Cooking knives for wife.

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0
Joined Dec 15, 2017
Hello All,

I know this subject gets kicked around a lot on here more than most care. I am looking to get my wife a really nice set of knives. This is only going to be for home cooking but she really enjoys cooking but she hates her current set. She constantly complains constantly about her current knives and i want her to enjoy them as much as she enjoys cooking.

Here are some of the items i can tell you now. She preps everything from every fruit and vege, chicken, all beefs, pork and she is starting to prep fresh caught fish. At this point she doesn't cut bone so that is not a consideration at this time. I am interested in Japanese knives and want them to be on the lighter side. Budget isn't set in stone but i would like to get started with a few knives, cutting board and sharping equipment for $1000 or less.

Are there to many unknowns to give knives as a gift?

Where should i start and what other info do you need to know?

Thanks

Brad
 
510
80
Joined May 29, 2013
Brad, welcome to Chef Talk.

Where are you?

I ask, because cutlery availability is very much dependent upon national distribution. Some countries have a lot of choices. Some don't.

As a general note, "sets" put together by manufacturers don't get much love here. Instead, recommendations are for specific knives.

Also, there's a lot of emphasis on sharpening your own blades. All knives get dull with use, so that's an essential part of the general recommendations. Do you sharpen your own existing knives, or are you willing to learn?

Galley Swiller
 
3
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Joined Dec 15, 2017
Thank you for the reply. I am based in the US and not looking to purchase a set. We plan to learn to sharpen our knives as that is something we don’t do now. I’m looking at options between stones and an Edge pro. Will will use our current less expensive knives for learning.

I’m also not looking to purchase a set of knives but looking for a few specific ones like a 210-240 chefs, pairing, fillet and santoku. These are just my thoughts and if you suggest different knives I am all ears. They don’t have to be all the same maker either since I have come to the realization over the last days that some makers have certain knives that are better. My wife is really starting to explore in the kitchen, and as she improves her skills, I want her to have the right tools for the job.

Brad
 
510
80
Joined May 29, 2013
To get this posted as fast as possible, I'm recycling an earlier post I made to another thread, along with commentary:

What I would recommend would be the following:

Chef's Knife: Mac HB-85. https://www.chefknivestogo.com/macchse8gy.html It's a no-frills Japanese gyuto. On line, the discount price is about $70. It uses Mac's (proprietary "Original" steel and is mostly sold to professionals. It's 8-3/8ths inches long (210mm). If you want a larger and longer knife, then a Mac BK-100 would be my recommendation (about $110 on discount, 10 inch - 255mm - length). The BK-100 is often found used by line cooks in restaurant kitchens. https://www.chefknivestogo.com/macchse10chk.html

Utility Knife: Mac HB-70. This would be the knife for smaller jobs (especially if you choose the larger BK-100 above, or if both you and your wife are prepping in the kitchen at the same time). About $60 on discount. Multiple sellers on eBay at the discount rate. This is where I might have recommended a santoku. Generally, I don't recommend them, since other knives (such as the gyuto) are just better overall knives. And the chef's knives I list above are just better all-around knives. The HB-70 is listed here, since it's the nearest equivalent in feel to a small French Sabatier-pattern chef's knife.

Beater Knife: Old Hickory 75-8 slicing knife, 8 inch length carbon steel. Under $12 from Amazon. Mac knives are like almost all other Japanese high quality stainless steel knives - they have very hard steel, which makes for wonderful edge taking and retention. Unfortunately, that comes at a price - if the edge encounters frozen materials or bone, it can cause pieces of the edge to break off, a phenomena known as "chipping". To avoid that, a "Beater" blade can be used around bone. Old Hickory knives are made with 1095 steel. You can put a good edge on them.

Paring Knife: Victorinox 3-1/2 inch fibrox handled spear point. Just a few dollars. They will get worn down fast enough in sharpening, so you may not want to invest a lot.

Bread Knife: Victorinox, at least 10 inches long, fibrox handled stamped steel. The serrated edges are difficult to sharpen, so most chefs replace them when they start feeling dull. I prefer Victorinox for their steel ("X50CrMoV15", aka "4116" steel), which is better than most other inexpensive serrated edge bread knives. There are a number of sellers on eBay for around $30.

Magnetic Blade Holder: Getting a big wooden block just takes up valuable counter space. Instead, go for a magnetic blade holder. Whether you want cheap or something with more class is up to you. Here, I'm just recommending cheap. Harbor Freight Tools has an 18 inch long bar for just under $5.

Cutting Board: The BoardSmith 2" x 12" x 18" end grain Northern Maple. This is a very good board. Thick enough nor to easily warp. Splurge here. Just over $120. http://www.theboardsmith.com/product/maple-2-x-12-x-18/

Mineral Oil for Treating the Cutting Board: I get mine from a local grocery store at $4 for a pint. Look in the pharmaceutical area for mineral oil. It's exactly the same thing that is sold for cutting board treatment on line for $10+ for 8 ounces. Then slather it on in multiple applications until the board won't accept any more oil. The board needs to be saturated in oil, until it just refuses to accept more.

Sharpening Stones: Chef Knives To Go offers a 3-stone kit with magnifier and deburring felt for $170. These will handle almost everything you need to do. https://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html

Angle Guides: For freehand sharpening, this is one idea I kick myself for not thinking about earlier. Just $11. Rather than spending on an Edge Pro, use the stones in the above kit, and these AngleGuides to develop hand sharpening skills. Cheaper in the long run and arguably as good or better.
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/anguforshst.html

Some tricks for sharpening: When you have the proper angle, keep your wrist rigid. That will maintain the proper angle as you lightly sweep the edge across the stone. If you also use your torso as the body in motion (while keeping your arm rigid), then that will also minimize angle shifting during sharpening.

Honing Rod: Idahone Fine Grit Ceramic Rod, 12 inch length. Also known as a "sharpening steel", it's used to align the edge of your blades. One caution: don't whack the edge against the rod. Instead, quietly lay the edge at an appropriate angle against the rod and gently let the edge slide along the rod.$32.
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/sharpeningrod.html

That's my take of the most effective "Bang for the Buck". Just over $500.

Galley Swiller
 
2,848
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Joined Nov 15, 2012
I can roll with GS's knife choices in general, a very well thought out selection for the typical home chef. But in terms of a go-to knife(s), a gyuto/chefs and maybe a slicer/sujihiki also, there are much better than the "very" basic MAC -85, and they are still very reasonably priced for what you get.

Aside from the ones we've recommended in recent posts here you will find quite a diversity: some Damascus clad and some not; some carbon (will rust without some small amount of care) and some stainless or semi-stainless; any one of which is an excellent choice. Something along these lines I believe will be a real inspiration to your wife.

Sit down when you have a moment and enjoy looking these over.
 
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2,848
235
Joined Nov 15, 2012
For stones my picks are: King 300 (from amazon), Iminishi 1K/6K combi, and diamond flattening plate, both from CKTG. All for about $130.

The King 300 is real cheap, cuts fast and also leaves a scratch pattern easy for a 1K to take off. The Iminishi saves you money also and will leave a finer finish than the Rika, and do it easier. And the Flattening plate, for $30 bucks, is well worth it compared to the alternatives. The loop and felt you can really do without.
 
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Joined Dec 15, 2017
Thank you for the reply's. I will look into all these options and will follow back up with any other questions.
 

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