Mundial knives and other suggestions

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by tylerm713, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. tylerm713

    tylerm713

    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    35
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Hello all,

    I'm new to the forum; this is my first time posting. I'm a recent college grad that's been cooking for about 6 years. I like to think I have decent knife skills, and it's time to upgrade. Here's where you all come in.

    As I said, I'm a recent college graduate, so price is pretty important. If it wasn't, I would go to Williams Sonoma and find the most comfortable Wustof or Shun and call it a day. But that's not an option. That being said, I would like to stay at or around $200. My go to knife is a 8" chef (but I have used and actually like a 10"). I need a set of knives, so I can't blow $200 on one knife (which would be pretty easy for me).

    I've seen numerous comments on this site about different "middle of the road" knives that are good quality knives that won't break the bank. One set I'm looking for is the Mundial 7 piece set from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. (http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=16324647). Anyone have thoughts on this set.

    Also, please feel free to offer any other brands, sets, etc. that you might think would be a good fit for me.

    Thanks!

    TM
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,498
    Likes Received:
    479
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Don't buy a set. Spend a 100-150 on the chefs, probably Japanese, buy a Forschner 10" bread knife and a Forschner paring knife.

    Much better set of knives for the money.

    Others' will be along soon to discuss the Japanese options.
     
  3. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    201
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    The first part of buying a knife is considering how you're going to sharpen and maintain it.  Before we get too deep into figuring out the best knife for you, it would help to know how you go about that. 

    Generally, Mundial are very much knives of a type.  They are heavy forged, Germans -- of nearly high-end quality.  For several reasons, including savings coming from moving the company from Germany to Brazil, they are a tremendous bargain relative to similar knives. 

    Personally, I don't care for the type.  A forged, German chef's knife packs a lot of power at the expense of agility.  Furthermore, power is not substitute for sharpness. 

    A sharp, agile knife will do almost everything better than a heavy knife with a lot of belly can -- with the exception of a few heavy duty tasks like splitting chicken and cutting pineapple. 

    I question the wisdom of buying a set built around an 8" chef's when you prefer a 10".   No matter how cheap, if you don't want it much, it's not much of a bargain.

    Only by way of illustration, a "better" set would be something like: 
    1. Either a 10" Forschner Rosewood series chef's; or a 24cm high-value Japanese knife such as Kakayagi ES, MAC Superior, Misono Moly or Togiharu Moly 24cm chef's knife;
    2. Forschner Rosewood 5" paring knife; and
    3. Either an inexpensive, generic 8" bread knife if you don't use a bread knife that often (i.e., just buy whatever's cheapest); or a 10" Forschner bread if baking is a bit part of your life.
    But if $200 is your real limit, my preliminary suggestion is to blow it on a chef's knife, a very cheap paring knife, a rod hone (aka "steel"), and an inexpensive sharpening system of some sort.  If you don't have a knife block or a mag bar, you can make knife protectors from cardboard and duct tape. 

    You can live without the bread knife for awhile, and the "utility knife" forever. 

    About the chef's knives:

    Forschner is the value leader in German profiled knives, but suffers in a lot of ways -- especially edge holding relative to the Japanese knives.  If you absolutely want a German profile and don't have the coin for a real high-ender -- it's the way to go.

    Mundial.  If, for some reason, you feel you absolutely have to have a forged, German profile, don't have the coin for a real high-ender, OK. 

    The Misono Molys are really excellent for the money, and my first recommendation in a 24cm chef's at around $100 for someone who doesn't want the idiosyncracies of a MAC.

    The MAC Superior and Chef's series are great choices for someone with more skills than ready cash.  Great handles, too.  They have their disadvantages though -- for one thing they're very flexible.  There are some issues about sharpening them on benchstones, but that's probably not much of a concern with you.     

    Kakayagi and Togiharu are also very good, and there are still other choices I haven't mentioned. 

    Your ultimate decision may depend on how much you want a warranty, and/or if there's some particular e-tailer you have strong feelings about.  

    I love BB&B for their customer service (including their return and repair policies), but unless you very much want something they stock, it's not a good place to buy knives.  Unfortunately, neither are WS or SLT.  IMO, the right knife is more important than the right store.

    However, let's talk sharpening, other skills, and cutting board (you need a good one that won't wreck your knives) before pulling the trigger on the knives.

    BDL
     
  4. tylerm713

    tylerm713

    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    35
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    BDL, thanks for the great response.

    I had considered creating my own set of knives. I have a mag bar from IKEA that I really like, so that's not a problem. Throw into that mix a good santoku as well (my fiance won't touch a chefs knife, and we like to each have a knife). All of the knives you mentioned look like great suggestions, but I won't order one without seeing it first. That begs the question of where to find these. BB&B has a very limited stock, as do most kitchen stores. Any suggestions on where else to look? Restaurant supply stores maybe?

    On to your other questions, I'm going to hand sharpen myself. I already do this for my hunting knives, but the equipment and technique seems a little different and not quite as important for hunting knives. I've perused some other threads and taken some notes about other equipment I'll need.  As far as cutting blocks, I have two. One is a JK Adams, which works fine. It's very soft, and doesn't appear to dull my knives I have now. I also have a bamboo block that I was given. I have no idea who made it or where it came from, but it's harder than the Adams, and much faster. Still, it seems to be fine on knives. I also have two boards for chicken, fish, etc.

    Let me pose a very simple question to you: if someone handed you 150 and told you that you had to buy one knife with it, what would it be?
     
  5. tylerm713

    tylerm713

    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    35
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Ok, so I did a little more seaching at JCK, and here are a few that I found that would be in my price range for one good knife.

    Kagayaki Basic ES 270mm gyuto $128

    Misono Moly 270mm gyuto $132

    Misono 440 240mm gyuto $132

    Hiromoto Tenmi-Jyuraku 270mm gyuto $150

    Kanetsugu Pro M 270mm gyuto $128

    Fujiwara FKM 270mm gyuto $88

    Fujiwara FKS 270mm gyuto $108

    Fujiwara FKH 270mm gyuto $81

    JCK Inazuma 240mm gyuto $125

    JCK Gekko 240mm gyuto $121

    I'm not necessarily saying I will for sure get a 270mm, I just used it as a means of comparison, assuming most sizes on either side of 270 should be pretty similar. Let me pose two questions to everyone. Of the knives in this list, which is the best knife, and what is the best value?

    Thanks.
     
  6. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    201
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    For my own use, at $150 or less, I'd choose one of several Sabatier carbons.  As it happens, I already own several Sabatier carbons.  If I had to replace one and was limited to the same money, it would be a Misono Sweden.

    Sheer boredom combined with so much writing about them does have me thinking about buying a new knife.  I'm seriously considering  "wa" handled, shiroko (type of carbon steel) knives, and really like, the Masamoto KS and Tadatsuna.  I may end up with something else.

    If I were buying you a $150 present, it would be a MAC Pro Chef's at 9.5" unless you gave me reason to feel otherwise. 
    There is no such thing as a best knife, only knives of various qualities which more or less meet your chosen criteria.  I know the knives well enough, but not what you want. 

     Hiromoto AS, G3 and Kagayaki (JCK's house brand) VG-10 give you great alloy for the money.  You didn't list the 24cm Kagayaki VG-10, but should have. 

    The best knife for the price is probably the Misono Moly.  You could make an argument for many of the others.  But they all have idiosyncracies, while the Misono is a well-integrated whole.  IIRC the Molys are listed as being made from VG-1.  However Takefu recently stopped producing it, so Misono's probably stepped up to the better VG-2. 

    There are a lot of good knives out there, and at $150 it shouldn't be too difficult to find at least one which puts together nearly all the qualities you desire reasonably well.  Many won't be sold at JCK though.  You may want to peruse Chef's Knives To Go.

    Most home cooks find the extra convenience of a 240mm knife outweighs the extra productivity of a 270mm.  I prefer a 270.  A 240 will save you money.

    The good news about knowing how to sharpen is that it's not going to be much of a learning curve to switch to waterstones.  The bad news, is that you're close enough to being able to use a complete kit that you may as well order it with the knife. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2010
  7. fifty150

    fifty150

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    After many years, and countless dollars spent, I've accumulated a fairly vast collection of knives.  Just like a plumber who can't have just one wrench, or a mechanic with special purpose tools that only do one thing, no cook really has just one knife. 

    Martin Yan claims that you can do everything with your Chinese cleaver.  And while the Dexter Russell Chinese Chef Knife, or choy do, really does do a lot of work, you probably have not even considered it.  As a matter of fact, very few people have exposed to it and are intimidated by the size. 



    Joyce Chen sells a reasonable priced facsimile.





    But at the end of the day, from German names that command attention, to Japanese sharpened on one side like a samurai sword, the one knife that I reach for most is a "cheapie", disposable ceramic knife.  What?  Cheap, disposable ceramic knife?  Well, yes and no.  Low in price - YES.  Disposable - if you want to throw it away, you won't miss the $20 USD or less that you spent on it.  If I would have started out with one of these, I may never have accumulated all of the other knives in my mismatched collection.  

    This one is so good, that my girlfriend and I have three in our kitchen so that we can both reach for one, and have a spare just in case she is working on vegetables, I'm cutting sashimi, and she wants to debone a chicken.  Last year, we hosted a holiday meal, and all her girlfriends thought that we were crazy to have three, since brand name ceramic knives can go for $150 USD or more.  They were all pleasantly surprised to find that we gave each of thm one to take home as a stocking stuffer. 

    Okay, so this is not the best knife in the world.  No question about it.  You can't compare this to those fancy knives that go for well over $200.  But you will not get anything better in this price range.  You will be glad that you bought it.  And none of your friends will know that you did not spend a bunch of money on the Ming Tsai special.  As a matter of fact, someone actually asked if we were using one of those very expensive knives that Ming Tsai sells.

    Look into a 6" Ceramic Chef's Knife from Harbor Freight.


    Only: $19.99

    Sale: $12.49

    Description

    Constructed of extruded, ground and sintered zirconium oxide ceramic, this chef knife outlasts any steel blade! The ceramic knife is ultra sharp to allow you to easily cut or slice a variety of foods and materials. Features include a rubber-coated handle for quality grip and comfort making this a great lightweight ceramic knife to have in any shop, garage or kitchen!
    • Ultra-sharp ceramic blade cuts with precision and accuracy every time
    • Lightweight and perfectly balanced for comfortable use
    • Stain- and rustproof
    • Ergonomic, rubber-coated handle
    Overall dimensions: 10-13/16" L x 3/4" W x 1-9/16" H
    Shipping Weight: 0.31 lb.


    Specifications
    Name6" Ceramic Chef's Knife
    SKU98186
    MaterialABS
    Shipping Volume0.023
    Piece Count1
    Manufacturer Warranty Detail100% Satisfaction Guarantee! If for ANY reason you are not satisfied with this item, you may return it within 90 days for a full refund or replacement.