Beer Drinker with Champagne Problems

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Joined Dec 20, 2016
I'm normally extremely budget-conscious.  While I appreciate quality products and artisan craftsmanship, much of my culinary arsenal can be attributed more to diligent treasure hunting, sweat equity, and serendipity than purchasing power.  However, I have returned a plethora gifts to Williams Sonoma over YEARS that has resulted in a merchandise credit totaling close to $800!  It is awesome in that it is essentially "free" money, and perplexing in that Williams Sonoma is not a store that carries those items that I salivate over.  (Pre-1940 iron skillets and 2.5+mm copper are not to be found in big box stores in general.)  Hence my dilemma.

One thought was to blow it all on a few Shun Premier knives.  Do I think that they are the best knives out there...or even the best for their price point...no.  Then again, I am a home cook who really doesn't need the culinary equivalent of a Lamborghini to run errands in.  I cook often, but only for myself and loved ones.  The knives that I have been using are a ridiculously oversized set of 22 Global Classics that I bought off of a culinary school dropout over a decade ago.  It was a great deal and they have served me well, but I don't use half of them and am not enthused about the handle material or shape.  It would not pain me overmuch to sell them to some other ambitious soul.

To the belated point...  I know that many of you do not recommend Shuns when there are better quality or value options to be had.  However, I have a 20% off total purchase coupon and a card full of "free" money.  My major limitation is that I have to spend the aforementioned wad at Williams Sonoma (or one of their affiliated companies - Pottery Barn, West Elm, etc). 

The specific knives that I am considering are the:

     - Kiritsuke Knife, 8"

     - Nakiri

     - Bread Knife

     - Vegetable Knife

     - Ultimate Utility Knife

After applying my coupon code and adding tax, the total for the five knives listed would be $653.61.  Given this, would you still caution me against the Shun Premier line...or my particular choices within it?  If so, do you have any alternative suggestions for culinary dreams sold in this particular big box store? 

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
 
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Every knife is so grossly overpriced that I really can't say, but the 10" Shun Fuji is the best knife they are showing online, that or the Dual Core or Blue 2 (carbon core with stainless cladding) Kurotsuki which I didn't find on the site, but is sold by WS.  Pick up some Vics with the rest.
 
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Every knife is so grossly overpriced that I really can't say, but the 10" Shun Fuji is the best knife they are showing online, that or the Dual Core or Blue 2 (carbon core with stainless cladding) Kurotsuki which I didn't find on the site, but is sold by WS.  Pick up some Vics with the rest.
Thanks.  It's an odd problem to have, "free" money to spend in a store that I am not that enthusiastic about.  My inner miser shudders at spending more than necessary, even if it is not "real" money.  I already own the higher-ticket items that I could shop for (nice pans, dutch oven, etc).  There are some odds and ends that might be useful such as a jumbo sized Roul Pat.  I do not need to blow the merchandise credit on knives.  That was just an item in the kitchen that I was game on replacing.  I'll check out the ones that you suggested.
 
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What knife is going to be your main prep knife? What is your current grip and preferred cutting motion?

What is the vegetable knife vs the nakiri?

Save some of your credit and just get a
 
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Joined Dec 20, 2016
What knife is going to be your main prep knife?
My intention was to use the Kiritsuke as my main prep knife.  My understanding is that they are a bit more difficult technique-wise, but I have the advantage of not needing to rely on speed.  I can take things a bit slowly while new to it.  That being said, I would be thrilled to hear from those of you with more experience providing differing perspectives.
 What is the vegetable knife vs the nakiri? 
I am not sure I understand your question. 

If you are asking me why I put a nakiri on my list rather than a santoku or even a usuba...

I often use a my current santoku and like it fine, but do not "rock" the blade.  My knifework is technically fine...but slower than your average line cook or chef.  I rarely cook under strict time constraints and it shows.  My thought was that the straight edge of the nakiri would better suit my "style" of cutting.

If you are asking me why I put both a "nakiri" and "vegetable" knife (as identified by WS descriptions) on my hypothetical shopping list...

I like having short knife for cutting in hand and performing a myriad of tasks.  I have reasonably small hands at 6.5" from wrist to the tippytop of my middle finger.  It's nice not to use more blade than necessary for repetitive chores and in-hand cutting (coring, trimming, etc). The "vegetable" knife that i referenced is essentially a snubbed parer with a 3" blade.  They make a paring knife that has a sharp tip with a 4" blade.  However, one of my concerns regarding Shun blades was the fragility of the tips as breaking them seemed to be a complaint in several reviews that I read.  All the blades I picked are snub-nosed.
What is your current grip and preferred cutting motion?
I use a pinch grip and a push pull motion.  Should it matter to you, my cutting surfaces are end-grain teak and maple butcher blocks.
Save some of your credit and just get a <$50 bread knife from another brand
I actually already have a cheap bread knife as I leave a set of decoy Calphalons in a block on the counter for the SO to use.  He also has dedicated pans.  I know that makes me sound at least a little crazy, but that's better than the raging lunatic that I would appear if he managed to melt a tin lining or scour the seasoning off an iron skillet.  While I have a small kitchen, I do not begrudge the space suck of owning cheaper duplicates...given the anxiety that it eliminates.  My "no drama" edict is more a product of careful planning than inner chill.  The addition of a bread knife was primarily a choice of aesthetics/presentation as it semi-regularly gets used at the table for a home-made boule.  As for saving some of the credit...I am deliberately trying to use it up.  There is simply not much that I need to acquire from Williams Sonoma (or their affiliates).
Do you do any in-hand cutting or peeling?
I do.  Coring tomatoes, halving avocados, and de-veining shrimp are a regular occurrence.  I also reach for a paring knife when lopping the tops off of strawberries, de-stemming lacinato, peeling ginger, and the like.
Does WS have other knife brands that aren't always in-store but can use the store credit?
Williams Sonoma, Wusthof, Shun, Global, Calphalon, Chef's Choice, Chicago Cutlery, Cuisinart, E. Dehillerin, Epicurean, IVO, KAI, Kikuichi, KitchenAid, Kyocera, Laguiole en Aubrac, Laguiole Jean Debost, Nesmuk, Messermeister, Michel Bras, Oaks Bottom Forge, Sabatier, Victorinox, Wolf Gourmet, Zwilling J.A. Henckles
How are these going to get sharpened?
I currently use a whetstone with guide rails (set for Global as it is their brand) for light upkeep.  However, I am a little leery of my ability to maintain uniformity over time and like to utilize a professional shop periodically.  One of the marketed selling points of the Shuns is the lifetime of free sharpening.  Albeit, "free" is a bit of a misnomer as you still have to pay to ship the knife resulting in a fee of $5 for the first knife and $2/ea additional knife from Shun.  I will more than likely continue to use my local provider as I have been happy with his work.  Besides, I like supporting local craftsmen and the owner is a retired professional knife thrower who teaches classes on throwing knives and tomahawks for a reasonable fee /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
 
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Joined Dec 20, 2016
IMO forget knives at WS. Waste the money on le creuset, all clad, vitamix
I appreciate the thought and do not need to blow it on knives.  However, I already have a 9qt Staub Dutch oven (prefer it to Le Creuset), assorted copper pans (prefer to All Clad), and own a Vitamix/img/vbsmilies/smilies/blushing.gif   I did use part of the credit on a Fissler pressure cooker, but still have plenty left.  I guess I could hold onto the merchandise credit for another few years in anticipation of something failing.  I just have a waste-not mentality and fight the good fight before discarding/unloading anything.  The Dutch oven and pans carry lifetime warranties and the Vitamix still has four years left under warranty, much less how long it will continue to run.  The SO is mechanical and keeps everything running indefinitely around here/img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

There are a few things that I have been lusting for, but none are carried at Williams Sonoma...although the thread regarding sous vide is giving me ideas.
 
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
I'll happily help with your problem. Go to WS, pick out something very nice and ship it to me. I'll pm my address to you. Merry Christmas. 

Or you could contact a local community kitchen (formerly known as soup kitchens) and see what small ware needs they have. Or just donate the card to them. 

But I like my first idea best. It's up to you.  
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
You could get the Shun Blue kiritsuke or grab some stuff from the Fuji line. Mind the very low tip.

Still think the bread knife is not a necessary buy if you already have one and it can cut homemade boules. 

Didn't realize the vegetable knife was that funky sheepsfoot paring knife. Since you mentioned coring tomatoes, I'd suggest getting a more typical paring knife profile because the tip is very useful. Haven't chipped a tip yet on food. Hitting wooden cabinets and metal sinks tip first- yes, but on food- no.

Absolutely cannot understand the Shun utility knife shape. Save the credit on this one and the bread knife and get a more traditional shaped paring knife.

I'd encourage you to graduate from the guide rails one day. Seems like you should have one if not more competent sharpeners in the area (who do periodic classes).

You could send me your old Vitamix and buy a new one :3

I also like chefwriter's 2nd idea.
 
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Joined Dec 20, 2016
 
I'll happily help with your problem. Go to WS, pick out something very nice and ship it to me. I'll pm my address to you. Merry Christmas. 

Or you could contact a local community kitchen (formerly known as soup kitchens) and see what small ware needs they have. Or just donate the card to them. 

But I like my first idea best. It's up to you.  
Sure.  Just pm me the address and I'll show up on your doorstep with an assortment of large, sub-par knives (cue maniacal laughter).

In all honesty, checking with a local community kitchen regarding their needs is a really good idea that I am a bit ashamed I did not have myself...especially this time of year.
 
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Joined Dec 20, 2016
Absolutely cannot understand the Shun utility knife shape. Save the credit on this one and the bread knife and get a more traditional shaped paring knife.
The, perhaps ill-conceived, concept is that of a sandwich knife.  You employ the serrated edge to cut your bread and tomatoes while using the broad surface to spread your condiments.  I fully cop to being a bit fascinated by it largely because of the foreign profile.
I'd encourage you to graduate from the guide rails one day. Seems like you should have one if not more competent sharpeners in the area (who do periodic classes).
That's a fair point.  I don't always use the guides, but still rely on them more often than I probably should.  I have not looked into class availability for sharpening.  I may have been a little sidetracked by the knife/tomahawk throwing instruction.  I'll research that tomorrow.
 You could send me your old Vitamix and buy a new one :3
Sure thing.  Ill swing by your place right after I demonstrate the knives to chefwriter.  Just pm me the address.
I also like chefwriter's 2nd idea.
Me too/img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
So long as you've got a bread knife that works for you and a sharp chef's knife I still feel like that wonky thing is rendered pretty unnecessary, especially considering its price tag (yes, even though you've got that marvelous store credit).

It has seemed like Metier Cooks Supply periodically has hosted a knife sharpening class/demo taught by a local exec chef. He's a good sharpener, and you can bring in your own knife to practice on/have him put an edge on. Had a mix of King, Naniwa, Gesshin stones to use the time I went (Metier sells King, Mizuyama, and Gesshin stones IIRC).
 
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Joined Nov 15, 2012
The sous vide is a very good idea.  And real money can easily pay for some decent knives.
 

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