knife abuse

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by redzuk, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. redzuk

    redzuk

    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    I've never used a really good knife, trying to get an idea how gentle you have to be with them.  



    The guy did pretty a good job on the parsley but would that kill a super sharp knife, would you ever use the technique of holding the tip and chopping down?   Or what about bouncing it from the tip to the heel like that?  Whats the toughest Japanese knife?  Would you even fear working on a rubber board like that one? 

    Parsley and garlic are two things I would chop like that, also two of the things I wouldnt mind chopping in the food processor.  
     
  2. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

    Messages:
    2,076
    Likes Received:
    221
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Those sani-tuff boards are pretty decent on knives, actually -- I'd say second only to endgrain wood.

    As to the technique, you can't really tell how brutal he's being, because you don't know how hard he's pressing down with his left hand (the one holding the tip). If he's got a reasonably light touch, this is a classic French technique being adapted slightly for a modern Japanese knife, and on the whole I'd say he does it pretty well.
     
  3. trooper

    trooper

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    23
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    I would use Sani-Tuff boards at home if they didnt weigh 9,000 pounds.

    You should be able to use ANY knife on a commercial board - or it isn't a good knife.

    When you mince - a knife with a nice front-back balance is nice. Looks like that guy's got the right knife and balance for him.
     
  4. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

    Messages:
    2,076
    Likes Received:
    221
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Actually, sani-tuff boards warp in a home environment, because they can't live on most home cooks' countertops. If you stand them on end, they bend. It's very annoying.

    You should actually be quite careful using an usuba on them, however good the usuba might be, but that's kind of a special case that may prove trooper's rule.
     
  5. trooper

    trooper

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    23
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    I've worked at a place that's had the same twenty or so Sani boards stored in a cubby like books on end for as long as the place has been in business (nine or ten years I guess) - 22" and 16" sandard size boards - I've never grabbed a warped one. I can see if it was used on a small home counter, where the board is longer than the counter top, and had to rest on the raised drip-edge; My counters are 32" all the way around, so that wouldn't be an issue. It would be nice to have a couple 22x30 sani boards built-in/recessed into a butcher-block counter top for primary work surfaces. then just pop them out as needed for washing. It would be nice to have two of these cut-out recessed things, so I could pop-in/out one wood and one sani or whatever, for processing meats or beets or dough, etc... Kitchen remodel is scheduled for next year however. ; /
     
  6. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

    Messages:
    2,076
    Likes Received:
    221
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Really? Quality must have declined, then. If I stand a SaniTuff on end, within a few days it won't sit quite flat on a countertop. Drives me bonkers, actually. My big SaniTuf has now been sawed in half because of this: I just keep half-size boards on hand for cutting stuff like raw chicken where I want to be able to heave the board in the dishwasher. The mid-size one, however, irritates me, because half-sizes would be useless or nearly so, and the thing as it is is too big to be in the dishwasher, so since it can't live on the countertop and stay flat it just sits around vertical and warps. I hate the thing.
     
  7. Iceman

    Iceman

    Messages:
    2,486
    Likes Received:
    422
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    OK. You guys got a lot to say about the sani-tuff-boards (whatever, sp?). Did you even look at the guy's knife-work? The whole series of vids is fun to watch. NO, he doesn't look like the TV Japanese guys, but he's very good. I can do all that stuff, but nowhere as fast. The kitchen would look like it was raining mise en place. You should see that he is rather light-handed because everything stays there in front of him nice and neat. Like I said, half of mine would be all over the place if I tried to be that fast. 
     
  8. trooper

    trooper

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    23
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    To answer the question in the video - YES - that's what knives are designed for. and the rapid mince he's doing by "vibrating" the cantilever of the knife (holding tip and rear of spine and using the weight of the handle as a counter-weight for rapid mince) - very common and usually done better with a J-Knife, as forged ones are just a lot more heavy.

    The sani biard he is using is a cheesy 1/2-5/8" thickness; The ones we use are 3/4" and they are heavy beasts.

    You have to remember that he's just cutting a green leafy herb, very soft - Not pounding the knife into the cutting board. If he did the exact same work on a counter, marble, stainless-steel, etc... that knife would be destroyed.

    But wood, sani-tough boards - very forgiving.

    The only thing a sani-tough board is good at eating an edge is of you slice on it. I had to cut a bunch of thinly-sliced fish, between two sheets of parchment paper, into 2"x8" rectangle serving sizes.

    (My knives are literally the sharpest in the kitchen, and in any kitchen I have ever worked in short of the Korean sushi place, anyway.... I get all the detail jobs.)

    My knife would slide through the fish and both pieces of paper with ease, for the first few cuts, then I had to adjust my slicing angle slightly up, then down, as the friction to the sani-board just ate my ultra-sharp edge.

    Impact to the board and normal use, not a problem. Medium-high-pressure friction on a long slice cut (dragging the edge of your blade for ten inches a hundred times or so) - knives don't like that very much.
     
     
  9. redzuk

    redzuk

    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    I knew a guy that would hold three knives in one hand and beat the board pretty hard to chop parsley, that had to be tough on his knives. 

    Never had the sani boards at home, at work they always warped in the dishwasher, you had to get them out when hot and set them on a counter.  I'm talking about the thinner ones, as I recall like Trooper said the thicker ones dont warp.  I was starting to think most of you were using wood boards with the ultra sharp japanese knives. 
     
  10. trooper

    trooper

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    23
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    I'd love to use wood in a commercial kitchen, but the way we move around, abuse the boards and scrub the crap out of them after meats / after service / etc - I don't think a wood one would live long. I like the bigger workspace anyway, and a 22x18x3 wood board would suck to move from place to place in a busy kitchen. I like the bigger kitchens that have dedicated areas for prep - and sometimes dedicated prep stations off the line. If I was in a situation like that, I'd probably bring my own wood butcher block.

    The only knife abuse i see is when cooks use way more force than needed to mince, chop, rock/slice - just no conservation of energy. That doesn't really "hurt" the knife as much as the board, but in most kitchens i work in, cooks bring their own personal tools. abuse is something *other cooks* do to your stuff. (Like slamming my UX10 into an ice cream machine that I'm still pissed about, but anyway....) I work in random kitchens all the time, and the less skin a cook has in the game (their ow gear), the more likely they are to abuse house equipment.
     
  11. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

    Messages:
    2,076
    Likes Received:
    221
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    In many areas, wood boards are a fault in the sanitation code anyway, at least in the US.
     
  12. trooper

    trooper

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    23
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    Quote:
    I haven't seen much of that. In Arizona there is specific language in the food code about the benefits of wood and risk of plastic. The first time I walked into a commercial kitchen I was worried about having all NSF-Certified personal equipment and non-wood handles on my knives and tools... "Use whatever you want" was the response I got.

    Again - if the wood contact surface is in a fixed place, and can be maintained - I'd rather have that over any synthetic surface. You can always grab a sanituff board for chicken or whatever is needed.

    The strict cross-contamination rules are - (I don't want to use the term "lax" or "soft") - maybe incorporated differently? in smaller kitchens. For example, the idea where there is a red, green and yellow cutting station and dedicated, color-coded knives for each meat, dairy, veg, etc.... I have honestly never seen that outside of a huge catering/institutional kitchen like a University or high-production, single-product sourcing facility.

    FlowQuat and good cleaning/sanitation on station between major food groups has always been the rule in my experience. I try my best to start with veg, then any dairy, then meat then fish/chicken/pork, etc.... Do my best to stage prep in a way where I am working with the least hazzardous ingredients at the beginning and doing the most hazzardous ingredients toward the end - but it just doesn't always work out that way.