Gift to my parents

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by sukita410, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. sukita410

    sukita410

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    Hi everyone,

    I do not have much experience with knives or cooking but these last days I was learning a little bit about it as I am planning to buy one set of knives to my parents.
    My first idea was to buy a Shun because some websites says that this is one of the top brands in the market. However, reading the forum here I checked that many people do not like Shun for various reaons and I could find better knife paying the same price that I would pay buying a Shun. Then, I changed my mind and I am looking at the Wusthof and Fibrox although one japanese knife would be cool as my father has japanese blood. I know about the difficulties to maintain certain knives but I think my father could be abble to learn very easily if it is not too complex to sharpening. What do you suggest that would be under 400 dollars?

    sorry any grammar mistake
     
  2. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    Welcome to ChefTalk!

    People here on this knife forum are pretty passionate about their own preferenc es, so don't be surprised if there's a lot of disagreement.  Hopefully, they will keep it civil.

    Before any serious recommendation should be made, we should hear something about the intended user(s).  So, here goes:

    1) This is to be a gift for your parents.  Do both cook, or is it just one who does the cooking?  If both cook, do they ever do it together?

    2) What types of cuisine do he/she/they like to cook and eat?  (Asian?  Tex-Mex?  Haute French Cuisine?  Hungarian goulash?  Meat and Potatoes?  Something else?)

    3) How many people do(es) he/she/they usually cook for?  What's the largest number of people he/she/they are likely to cook for at a single sitting meal during the course of a year?

    4) Do they have a good cutting board?

    So, let's start at least with some basics.

    Many, if not most of the people on this knife forum really don't prefer or even like knife sets.  Buyers of sets are spending a lot of money for a lot of knives, but the per knife value in production and material costs means that these knives will likely be lower value.

    Truth to be told, a good chef will end up mostly using three basic knives: as good a quality affordable chef's knife, a reasonably good (but preferably less expensive) paring knife or petty knife, and a serrated edge bread knife.  If they're smart, most of the money will be sunk into the chef's knife, and good quality, but less expensive paring knife and bread knife will round out the cutting edges.  

    But, that's not all that's needed.  You need to be able to slow the dulling process and you need to bring the knife back to sharpness once the knife invariably dulls.  (And don't believe any "Never Dulls" sales pitch.  The only knives which never dull are those which are never used).

    So: Basic purchase recommendation No. 1. - A Good Cutting Board.  The best are end grain hardwood cutting boards.  The big names in mass produced hardwood boards are John Boos and Michigan Maple Block.  There are also any number of small-scale board producers (such as The BoardSmith), but at this time, you don't have the budget for them.

    http://www.buybutcherblock.com/mm5/..._Code=ASEG1515SQ&Category_Code=choppingBlocks

    The link above is to the on-line store for Michigan Maple Blocks and is for their 15 inch square by 2 inch thick end grain hardwood maple chopping block.  Yeah, it's heavy, at 11 pounds.  But, it's a solid product and with proper care (read, flood it with mineral oil), it will last decades, giving a good cutting surface that will minimize the dulling of the cutting edges of your parents' knives.

    If you are dutiful to your parents, you will have prepped the cutting board before you give it to your parents.  Once you get an end-grain cutting board and take it out of its protective wrap, immediately begin treatment.  Buy food grade mineral oil (I buy mine from my local Safeway for $3.49 per pint - the least expensive I can find anywhere).  Then pour some of the mineral oil onto the surface of the board, slather it around and as it disappears into the grain of the wood, pour more oil onto the board.  Keep spreading and pouring the oil until no more appears to be absorbed.  Wait until all of the oil gets absorbed, turn the board over and do the same for the back side.  Repeat the process as soon as the second side has all of its oil absorbed.  Then the next day do another two-side oil slathering and absorbing session.  Then wait two days and do another two-side session.  Your goal is to get enough oil into the board so that it will not absorb any more oil.

    Now, Recommendation No. 2: A Good Honing Rod.  Note that I do not say "Sharpening Steel".  Honing rods properly align the microscopic edge of your knife - and are instrumental in getting the edge microscopically re-aligned.  The best are ceramic.  One of the best is the 12 inch Idahone.  $32.  In using it, DON'T do as Gordon Ramsay does.  You don't want to bang the rod against the rod - you only lightly draw it across the edge at a shallow angle (about 15 to 20 degrees) as a "cutting" action which engages the full length of both knife edge and honing rod - and is then repeated on the opposite side.  The "cutting" alternates from side to side of the edge on each alternating stroke.  Remember: No drum bang; Yes violin swoosh.

    Here's a link to an Idahone seller:  http://www.chefknivestogo.com/sharpeningrod.html

    'nuff said bout honin' rawds.

    When even the honing rod won't work, then it's time for a sharpening stone.  Try this one:  http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kingcombostone.html

    You can also order an angle guide from Chef Knives To Go at the same time for 3 cents!

    Enough for now - when you can, give us answers to the questions.

    Galley Swiller
     
    spoiledbroth likes this.
  3. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    If you are considering Shun, look into the Shun Classis 3-knife set. Does everything except slice bread. Can't help but repeat some of the previous: ceramic hone + wood cutting board really helps. Don't get too confused or discouraged by the extreme detail and finicky processes some would rather do than cook or eat. Focus on the most basic; you and your folks will figure out the rest. You sound like a very good child!
     
  4. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    Ouch!

    Well, my boss did say at my retirement that I was too wordy.

    To which I replied, "Let me say some things about that......"

    Galley Swiller
     
  5. sukita410

    sukita410

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    Thanks for the help everyone. My mother cooks everykind of dishes, for Brazilians, everyday normally for 4 people.She and my father like to try to cook different kind of dishes and my father normally cook brazilian barbecue and some japanese food but he does not know how to do sushi yet. I am pretty sure that eventually he will try because we both like sushi. As I am living in Australia right know and I am coming back to my country in the end of the year, bring a board would be too heavy and I think that is better buy this one after I arrive there. What would be a good knife to slice meat ?
     
  6. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    You are in Australia right now.

    Are your parents in Brazil?

    Sorry about my misunderstanding.  When inquiries come in and don't say where they are from, then there's often a general guess that we are looking at United States based correspondents.

    You're right about the cutting board.  That probably needs to be found much closer to where your parents live.  

    Unfortunately, I don't offhand know what woods are available and used for cutting boards in Brazil, but I will take an internet search.  The general rule of thumb is that the wood (1) has to be hard; (2) has to have a consistent grain pattern (meaning little tendency to grow with gaps or cracks), (3) can be glued up easily (some woods will not accept gluing very well) and (4) is not toxic (one rule of thumb used by a custom boardmaker who sells his boards as The BoardSmith is that if you can eat the produce of the tree, such as its fruit, it's likely that you can safely use the wood in a board).

    Sorry if I'm getting too long-winded again.

    GS
     
  7. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    What a wonderful gift.  :)  

    .

    .

    .

    Psstssst hey sukita.  I have a secret.  I am your father.  I'll save you the time.  PM me for my mailing address. 
     
  8. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    I also forgot to ask (must be a sign of my impending senility)

    Which currency your $400 budget is in - Australian dollars or U.S. Dollars

    If it's in U.S. dollars, then $400 US works out to $460 Australian (at an exchange rate of $1.15 Australian for every $1 U.S.).  That also works out to about 968 Brazilian reals, at Google's exchange rate.

    If it's in Australian dollars, then $400 Australian works out to $348 US (at 87 cents US for every Australian dollar).  That also works out to about 840 Brazilian reals, at Google's exchange rate.

    That will help the rest of us try to seriously sort things out.

    Galley Swiller

    p.s. - if we're talking about for cooking for 4 as the usual, then perhaps a 270 mm sujihiki would be overkill.  Something along the line of a 210 mm to 240 mm gyuto would be, in my mind, more appropriate for that quantity of food preparation - GS
     
  9. sukita410

    sukita410

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    I am in Australia now but my gift is for my parents that live in Brazil. I will buy the knives here but as everyone is saying that a set of knife is not a good choice for many reasons I will buy 3 or 2 knives separately for them. I need at least one chef knife and something to slice meat in general. I am also thinking to buy one japanese knife(preferably damascus steel), wet stone and hooning steel for myself because I want to train knife sharpening. Would a ceramic Hooning steel be a good option ?
     
  10. sukita410

    sukita410

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    hahaha Nice try "dad"
     
  11. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah was worth a try at least.  :)  
     
  12. tweakz

    tweakz

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    I don't think knives make good gifts unless you know exactly what THEY want.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2015
  13. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    We're making progress here.

    Yes, definitely get a ("wet") water stone.  The best are made in Japan.  Preferably you will want two different stones, or a combination stone with two different grits (one on each face).  The low grit stone or face needs to be in the 800 to 1200 grit range and the finishing grit stone or face needs to be in the 4000 and plus range.  Size needs to be at least 200 mm long, 50 mm wide and 25 mm thick.  Note that these are MINIMUM stone sizes.  Bigger, BIGGER, BIGGER  is better when it comes to water stones.

    One mandatory rule for water stones - Never Use Oil With Water Stones!!!!

    Yes, definitely get a ceramic honing rod (also known as a ceramic "sharpening steel").  Get one with as smooth ("fine ") a surface as possible.  Get the longest length available.  AND PUT A HOOK IN YOUR KITCHEN TO HANG THE CERAMIC ROD AND SAFELY STORE IT.

    Now, about knives.

    First, about Damascus.  I don't like Damascus.  It doesn't do anything to help the performance of the blade and all it can do is get marred and look awful.  To restore a Damascus blade's appearance, you need to do a special chemical etching process.  It's more bother than I want to go through.  But, it's your money and your choice.  Just don't say I didn't caution you!

    My general recommendation is for a 210 mm to 240 mm gyuto.  It's long enough to be able to deliver a long enough stroke during carving, so meat will not look like it was sawn by small strokes.  But it's short enough to be comfortable in not overwhelming the chef.

    I am going to go out on a limb here and make a specific recommendation for a specific knife - the Hiromoto Tenmi-Jyuraku Gingami No. 3 steel 240 mm gyuto.  It is available from Japanesechefsknife.com, which is a reputable retailer in Japan.  It's a classic gyuto shape, made by a 78 year old bladesmith, Futoshi Nagao.  The steel is Gingami No. 3 (one of the more interesting "super steels").  Unfortunately, production is either slowing down or has stopped, due to Mr. Futoshi's advanced age.  The price (in U.S. dollars) is $145.00.  Shipping anywhere world-wide is $7 (US) for an order.    The web page is http://japanesechefsknife.com/Page4.html#GingamiNo.3

    Another alternative is a MAC Professional 9-1/2 inch Chef's knife (model no. MBK-95).  For that, the web page is http://www.macknife-australia.com/  Unfortunately, my computer is not giving me cooperation today, so I am not able to find out the prices in Australia.  Maybe you will have better luck.

    Hope that helps for now

    Galley Swiller
     
  14. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    Man!  I really am getting forgetful.

    I forgot to talk about presentation of a gift knife.

    In a number of cultures, it is considered proper to place a small coin with the gift of a knife.  That is to indicate that the giver is not cutting off relations.

    Of course, there are some cultures (such as Thailand) where the custom is for the recipient gives a small coin back instead.

    Galley Swiller
     
  15. sukita410

    sukita410

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    We dont have this in my culture hehe. Thanks a lot for your help I think I will take your advice and buy one MAC professional. Do you know a good online material that teach about sharpening ?
     
  16. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    This is a good place to start. 

    I'd recommend watching through all the JKI videos
     
  17. tweakz

    tweakz

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    Yeah Jon makes some great sharpening videos! If you're like me having the time and interest, other perspectives are nice. Murray Carter has some nice videos as well.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2015
  18. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    As linked above, Jon Broida's videos are excellent.  Murray Carter is also both informative and entertaining (who else would be willing to use an ordinary concrete block and a Japanese newspaper to sharpen a knife?).  Both are expert - both are entertaining.

    Other good videos can be found at the Chef Knives To Go web site and you might also look up Bob Kramer (though he is probably the least informative of the video demonstrators mentioned here).

    If you want a written description of the process, look at and read Chad Ward at eGullet: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/

    Hope that helps!

    Galley Swiller
     
  19. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    I like Murray Carter's philosophy on stone flattening because I'm cheap.   I don't sharpen knives more than I have to, and I don't flatten stones more than I have to either. 
     
  20. tweakz

    tweakz

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    -Yeah! It's weird that he sells such expensive knives and yet teaches us these money saving tips like how to keep a stone flat, and stropping on news paper. (You can also flatten a stone on sand paper).  The sharpening on a brick of course is for emergency situations. I was a salesman once, and one of the things I learned from the boss was that his customers weren't concerned about prices or saving money. They just wanted to hear positive stuff: keep them saying yes, and they bought.

    John, and Carter both seem to care about their customers!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2015