Line Cook - Knife Set Recommendations

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by i walk the line, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. i walk the line

    i walk the line

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    Line Cook
    Hi, I am looking into purchasing a knife set for my new line cook position. What knifes are absolutely essential to have working as a line cook. Also, is purchasing a garnishing set necessary? I am looking into purchasing a "Wusthof Classic Set" would that be a good start. Any recommendations on knifes to purchase individually to add to the three piece set.

    Thank you. Your answers and feedback are much appreciated!
     
  2. i walk the line

    i walk the line

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    Line Cook
    Anyone?
     
  3. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Three knives are plenty to start with. A chef knife, a bread knife, and a paring knife. I generally wouldn't recommend buying a set. In the "Wusthof Classic Set". the selection of a sandwich knife would be a better selection as a serrated bread knife. Also, if money is an issue, I don't feel that the bread knife and paring knife need to be forged, stamped versions would certainly be serviceable.
     
  4. i walk the line

    i walk the line

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    Line Cook
    On your recommendation on not buying a set. Are purchasing knifes individually cheaper, or? Would you recommend that I go with Wusthof or Global?

    Thanks You
     
  5. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    As a "line cook", what are you responsible for accomplishing, i.e. what "knife work" is part of your job?

    Once you determine what "knife work" you will be expected to accomplish, you will know what knife or knives are essential.
     
  6. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    I agree with Chef Layne with a few small reservations; and mostly would take his points even further.

    For most jobs, a chef's, paring (or petty) and serrated bread are enough.  For some jobs you might need specialty meat knives and/or a slicer. 

    Learn to sharpen.

    If and when you buy meat knives, get a breaker and/or a cimeter.  Forschner is the gold standard of meat knives, and are so easily found and sufficiently inexpensive that it's barely worth considering anything else.

    For everything but the chef's get Forschner -- either Fibrox or Rosewood.  Anything more expensive is a waste of money until you really learn to sharpen. 

    Only buy knives which can be sharpened and are worth sharpening.  "White handles" may represent a low initial investment, but they'll never get really sharp no matter what you do.

    Learn to sharpen.

    Forschner 10.25" bread knife, not the 8".

    Learn to sharpen.  Not send the knives to a service.  Not just okay.  Not "crock sticks."  Not a "diamond sharpening steel." Learn to frikkin' sharpen.

    A Forschner chef's knife is adequate but not good.  Get a better than Forschner chef's knife.  You'll be using your chef's knife A LOT, you might as well get something which stays sharp though an entire chef.  If you get a Japanese made chef's knife (an excellent idea) you'll also need something heavy duty for splitting chickens, portioning ribs, peeling pineapple and the like.  The Tojiro DP and Fujiwara FKM are good entry level choices.  

    Globals are very pricey for what they are.  The steel is very soft and won't hold an edge well, at least not compared to more modern Japanese made knives.  Plus, a lot of people learn to hate their handles.  If you don't have a good grip you'll find that they're slippery.  If you can't sharpen well, you'll find they don't generate much power.  Either of those encourages over-gripping, and that causes fatigue and can lead to repetitive stress injuries.  You're much better off with a Tojiro, Fujiwara or even an Artifex (sort of an uber Forschner, available at CKtG).

    Learn to sharpen.

    Henckels, Wusthof, Messermeister are good knives, don't get me wrong.  But thick, heavy knives are not the modern trend -- which is towards lighter, thinner knives; and chef's knives that are not only lighter and thinner, but have flatter, more agile French/Japanese profiles.  The trend is also towards knives which act significantly sharper than old-fashioned German knives.

    Learn to sharpen.

    Pros don't buy "sets."  Nothing says "rookie" or FNG more clearly.

    Learn to sharpen.  Sensing a theme?

    BDL

    Disclaimer:  I have a relationship with Chef Knives to Go.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  7. davehriver

    davehriver

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    I would recommend going to the nearest restaurant supply house or Sam's club and get a 10" chefs a 10" chefs, a few paring knives and a 10" slicer if needed.  Learn to use them and sharpen them.  Then up grade one knife at at time.  More food gets prepped with these white handled working knives than all the high end knives combined.  I love and appreciate good and pretty tools and have some knives in that category.  I don't share them with the help.  To reiterate the main point is spend less than a hundred bucks and have the knives you need then buy the knives you want as you figure that out.  Most of the sets available do not have any 10" knives and are really aimed at home cooks.
     
  8. davehriver

    davehriver

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    I meant to say a 10' chefs a10" bread knife,,,
     
  9. zac stovall

    zac stovall

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    Good question,  I did 2 years at culinary school (using the standard mercer culinary set) at the end of my second year I purchased "my personal graduation gift" a mid-high end 10.5 inch japanese chef's knife.  Only god knows what I would have paid to have had that knife when I started.  A solid chef's knife is all you need on the line, that having been said I don't trust anyone around to casually handle my good chef knife.  So a solid cheap serrated bread/utility knife usually offered by your job is sufficient for the line, but for any prep work and such, I recommend japanese steel, it tends to be well balanced and lightweight.  A japanese nakiri is a good choice, no tip to break or worry about, same is true with an usuba, they are perfect for your position.  If your looking for cheaper go with a chinese style cleaver.

    -Line Cook+
     
  10. johnr

    johnr

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    Where I'm at now I'm not allowed to bring my knives so I'm forced to use the house knives which are white handled Dexters.

    They may not get really sharp as BDL mentioned but they get as sharp as we need them to be.

    A 10 in Dexter or Forschner will serve you fine especially while you learn to sharpen. You can learn to thin the edge some and create a double edge which will improve it's performance. I would use the house knives for the heavy duty stuff and leave yours for less difficult tasks. I would also recommend a non-wood handle so you don't have to deal with the wood maintenance issues.

    After learning to sharpen and maintain and you may want to step up to a J Knife as BDL recommends.

    Chad Ward's book Edge In The Kitchen is useful to help learn how to sharpen and maintain your knifes.
     
  11. duckfat

    duckfat

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     A garnishing set may or may not be necessary. This depends on what line you are working. Not so much on a hot line but if you are working a cold line or even as an assistant garde manger you will find one a wise investment.  IIR F.Dick and Wusthof make small sets that are good quality and fairly priced.

    The Wusthof scimitar/breaking knife is much nicer to work with than the plastic handled forschners especially when breaking down meat or fish so it can be well worth spending a little extra on select pieces as you expand your kit.

    I'd suggest avoiding single bevel knives to start and never confuse a Usuba as a replacement for a Chinese Cleaver. The Usuaba has a very limited place on any line and even then only in very skilled hands.

    You can go a very long way with just a Chefs knife and a petty so don't get over whelmed with options that really shouldn't be options to start.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2012