French Chef Knife?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by riderc90, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. riderc90

    riderc90

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    Alright.

    So I think I am looking for a French profile chefs knife. Based on my research and experience that is. However, the only reputable brand of French knives is Sabatier. Not that they're bad. Just not feeling the love from them I suppose. I don't have a great reason. I guess I like options not a monopoly.

    Anyhow.

    The reason I want/need some good French profile knives is because I am a "pull-cutter." (Occasionally a push cutter.) I generally wear out any German style chefs knife because they have entirely too much curve/arc entirely too early. So what I end up doing is holding the knife at a 40-60 degree angle and using mostly the tip.

    This works. However. It is starting to damage my wrists. And the tip of my knife is disappearing because it is the thinnest part and is having to be sharpened more frequently than the rest of the knife.

    Anyone that can help feel free to reply! Any and all help is appreciated!
     
  2. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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  3. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    Do check out the posts in the thread listed by Kokopuffs.

    Also, keep in mind that there is no single company known as "Sabatier".  The brand name of "Sabatier" actually covers a number of different lines of knives made by a number of different companies, almost all of which were traditionally based in Thiers, France (south of Vichy).  There was also an awful row made in France in the 19th Century about trademarking the "Sabatier" name, to the point where over 20 brand names using some sort of "Sabatier" label were at one time or another in production and sale, each named line produced by a different knife maker or company.

    Nowadays, there are 3 companies which are considered to have historical roots to the Sabatier name - Sabatier K, Thiers Issard and Mexeur et Cie - which have or recently had their product lines available in the United States.  There is also at least one "Sabatier" brand sold in the USA, imported by an American company, with knives made in China.

    For the real thing (i.e., made in France), consider the carbon-steel lines as your first priority.  None of the stainless steel french knives are particularly distinguishable from other stainless steel knives.  It's the carbon steel knives which really sparkle in the culinary action.

    "Sabatier-K" knives are available both directly from France (http://www.sabatier-shop.com/ ) and from an outlet store in South Carolina ( http://www.sabatieroutlet.com/ ),  You can also find Sabatier-K knives from other retailers, including Amazon.com and China Fair Inc 

    Carbon steel "Thiers-Issard" knives are mostly available through "The Best Things" ( http://www.thebestthings.com/ ).  

    Both the Sabatier-K direct site and The Best Things site have offerings of "historical" knives, where there are knives made from knife blanks which were forged decades ago.

    Mexeur et Cie used to be carried by Sur La Table, but I don't know if it will return there.

    As for the Chinese-made Sabatiers, they are all stainless steel - and sold in sets of 15 or 13 knives (with knife blocks as part of the sets) for $40 and $60.  Make your own impression from that price point as to the quality - 

    In each case, take a look through the search engine at ChefTalk to get the past comments and reviews, especially by Boar de Laze ("BDL")

    Hope that helps

    Galley Swiller
     
  4. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    The only stainless Sabatier I own is a bread knife made in China and it works quite well after 10 years of use.  All the rest are made of carbon steel purchased at retail stores long ago and at ebay and yes there are occasional deals to be made at ebay, still!
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  5. riderc90

    riderc90

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    I am calling it pull cutting. But I do not know. With the right knife I hold at 20 degrees straight down until I get contact with my board and then pull back.

    German style is terrible for me for some reason. I have to hold it at a more aggressive angle. It is uncomfortable and it ruins the tip because it's not what the knife is designed for.

    I thought a French style would be better because the blades generally aren't as deep or aggressively angled.
     
  6. mhpr262

    mhpr262

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    why does it have to be a French knife? A Japanese gyuto is pretty similar in profile (if anything they have even less belly) and they are available with gigantic blade lengths (300mm and over) so you won't have to raise your knife to such a high angle for food of the same "height".
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  7. riderc90

    riderc90

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    It doesn't have to be a French knife. I have used a wide variety of knives including a few customs. Just in my browsing a French style seemed appropriate.

    And yes benuser, I would be willing to do so. I am always open to learn more and expand my knowledge and experience.
     
  8. riderc90

    riderc90

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    Fair enough. I'm heading to work now and will give this a shot. I'll let you know how I do with it
     
  9. riderc90

    riderc90

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    It's a very different feel for me. Slicing and rock chopping is easier and more comfortable. It may be a usable technique once I do it enough. But right now it feels foreign. Perhaps my knives aren't suited to it either.
     
  10. rdm magic

    rdm magic

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    If your pull cutting is what I imagine it to be, consider getting a cleaver.
     
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  11. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I have a German style chef knife. Sometimes I pull. Sometimes I push. Sometimes I rock. Sometimes I roll (not really).

    Even if you pull cut you don't have to be restricted to using only the tip, in fact when I pull I use the leading edge where the belly just starts to curve towards the tip.

    You say you occasionally push cut. When you do, you don't use the tip do you? Same principal with the pull cut, just in reverse.
     
  12. riderc90

    riderc90

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    Coincidentally I am getting a cleaver. :)

    And thanks cheflayne. That's a really good way to look at it
     
  13. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Or it might get illustrated by this knife


    which is the one I use at  work for 98-99% of my tasks that require a knife. It allows me to push, pull, rock,,slice, glide, guillotine, etc., It can do them all.
     
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  14. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Then I would probably recommend that you not do it.
     
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  15. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I don't insist on pulling, in fact I probably do very little pull cutting, but I honestly don't know to tell you the truth. I work with a knife 6-8 hours of continual use a day and i just work without really thinking about whether I am pulling, pushing, glide and guillotine, or whatever. After so many years it just comes naturally. I know when dicing celery, the lengthwise cuts that I make first, sometimes I pull, sometimes I guillotine. I don't always do it the same way, no rhyme, no reason, just the moment. I don't think there is only one way to do anything. Over the years, my observation about people working with knives is that the abilities of the knife generally exceeds the abilities of the operator.
     
  16. dillbert

    dillbert Banned

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    I'm a bit puzzled about the 'pull' thing wearing out a knife tip and also the high angle.

    using a fat bellied Wuesthof, I use the 'pull' cut on many things - a slice of ham/pork/beef going to a julienne for stir fry, for example.
    yesterday I had a 4 lb roast which had to be halved - too much for two people...  two passes on a draw/pull cut with a 10 inch chef, all done...

    veggies are mostly a rock&chop - like celery/carrots/leeks/scallions - anything long & thin .... fingers under.. knuckle guiding . . .
    but I must add, for veggie prep the 7 inch santuko has become my flat out favorite tool.

    the only 40-45 degree thing I can think of is using a 6' chef's to trim off the rind of smoked (something) meat.
     
  17. excelsior

    excelsior

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    My knives cut through air like butter! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/bounce.gif

     
  18. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    Melted butter or frozen butter?

    GS
     
  19. juliandavis

    juliandavis

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    I have a Lion Sabatier chef knife that I bought around 1980 and I like it better than my Wusthof's & Henckel's. It keeps an edge much better than the German knives. I came across this link for Sabatier info: http://www.reference.com/browse/sabatier.
     
  20. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    After rebeveling my Henckel's chef knife purchased in '76, it seems to keep its edge much longer.  It was formerly a single bevel knife and its new bevel is much much shallower than previously.  And the Idahone ceramic hone does a hellacious job in keeping the edge honed.