First set of knives - Help!

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by cpietrafesa, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. cpietrafesa

    cpietrafesa

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    Culinary Student
    Hello there, 

    I'm a student at Cornell's Hotel school and this term a culinary course is required. I really enjoy cooking and baking, and have quite a bit of experience doing it at home, but I have never had the need to purchase a set of knives before, as I could just use my mother's Wusthofs. I'm inclined to spend a bit more money on a Chefs knife and paring knife that I will have for a long time, rather than a cheap set from walmart that will meet the trash at term's end. In short, I'm looking for advice on the proper direction, and I'll outline what I'm thinking below.

    I'm attracted to a Japanese made knife with a thinner blade and better edge retention. For that reason, and the western style handle, I was looking at Shun's premier 10-inch chef's knife, but I have heard mixed things about Shuns. Apparently you pay more for the brand than anything else. 

    Something that doesnt rust too easily would be preferable, and I'm looking to spend up to $250 for a chef's knife and $125 for a paring knife. 

    Many thanks for your help
     
  2. mhpr262

    mhpr262

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    I Just Like Food
    That kind of money is not remotely needed for your first knives. The paring knife can be really cheap, like one of the Victorinoxes. You can also buy a cheap Victorinox bread knife, lots of satisfied users on any forum. mayybe $ 40 for both.

    It makes sense to spend more on your chef's knife as most of the work is done with it. A very affordable Japanes knife with an excellent blade (but slightly dodgy fit and finish of the handle sometimes) is the Tojiro DP gyuto. I have two of them in 240mm and I like them a lot.

    Plan on spending extra money on sharpening gear, though ... the best knife is useless without maintenance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  3. mike9

    mike9

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    If I was putting together a first kit - this is assuming you have tongs, thermometer, spatulas, etc. are:

    240mm guyto

    150mm petty

    3.5" paring

    10" bread knife

    plating spoon

    That whole kit can be had for $250 leaving you money for a 1k - 6k combo stone and a ceramic steel.  You can de-burr on a wine cork and strop on cardboard and newspaper.

    All this ordered from one vendor with free shipping.  If you want the specific brands I picked I can tell you, or link you up.  I have no affiliation with said vendor.  You can use the extra money for a couple of sharpening tools. 
     
  4. scott livesey

    scott livesey

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    hi,

    I have two sets of ideas.

    1)  go to the auction site that starts with "EBA" and search for vintage knives.  you should be able to find all kinds of knives in good condition for not much.  since you are learning, get some different kinds and styles until you find what works best for you.

    2)  get the following:

    4" double bevel ajikiri, a strange shape for a paring knife, but works really well

    4" x 1" nakiri  very basic mincing and fine dicing blade

    5" to 6" x 2 1/2" cleaver  should be able to do all the things the first two cant

    optional  an 8" to 10" basic french style chef's knife  you will then have one knife just like all the other students even though it will probably stay in your bag most of the time

    get online and search the auctions and knife forums.  you should be able to find knives made by Americans with American steel for less than you would spend on trendy names.

    just the thoughts of an old sailor

    Scott
     
  5. cpietrafesa

    cpietrafesa

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    Thanks for all the replies. Just to be clear, while this is my "first set of knives," I do have quite a bit of experience in the kitchen, and I'm looking to find some knives that will last me a long while. That being said, I'm just looking into getting a gyuto and a pairing knife right now, as that is all that is required, and I'll add to the set later. 

    Anyone have any brand recommendations for a high quality gyuto? There are just so many options that I feel a bit lost amidst the choices. 
     
  6. mhpr262

    mhpr262

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    I have the Hattori FH model from japanesechefsknives.com and I love the handle and finish. Great knife especially if you have larger hands. The carbonext series from the same shop is also excellent quality for a very good price but the handle is considerably smaller than the hattori or tojiro.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  7. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    Both of these are awesome knives but be aware that the Hattori KF/FH is around $275.  As nice as is it that's a lot of money for a plain-vanilla VG-10 blade.  I liked mine but sold it a few years ago, didn't feel it was really worth the money.  The CarboNext is a fantastic knife and a screaming bargain IMO.  But it's not as pretty as the Hattori, and it's not quite stainless (almost, though).

    The Tojiro DP is a great knife, entry level in price but high quality.  Even though I have some knives between $300-$800 I still keep a couple DPs in my knife case.