Another "Help me finding my first quality (japanese ?) knife", as a beginner

Joined Dec 26, 2015
Hello everyone,

I've been through several other posts, and although some of them approximatively had the same expectations that I do, I ended up so confused with all the different things I've been reading.

So as many others here, I've been looking for a knife to take my first steps into the oh-so-incredible world of cooking. As for my skills, I'm a complete beginner who desperately wants to enhance her cooking abilities, but I've recently felt like I couldn't improve my technique without any quality material. And the first thing that I decided to acquire is a decent knife.

So as far as I've read the other threads, I might be commiting every single mistake a beginner can make, as clinging to the idea that a Santoku might be the only thing that I need ; or wanting to get a professional knife while I should rather practice with an affordable one before getting the real thing.

But the thing is, I still have a very childish and naïve vision of the world of cooking, and as unreasonable as it sounds, I find some aesthetic appeal in the idea of having a japanese knife (both for the quality feature and the symbolic one, since I happen to have Japanese origins). For the same symbolic reasons, and for financial ones this time, I also hoped I could get a knife that could last for years and with which I could improve my skills from beginner to... well, amateur. I'd rather pay a high price once than a 50$ knife that will need being replaced with a 200$ one as soon as I might be able to use the latter properly. But if getting comfortable with a cheaper knife turns out to be necessary, I won't be picky.

I'm planning on buying one single knife, and I must admit that I'm not of the cautionous kind with my stuffs. Thus it would be a huge advantage to me if it didn't require to be sharpened too often (but I guess that it is wishful thinking here ; I don't know how to sharpen a knife yet but I inevitably will have to learn).

As for my budget, as I still am a newbie, I guess 150$ might be enough. I wanted to get a quality knife really much ; but it might be a bit ambitious for a beginner, and I'm starting to wonder if I should rather aim at a convenient quality-price ratio : is it really useless to get a professional knife for home cooking ?

For the material, I've read that a stainless steel could be interesting, but would it be affordable/necessary ? And as for the brand, Mac Pro seems to come back a lot in discussions, yet some say that it is a bit overpriced. I've read good things about mid-range Tojiro knives ; but what about their entry knives (I found some at ~50$), are they correct and suitable for my case ?

I'm not focused on Santoku knives anymore since many seem to say that a Gyuto is at least as good and convenient (yet my first goal is to be able to chop accurately and quickly -don't laugh, my current knives can't even do this-, which seems to be one of Santoku knives features).

Thanks a lot !
Joined Apr 25, 2014
Tojiro DP is a good entry level knife.  It's like $50 on amazon.  Their carbon steel series, not that good.

If you step up to the $150 range a bunch of options open up

I played with a Togiharu from korin yesterday that was pretty nice and they have 15% off sale right now.  Free initial sharpening, but you pay shipping.

JKI has gesshin uraku stainless, gesshin stainless, and gonbei lines in your price range.  All solid performers and you can ask Jon to sharpen it before (free) shipping

There are other vendors that I usually recommend, but the initial sharpening is important because Japanese knives only have a rudimentary edge from the maker usually.  It's left up to the user (or vendor in these cases) to put on the edge they want.
Joined Nov 15, 2012
I'll second Millions recommendation here.  But look, knives need sharpening.  Forget about high wear resistant super alloys, they are out of your price range and not tough enough for the abuse they are likely to see at your hands.


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