A couple quick knife questions...

Joined Apr 30, 2004
A couple quick questions:

What size chef's knives do you ladies and gentleman use? I currently work with an 8", and a slightly smaller Santoku, but sometimes feel when mincing a pile of garlic that I could do better with something bigger. Do you folks use ten inchers, and why or why not?

One more: What are people's take on the Wusthof Grand Prix II knives?

Joined Jan 5, 2001
Santokus are nice for small detail work. But for large quantity chopping nothing beats a 10". With practice, you can use it for finer work too. I've been using an Asian knife in the past year or so. The handle broke (it was a cheap one) so I'm back with my 10" German blade. I think it's definitely the most versatile, and I don't really miss the Asian knife anymore.

If you are goijg to buy a chef knife, get the best quality you can afford. I haven't been too impressed with the grand prix line myself...
Joined Dec 8, 1999
I currently use an 11" Global chef's knife for routine chopping and dicing. For items that don't require much force to cut through, I can use the tip; the longer the better (within reason) works faster with less effort.
Joined Aug 4, 2000
I use an old 10" Sabatier that has a carbon steel blade which stains but so what as long as it works well.
Joined Apr 28, 2003
I have
8" Henkles 5-star chef's
6" Henkles 5-star utility
2 Henkles paring knives
8" Henkles 5-star boning
12" generic (bought from school) chefs knife
a generic (bought from school) bread knife

My Henkles feels a little on the heavy side but I use mostly at home, esspecially the 6" when it comes to triming chicken. The ones I picked up from school are much lighter which I use in class mostly as an all purpose tool. All of my Henkles, less the boning knife, were given to me when I started classes (its great having lots of uncles :D)
Joined Aug 14, 2000
I have an 8" and a 10" chef's knife. I use them both but really love the 10". It does a lot of work very quickly. When dicing onions, for example, I don't have to worry about them spreading out a bit cuz' "The Sweeper" is big and covers a lot of ground. Another benefit to the 10" is that it's fairly heavy and does a lot of the work for me.
Joined Oct 13, 2001
I would say the 10" Chefs knife is the most used knife in a professional kitchen that I have seen. I have a a 12" I like to use for some heavy produce work(cabbage , melons , salad and squash) also but the 10" is the one I find grabbing the most.I have an 8" but I just dont feel as comfortable using it for everything as I do the 10".Knives are a very personal thing, what works for one does not always work for someone else though so I would use what is comfortable for you.Doug............................
Joined May 19, 2004
I have an 8" chefs, 7" santoku, and 9" Chinese Cleaver, all from Henckels.

The santoku is much, much lighter than the chefs, so I use that one most of the time. The blade is thinner. But you can't use a quick rocking motion very well with the flatter santoku blade.

For dicing large volumes of onions or herbs, nothing beats the long, flat blade of the cleaver.
Joined Dec 14, 2006
I instruct my students to start with an 8" knife. Once they become proficient with it they move up to a 10"; that way they are working safely while building their hand/arm strength and developing skill and confidence.

The 10" is the typical workhorse for most jobs. I use a 12" when cutting up large sections of meat.

Wusthof GP 2 is a beautifukl knife and cuts very well. The downside can be that the handle is somewhat round/oval and it can tend to turn in the hand when bloody/greasy.Thge Classic is a little more square and doesn't have so much of this problem.

Hope this helps

Joined Dec 6, 2006
I hear this business about the 10" knives all the time. I fail to see how big a difference an 8" and 10" knife have other than I feel clumsy with a 10".

What benefit would I honestly get becoming more comfortable/proficient with a 10" versus my 8" knives?
Joined Dec 14, 2006
It's purely a matter of more blade. You have 2 more inches of available cutting surface. If you are doing large quantity prep like in a hotel then the 2 extra inches of cutting surface can speed up production. If you are working a la minute, or in a confined area, then the 8" might be all that you need. I personally prefer the 10" if it will help me to make 20 less cuts in something over what the 8" would do. But for me it is not about size (macho) it is about efficiency.

I do have a personal problem with the "regular" 10" knife, it is only a longer 8" knife. The length has been increased, but not the width. This means that you actually have to raise the handle higher to operate the fulcrum of the blade rock on the board, this can actually increase fatigue, movement and safety.

I have seen people who are very efficient with an 8" knife and they stumble around with a 10". That is where practice and added strength come in to play.

But for me presonally on the 10" I like the wide version. This way I have increased the lengh to width ratio, and I actually get a knife that requires about the same movement and fulcrum angle as the 8". But since there is more knife in hand it does take more strength and control.
I am glad that you are comfortable with your 8' knife. If you are very talented and very efficient with it, I would never ask you to change.

"Keep your edges sharp"

Joined Dec 14, 2006
Seinfeld asked way back about ceramic knives and no one answered. I hope this will still get to the right person.

Ceramic knives have come into the market about like all other knives:there are some that are truly wonderful and some that are truly trash.As usual you get what you pay for.

Ceramic is harder tha steel. Not tougher, but harder. A new ceramic knife cuts like a razor and I use mine only for fine detaila and vegetable carving work, because they are so sharp and delicate.

Now I have only worked with the white CZ ceramic and I use only Kyocera. The black HIP blades are tougher, but they cost even more. Good creamic knives are expensive.

Many of these cheapies do not have the edge ground thin evough and some don't even have points; because they are so afraid of chipping that they won't get the knife thin enough to cut.

I have not used Bokers, but I do not like the finger guard hanging below the blade, this keeps me off the board at that point.

They are extremely light, (FEEL LIKE A TOY) and cut very well. The KYOTOP series is beautiful and well worth the money if you can afford it ; but they are still somewhat brittle, cannot stand any twisting or dropping and must be returned to the factory for re-sharpening.

It is a different drum and some people travel to it very well, you will not see very many in a high production kitchen, but more like in my vegetable carving.

Joined Sep 9, 2005
My beginning kit that I got in school came with a 10" chef's and I liked it... until I had to start working on a line... Then I found that an 8" worked perfect for me in a cramped area. I love the Santoku style for mincing herbs and the like, and are great (to me), for working in a cramped area since they're smaller and easier to handle.

The main components I love in a knife are: weight (I love mine heavy), and the handle feel (this is a given heh). After that, as long as it's not too clunky in a particular amount of space, I'm happy with it.

I was given a Berghoff kit and I love it. They're good and heavy, fit my hand very nicely and hold a good edge, the only thing I don't like about the kit... the steel. I find it can't hone nearly as well as the one that came with the kit from my school.

Which reminds me, I realize that diamond steels are really nice, but what brand of steels do you find work best (for you at least)?
Joined Dec 14, 2006
I love santokus. I have had as many as 7 at one time, I currently have 4. We use them daily for veg and meat work, IF, it is in smaller quantities or to be cut very thin. Most of the members of the ACF hot food competetion team use them for the classic cut skills set.

The steel in your Berghoff set may not be hard enough for the knives. The blade should ring when stroked accross the steel, if it is a dull thud then the steel is not hard enough. F.Dick is synomous with the best steels in the world. For a long time they were more well known for their steels than their knives. They make a harder knife and very hard steels.

I use a lot of Japanese knives and I use one of the fine cut F.Dick oval steels for touch up. Most manufacturers make a steel that is commensotrate with their knives, but I have seen softer steels in Dexter/ Russell, Berghoff, ect.

Diamond steeels are really great for putting on that last little "sawtooth" edge, but they cannot be relied on solely; they will thin the edge out too much or wear it down prematurely. But they are great in an emergency, I carry a Wusthof oval diamond. In the kitchen I use water stones to set the edge befor a long day of cutting.

I'm glad you like your Berghoff knives and I think you are wise to use an 8" or even a Santoku on the line where space is limited.

Joined Sep 9, 2005
In reply to the "needs to ring when steeled", that's one thing I actually liked about the set, it rings about as stereotypically as a samurai drawing his sword in a cheesy b-budget film... in fact, when if it's REAL quiet at home when I do so, it's downright creepy how much the ring hangs in the air.

Thanks for the suggestion on the diamond steel and such, never realized they could eat away at a blade that quickly. I need to take my school kit to a professional and have them re-sharpened, even a steel isn't helping them much anymore.
Joined Dec 14, 2006
Good For You,

Having Sharp Knives Makes The Work Go Better And Keeps The Food In Better Condition

Joined Sep 9, 2005
not to mention keeps me from slicing off the tips of my thumb/pinky... although when it happens it's quick and **** near painless. :)
Joined Dec 14, 2006
Well, you are supposed to keep those pulled back out of the way. Oh well, I guess after a couple of times you won't have to worry about them anymore..........

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