is such a range of handles, blades, materials, and manufacturers that many of the old rules of knife buying simply don't apply. And with such attention to design, knives have transcended mere utility to become, in some cases, an art form in and of themselves.

Changes in the knife world began in the kitchen, appropriately enough. In the old days of the 1950s, knives didn't need to be beautiful: Guests stayed in the dining and living rooms and never ventured beyond the swinging doors. But as kitchens became more of a focal point in homes, cooks wanted knives as upscale and solid as their granite countertops. Food Network junkies coveted the tools they saw their heroes wielding, so they gravitated toward the heavy knives made by such renowned companies as Germany's Wusthof-Trident. Later, American fascination with sushi exposed cooks to the lighter knives of sushi chefs.

Positioned perfectly to capitalize on these converging trends was Yoshikin, a Japanese company that introduced its revolutionary Global knives in the mid-1980s. Forget those black wooden handles and metal rivets; even though they are made of three pieces, Global knives appear to be one seamless expanse of stainless steel, with black pockmarks for gripping, and they are light as a feather.

Not that their lightness immediately went over well with salespeople, accustomed as they were to the conventional wisdom that a heavy knife was an advantage in the kitchen.

Fifteen years ago, "I'd spend hours saying to salesmen that the weight of the knife doesn't really matter," says Jack Bevington, president of Sointu, the US distributor of Global knives. "The cutting is a function of the sharpness, not the weight. The weight only makes it more fatiguing."

"Americans tend to equate weight with substance," agrees Marks of Stoddards. He adds, "Sometimes a lightweight knife is much more responsive."

Chefs were early converts to the new knives. By 1998, Bobby Flay was slicing and dicing with his Globals every day on the Food Network, and in 2000, author Anthony Bourdain waxed rhapsodic about their sharpness in "Kitchen Confidential," the best-selling myth-debunker about the restaurant industry.

The result: Every year for the past decade, Bevington says, Global's business has grown by 25 to 30 percent.

And now discussions with consumers have become that much more complicated. With German-style knives that are fully forged from a single piece of steel, the heavy handle is balanced by two features: the bolster, the thicker part between blade and handle that also serves as a finger guard; and the tang, the section that extends through the wooden or plastic handle. Without a well-designed bolster and a visible, fully extended tang, a knife was considered inferior because it was assumed to not be properly balanced and, therefore, not as comfortable.

But a Global knife cannot be described in any of those terms. The steel is thinner, and the blade is lighter, so there is no need for extra balancing weight. Indeed, Global's use of hollow handles filled with sand makes for a balance that seems almost organic; as you move, the knife's weight almost imperceptibly shifts with you, so that it feels like an extension of your wrist. Combined with such a sharp cutting edge and a look that seemed straight from an animator's pen, it was like no other knife before it.

Even the venerable Wusthof-Trident, which makes the world's best-selling high-end knives, had to take notice. A few years ago it introduced its Culinar line, which features a stainless-steel handle whose curves are designed to be not only more eye-catching, but ergonomic.

Its newest line, called Le Cordon Bleu because of a partnership with the renowned French cooking school, has more traditional looks but Japanese-style thinner blades, a finer edge, lighter weight, and a half-bolster design with no finger guard. Neil Crumley, president of Wusthof-America, expects the line to appeal to professionals or wannabes, "but it probably won't find its way into Macy's, because salespeople will have to explain to the average person that you're getting `less knife' for more money," he says. "In the ad copy, I referred to it as more agile."

Meanwhile, from Crumley's perspective, 2003 will forever be known as the year of the santoku, the knife with the snub-nosed shaped blade that the company has had in its catalog for at least 15 years. A cross between a cleaver and a French cook's knife, it didn't sell particularly well until Williams-Sonoma asked Wusthof to put what's called a granton edge on the blade, hollowing out little scallops to keep food from sticking during slicing. The edge had long been a staple of commercial meat slicers.

Then Rachael Ray, star of the Food Network's "30 Minute Meals" and "$40 a Day," picked one up in 2002 and found that its lighter weight was easier on her chronically sore wrists. At 7 inches, "It's a nice size," Ray says. "And the shape gives me great control. I use it for everything."

That's all her legions of fans needed to hear. Wusthof eventually began shipping up to 5,000 santokus a week to keep up with demand, but still couldn't. Crumley and Ray both say Wusthof had nothing to do with her decision to praise the knife on her shows, and that she has never been paid any fees for her support. "Retailers told us that customer after customer came in and said, `What's that knife Rachael Ray is using?' " Crumley says. "And there was only one answer: ours. It was a blessing from God.' "

Now virtually every high-end knife manufacturer, from Wusthof to Massachusetts' own Lamson & Goodnow, is prominently featuring a santoku shape. Some are including them in sets, and cutlery shop owners like Marks advocate their consideration as a substitute for a cook's knife. Their popularity, and the popularity of lighter knives in general, has also coincided with a move toward smaller knives. Lamson, the oldest continuously operating cutlery company in America, last year introduced a 4-inch chef's knife and this year is introducing a 5-inch santoku. "Some people are intimidated by large knives," says Kurt Zanner, president of Lamson, whose factory is in Shelburne Falls.

Meanwhile, the Global impact continues. Chroma, a maker of Japanese knives, engaged car maker F.A. Porsche to design its Type 301 line, an all-stainless knife that looks "surgical," says chef Mark Ellis, owner of The Chef's Table in Pembroke. Instead of a bolster, a little metal ball, or "pearl," designates the transition from handle to blade.

The knife is weighted toward the handle, which some find unwieldy, but Ellis is a fan. "I like the look of them, right out of the gate, but I also really love the edge."

As with Global, Chroma renders some of the traditional standards of knife-buying irrelevant, while claiming to offer a more comfortable handle. But since there are more variations in human anatomy and preference than in knife handles, that makes a customer-sensitive retailer like David Marks of Stoddard's more certain than ever about his most important piece of advice.

No matter how sleek the knife, no one should buy it without picking it up, mimicking the motions of chopping, peeling, and slicing, and then asking themselves the simplest question: How does it feel in my hand?

His grandfather, as it happens, would have advised exactly the same thing. the end-

I can't praise my Globals enough!!! They are crazy sharp. Chroma has got A very wicked looking knife also$$

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Old 05-11-2004, 05:51 PM   #24
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Cool article MJ. Thanks! :)
The sushi chef I was talking to a few months ago said that the knife he was using cost him $300 bucks!
Is that possible? I find it hard to belive. He uses it to prepare the fish that comes in daily. He chopped up a whole fish infront of me with the knife.
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Old 05-11-2004, 07:58 PM   #25
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300 bucks!! Holy smokes.
I thought I paid to much. This is what I purchased and love to this day
http://www.cutleryandmore.com/shop/details.asp?SKU=6269 Thats all I need for everything I do in the kitchen. There is no bevel. The edge extends all the way down from the spine.
- man, I couldn't ask for A better feeling knive. These "float" in my hand. You wanna talk sharp?? I would put this knive up against any other. Global has recieved awards for thier sharpness. I can't "steel" it before every use becauce it's stainless steel. I need A whetstone.
Purchasing A knive is VERY personal.
Williams-Sonoma (.com) has A deal, where if you don't like the knive you bought, after awhile you can return it after you use it for A full refund. I was gonna do this- see if it felt right after awhile and buy one at ebay for less money, but I didn't.
My onions don't shoot accross the kitchen anymore when I dice them!
When I have some money to blow (never), I want to get one of those Santoku knive's, And check out those Chroma's. That look's like A comfortable knive.
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Old 05-11-2004, 10:02 PM   #26
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Hmmmmmm... maybe this was it:

For THAT much.... it better cut the food and sharpen itself without ME. :?
I wonder what makes this knife better than a $100 one.
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Old 06-27-2004, 02:55 AM   #27
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macs are the best knives . i own every major brand and they are the best for any reason you can dream
love u
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Old 06-27-2004, 03:47 PM   #28
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Copied this out of my school book:

Carbon steel is the traditional favorite because it can be sharpened to an extremely sharp edge. Its disadvantages are that it corrodes and discolors especially when used with acid foods and onions. It can also discolor your food such as eggs and may leave your food with a metallic taste.

Stainless steel doesn’t corrode or rust like carbon steel, but it is much harder to achieve a sharp edge.

There’s a new type of alloy that combines the best from carbon steel as well as stainless steel. This alloy is called high-carbon stainless steel. Although knives made with this particular material are rather expensive, they take an edge almost as well as carbon steel and they don’t rust, corrode, or discolor.

As with most things, you get what you pay for. I purchased a set of knives from a trade show and wasted the $50 I paid for them. I should have known better. I'm in the market now for some high quality knives, but I refuse to buy ones that I don't get to try first. Since a lot of retail places don't offer a demonstration, this will be a lengthy process.
Lori H.

"Life is like a box of chocolates. All your friends get the good stuff and you get the leftovers."
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Old 06-27-2004, 03:54 PM   #29
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I am embarrased. I use the cheep-O ones. I will buy knives from the local Asian market for cheep. They are pretty good. When they become dull after 6-10 months I will toss em'. Ok, Im really embarrased now. :oops:
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Old 06-27-2004, 07:11 PM   #30
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LOL Don't be Sushi! I think you'll find a lot more people use cheap knives than you would expect. I have some better quality knives (not top of the line--can't afford them at this point) and some cheapy ones. The cheap ones are the ones I usually grab when fixing dinner. They are very sharp, I'm not worried about keeping them in perfect condition so they just get thrown in a drawer and are easily accessible, and they do a great job. My cheap ones are just as sharp after a year of constant use as they were when I got them. They aren't as heavy as the better ones, so I can't use them for everything, but for most jobs they do great.

:) Barbara
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Old 06-28-2004, 08:55 PM   #31
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Thanks Barbara! :D I feel better now! 8)
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Old 07-03-2004, 07:00 PM   #32
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Hi - New here, but love cooking so thought this might be a good place to pick up some tips and maybe share some. Regarding knives, I have Henkels and do like them, but they absolutely need to be sharpened a bit after each use. Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who takes care of them for me and, if they do get a bit too dull, he will use a sharpening stone with a bit of oil and bring them back up to sharpness. A dull knife is just horrible, as I'm sure you all know. However, I do feel pressed to add that, because we have a motor home and needed to supply it with kitchen stuff, I purchased a set of five different sized really cheap knives (i.e., only $5.00 for the whole set), and have had them for over 3 yrs., used pretty regularly in camping season. They are really great and have never ever been sharpened. Looking forward to keeping up with your site.
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Old 07-03-2004, 10:09 PM   #33
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Old 08-23-2004, 09:20 PM   #34
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Wait until after Christmas (like the day after) and go to a department store and Henkels will be on sale big time. You can start out w/ a block set and then add to it since it will have additional slots for extra knives that are not included in the set. I really love mine. They are easy to keep sharpened if you just sharpen every time you use one. Sometiimes amazon.com has them on sale, too. Good luck with your search!
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Old 09-02-2004, 10:34 AM   #35
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Re: best knives

Originally Posted by maws
Geraldine gave us a truly all-embracing discussion on knives and their uses. I agree with what she said. I have a full set of French Sabatier knives, bought in Paris in 1984 and still as new. I sharpen them regularly and they are well-balanced in the hand and the weights seem to suit each task.

My kitchen motto: keep your knives well sharpened.
I agree. I did not buy my carbon steel Sabatier knives in France [actually I have had them so long, I forgot where I got all of them], they are great. So are Dexter Russell carbon steel knives, and the old Henckels Twinworks carbon steel knives.
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Old 09-18-2004, 05:23 PM   #36
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Japanese knives are the way to go! My Wusthof's are great but once I purchased my first Japanese knife, there was no turning back. The steel is much harder and retains an edge better as well.

Check out the Masamoto VG-10 Western at this site.


The Tojiro 27cm gyutou is a great knife for the price and would be a good starter knife.
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Old 10-01-2004, 07:21 PM   #37
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Which knives to buy....

Knives are a very personal thing as you can see from many of the posts. I love my Wustoff Trident knives the best. They are not what I call cheap but I have never replaced one in 20 years. Another brand that I now have started to sell here in Canada is "Ivo". It is german steel but is made in Portugal. Great knife for the money. I am just adding a sharpening service to my hardware stores and the equipment people have suggested "Freider Dick" knives. The price is very reasonable but as of yet I have not had an opportunity to bring one home and put it through its paces. Do not be miss directed that using a steel is "sharpening" a knife. It is actually removing a microscopic edge that has folded over slightly that actually seems to dull the blade. The steel removes this "edge". When you bring a knife in to be sharpened the blade is actually ground and "reset" to the perfect edge. If you use your steel with every use, you will not need to have your knive sharpened as often. If you do not like the price for the knives you prefer you should look to buy them here in Canada....your dollar is worth approx $1.30 here. Hope this helps 8)
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Old 10-02-2004, 05:47 PM   #38
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A great knife to a chef is worth its weight in gold.(hmmmm.....well it sounds good.....huh?) And three great knives is all you need. Right? Yes, how does it feel in the shape of your little or big or medium hand? Right now I think we have 30 or 40 knives of all brands. And all I know if is they are not sharp they are worthless. I also know every single time in my life after sharpening I have cut myself very deep! OUCH! Dumb me. :oops: I do not like the serrated edge things, unless it is a bread knife, or a very very thin fruit knife. BTW we recently found a serrated potatoe peeler. GREAT for peeling peaches and fruit!!! :D (one of my favorite tools.)
One more((( HUG)))) for the road, meekasu
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Old 10-09-2004, 09:03 AM   #39
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Geraldine (quote)
"...I have no room in my kitchen for a serrirated knife. I hate and abominate them. For my money all they do is rip and shread food. I also do not like an electric knife. Useless gadget. Doesn't make clean cuts, just chews stuff up...."

What about breads? Sponge or angel food cakes?
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Old 10-09-2004, 09:10 AM   #40
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I received a Croma 301-Steel, 10" Chef's knife for Christmas last year. I use it daily cooking for my family. I have yet to sharpen it. It is still razor sharp. I do hone it on the steel before each use.

What I like about this japanese made, Porsche designed knife is its weight, ballance, and handle. The handle is solid metaland joined seemlesly to the blade. The blade is tapered from the spine to the edge, with no curvature. This is important when cutting through mellons, winter squash, and other things with a hard rined. Knives with Hollow-Ground edges push the food apart, like a wedge, rather than slicing them.

Before getting the lightweight Croma, I always though that the heavier the knife, the better, as the heft would aid in slicign and chopping operations. What I found is that it slows you down a little as it takes more energy on the upstroke and really doesn't aid inthe downstroke. Plus, if you are doing a lot of chopping, the heft can make the job a chore.

The unique Croma handle shape provids me with unparalelled control. The outside heal of my hand rests agains a wide, flat surface at the far-end of the handle which increases the moment of force. This makes chipping chores extremely efficient. The handle narrows in the vertical plane as it moves toward the blade. This gives great control and keeps the knive from turning to the side. It is a simple, yet elegant and intelligent design.

I've tried many knives, some expensive, some very cheap, an many in-between. For ease of use, durability, and versatility, I just don't think you can beat this knife brand. I truly love it. I would sooner trade my car than my knife (well maybe not, but it would be a close decision) .

I purchased the Croma Santoku for my son who is a chef at a local Itallian Restaurant. He absolutely loves it. He previously owned professional knives recommended to him by the restaurant owner. Not only did they not hold up as well, but just weren't as efficient to use. And as was posted earlier, because they were a recognized name-brand, they grew legs. He tried the Croma and won't switch back to the other brand. He also won't leave his Croma out of sight. He usually won't take it to work. He did have to replace it though as one of his room-mates went kind of nuts (literally, ended up in a psych-ward) and broke the Croma while threatening to kill himself and others. The guy was just a cook at the restaurant that needed place to stay. My son said yeh. The rest is history. Happily, the guy lives there no longer. My son loved the knife so well, that he got a new one right away.

Now theses knives are expensive. But they are worth every penny, IMHO.

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