Allround knife for a student

17
1
Joined Dec 9, 2017
Hello! I have been lurking around here and read loads of threads on knives, which has been most useful!

However, I have quite a specific question:

I have a student son who is living with his girlfriend, and who is hence mostly cooking for two.

He enjoys cooking more and more – which is great! – and so I'd like to encourage this a bit with buying him a good knife for Christmas.

Because of prices/offerings around where I live, my choosings have narrowed down to these alternatives:
-MAC chef (HB-85) (8.25 in) – 60 usd
-Victorinox chef's knife (8.5 in) – 50 usd
-Victorinox Santoku (6.7 in) – 65 usd

Which of these is a better buy? And – more importantly – which of these is the best choice for a 25 year old who mostly just does everyday cooking? OR: are there other knives that you would rather recommend?

I am of course fully aware that the choice of knives are also subjective. And I am not after finding the ultimate knife for him for the rest of his life, but just one that is much better than the one he's got in his rental, and that will make cooking easier and even more enjoyable for him.
 
510
81
Joined May 29, 2013
I would go for the Mac HB-85, even though the prices I've seen tend to run more towards $70, rather than $60. The reason is that the Mac is just overall a much better core steel (Mac Original steel - proprietary steel, made by Hitachi) than the X50CrMoV15 (aka 4116 steel) used by Victorinox.

The one major drawback to most Japanese gyutos is that they are not good around bone or frozen foods. A beater knife (such as the Ontario Knives "Old Hickory" 79-8 chef's knife, 8 inch long blade, less than $20 from Amazon.com) for use in those circumstances is worthwhile. The drawback to the Old Hickory is that it's made from 1095 carbon steel, so it needs IMMEDIATE attention and cleaning and drying after every use, or it can (and likely will) rust. But, an Old Hickory can be sharpened to a very good edge.

Also, seriously consider getting a water stone for sharpening (at least 8 inches long x 2 inches wide - in metric terms, 200mm x 50mm), with a grit of around 1000. A set of AngleGuides ($11) will help considerably.

And a decent hardwood cutting board will also help (at least 18 inches x 12 inches). Buy some mineral oil to slather onto the wood and let it sink in over multiple applications. I get mine from the drug section of a supermarket for about $4 for one pint.

Hope that helps.

GS
 
2,865
236
Joined Nov 15, 2012
Well it is a no-brainer if those are your 3 knife choices, dito the HB-85, and dito the Old Hickory, either chef, slicer or butcher styles. The MAC is relatively tuff, but with the old hickory you can cut thru chicken carcass, smash thru hard squash, section spare ribs and such without concern.

Edge-grain board of anything but acacia, teak or bamboo is fine, or the HighSoft synthetic boards.

Sharpening with a stone is not so difficult, options to that all have their negatives such that I believe any man can handle a stone with better results all around than options under $150.
 
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17
1
Joined Dec 9, 2017
Many thanks for your replies! Very useful. I will definitely go for the MAC, then.

The reason why I chose the three knives I mentioned in the OP, is that they are all on special offer where I live (Norway), plus, I know that both brands are reasonably good. And the MAC at 499 NOK ($60) should be a very good buy, as well as a good choice.

https://bakerenogkokken.no/kjokkenkniver/mac-kniver/chef/mac-chef-universalkniv-21-cm/
(Normail retail price here is 895 NOK ($105)).

Thanks a lot also for recommendations about cutting boards and sharpening tools.
 
17
1
Joined Dec 9, 2017
Many thanks for your replies! Very useful. I will definitely go for the MAC, then.

The reason why I chose the three knives I mentioned in the OP, is that they are all on special offer where I live (Norway), plus, I know that both brands are reasonably good. And the MAC at 499 NOK ($60) should be a very good buy, as well as a good choice.

https://bakerenogkokken.no/kjokkenkniver/mac-kniver/chef/mac-chef-universalkniv-21-cm/
(Normail retail price here is 895 NOK ($105)).

Thanks a lot also for recommendations about cutting boards and sharpening tools.
 
17
1
Joined Dec 9, 2017
I should add that any sharp knife would be an upgrade from the shitty knives that came with his rental, but it's nice to get him something that will last him a while, at least until he eventually would want to buy knives foe himself.
 
17
1
Joined Dec 9, 2017
And thank you so much for mentioning Old Hickory knives! Being European I had never heard of them before. I think my son would likely not need one, as he mainly only needs a knife for chopping vegetables and some fish and (mainly boneless) slabs of meat, but I certainly need one. Btw, are they suitable for butchering raw turkeys? Or should I preferably get a cleaver for cutting through bones and the like?
 
2,486
492
Joined Oct 9, 2008
You don't need a cleaver for poultry. As a home cook who's pretty hard-core about knives and such, I find that I use an actual cleaver just a few times a year. A very durable heavy beater knife is more useful for most home cooks, and the Old Hickory is a fine choice there.
 
17
1
Joined Dec 9, 2017
As I have already written in a previous post, I have ordered the MAC HB-85. However: how does it compare to Global G-2, 20 cm?

Are there real quality differences between the two, or does it all boil down to personal preferences?

Sorry if this is a silly question, but I really don't know a thing about knives.
 
2,865
236
Joined Nov 15, 2012
MAC is the right choice. I would throw in the French Fischer Bargoin Zen line, but never actually hearing an objective review on them, and not knowing their availability and cost from where you are, I hesitate. Old Hiockory is made in Canada, hopefully there are no real problems getting them to Norway.
 
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