New Cook describing current equipment

Joined Oct 11, 2015
Hello everyone,
I work for a Country Club in the midwest US, where I have been for about 1.5 years. I started as a dishwasher, and only started to do banquet prep at the beginning of the year. Promoted to being a line cook in early may. Survived the busy summer season by the skin of my teeth. My intent with this post is just to describe the equipment that i am currently using, the few bits that have been discarded, and perhaps part of what my job duties are. I do have questions, but won't be asking them here, this post just gives me something to point to, to perhaps better inform anyone wishing to give me advice as to where i am at. I occupy the "garde manger" position on our line.

My "knife roll" is a Wustoff backpack. I bought it off of an old timer in the kitchen who had received it as a retirement present and never used it.

In it, I carry (currently) daily:
Victorinox 8" Chef's Knife, fribrox handle (nearing the end of its life, and this is the 2nd)
Victorinox 10.5" Bread Knife, fribrox handle (couple months old, not as sharp was it was, but still better then anything in-house)
Victorinox 3.5" Paring Knife, fribrox handle
Shun Hollow Ground Classic 7" Santoku
WinCo 10"? serrated offset blade (I let the servers use this, didn't like the way it cut sandwiches, was "replaced by the bread knife above)
Digital Temp. probe (forget brand-not able to be calibrated)
2x Euro Peelers (one for Horseradish, and a good one for everything else)
1" narrow spatula (forget brand)
Fish spatula (forget brand)
A set of stainless (Italian made) scissors--originaly purchased for hair cutting, and the only edged item in my "bag" that has seen the dishwasher
A Cutco spreading knife
A set of Cusipro stainless measureing spoons, 1tbsp - 1/8 tsp (5 in set)
Winco 2" brush
5 Serving Spoons (larger then a tbsp, not used to measure)
2 Dinner Spoons (larger then a tsp, not used to measure)
Two Ice Cream scoops, one size 8, one 16, both broken due to dealing with rock hard Ice Cream
Benriner Veg Slicer (Mandoline)

Considering that all of the line cooks that were hired after I was promoted (for the summer rush) purchased no more then a single chef's knife, and all but one have since quit... I should think that the above demonstrates a fair commitment to my role in the kitchen.

The whole reason I have signed up here, is that I have a Shun Fiji 8.5" Chefs Knife in shipment, and some of what I have read on this website has scared me to the point that I think I need to throw it on the shelf for awhile. (I will disregard any replies talking about this knife here, so just dont, my questions will be elsewhere.) Was told by a few in the kitchen that I was not ready for that knife, and I think they were right.

Anyhow, hello everyone! I have a feeling I will learn lots from this site, thus why it was worth signing up for.
Joined Jun 23, 2015
Wow how do you take care of your knifes?  Two chef knifes destroyed in 1.5 years.  I still use a Victorinox I have had for 35 years.  I would learn how to care for my stuff in my kit before I spent a lot of money for more stuff to tear up. 
Joined Oct 11, 2015
Yeah, that's the problem. Thus far I've had one of the two most experienced cooks/chefs (but not the head chef) do the sharpening/honing for me. I've been a bit timid in approaching that subject. The purchase of that Shun Fiji seems to have put an end to that now, and I'll have to go it alone from here on out.

I judge a knife's sharpness by its ability to cut into tomato skin. Both of those Victorinox chef's knives still easily cut things like turkey breast (without tearing the meat), they just don't do tomatoes like they did when new(er).

We do have a tri-stone in the kitchen, however picking up my own stones/steels is what is next on my "shopping list." The honing rod that I have my eye on is the Mac 10.5" black ceramic Honing Rod. I've really only just started looking at stones.

The first Victorinox blade ended up being a gift to a home cook, who absolutely loves it. Sad thing is, the wear and tear my current one has taken over the summer rush,... The tip was damaged, don't know how, happened in the middle of a major (dinner?) rush over the summer. Perhaps the last 3/8" is gone. That 1st one is probably in better shape then my current one.

Even tho I now have the Fiji, I fear using it until I can take care of it. I may end up just leaving it home. The Shun Santoku has been my go-to knife as of late, however the Victorinox still sees plenty of action. I absolutely love having multiple knives at my disposal, as if I have one that has been say cutting raw tuna, need to cut something else but don't necessarily have the time to properly clean it, I can just grab a different one.

The Winco knife may just end up becoming a gift to the house, I literally use it for nothing.
Joined Oct 11, 2015
Even tho I've had the Fiji for most of the week, so far I've diced 4 roma tomatoes, julianned 1 red onion, sliced one chicken breast (1/2" slices at a 45deg bias--for a salad). I've dropped a few cucumber slices on it, that's about it.

The CC's kitchen is about to do a group order to JB Prince (which will end up coming out of our paychecks). I've got a couple of Mac Chef's line knives on my radar. I want the rod mentioned above, I also want the 4" Santoku (I might pull the Victorinox 3.5"paring knife in favor of this), and the 10.5" wavy edge slicer. Had my eye on that Mac slicer since before I picked up the Victorinox bread knife (all the Victorinox stuff I've bought locally from brick and mortar). The Victorinox bread knife was just simply amazing at first, would cut a clubhouse sandwich like butter. Its edge has taken a toll with use however, and is nowhere near as sharp as it was when new. It is however still vastly sharper then any house knife. I have taken a hone to that knife (and the Benrinner's main blade) on the non-sharpened side at a very low angle to remove burrs, which has helped somewhat (in both cases).
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Joined Nov 15, 2012
If you're having trouble protecting your knives from serious damage then maybe it's best you stick with NSF knives for now.  You can find ones with a nice profile like the vic.  Your old vic should be just as god at slicing tomatoes as when it was new, I suspect that it has been ground down so far that it is too thick behind the edge, making it difficult to sharpen as well as too thick for easy slicing, and needs thinning.  The bread knives are effectively sharpened with a 1200 grit waterstone that you round an edge of to fit between the apexes.

Maybe go ahead and get yourself a MAC, if you think you can reserve it safely for the finesse work.  But you know a vic isn't exactly skinny at the tip, the steel is relatively soft, and it's a little scary that you you managed to break the tip here, you wouldn't want to see that happen to your MAC which is thinner and harder.  Ah but s..t sometimes happens.

There are professionals here who better understand where you are at and could better handle your needs than us home-kitchen jockeys who don't have to concern ourselves with the demands of a pro kitchen, perhaps some will chime in.  Spoiledbroth was especially helpful here, but he's been hanging pretty much exclusively at the Kitchenknivesforum for a while now.  Of course there are lots of folks over there who could help you, even though they're mainly more interested in talking about high-end stuff.

Joined Oct 11, 2015
Its actually kinda surprising how many of the knives currently in use in my kitchen that have had their tips removed. The head chef uses a 9.5" Kikuichi (hammered damascus), which got damaged at some point when no kitchen personnel were in the kitchen about a month ago. Most of the kitchen staff leave their kits at work--I don't.

The senior non-salaried guy, who is a big Mac guy (and Shun hater) who has about 8 years in our kitchen... his 10.5" Mac Pro chef's knife has been missing its tip for as long as I can remember, and has a decent chip in it about 8" from the tip. His 8" (8.5"?) of the same line lost its tip this summer too. He had a veg. cleaver, which over the summer he managed to shatter on a frozen bag of clam chowder. I don't recall the mfg, as I didn't see it laying around much. It had a much taller profile then the Mac veg knife I see available from JB Prince (not Pro line, Chef line). Most of the knives in use in our kitchen have come from there, purchased in house and taken out of paychecks (so far, none of mine have been from this route).

Edit: I should perhaps get a picture taken of my 'workspace'/'station.' I work on NSF cutting boards, unsure of the depth, at least 18" but no more then 24". in front of that (away from me) is stainless steel, which is vertical, part of the station itself, that raises up approx 5", to the upper bays that hold my most commonly used ingredients. You can tell by looking at my Victorinox that it bent then broke, whereas a harder blade would have broken before bending (or so I have been told).
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