"Precision" Fillet work, what does this mean in the West?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by rick alan, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,031
    Likes Received:
    81
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Fish that is. Just a couple of post over the years have mentioned this subject, and very vaguely at that. I have some idea what precision work here is from the Japanese side of things, but no idea what this represents in Western cooking. Can any here clarify?
     
  2. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    53
    Exp:
    Chef Emeritus
    Not quite sure exactly what context you have in mind, but to me, it means minimal waste; practically no flesh left on the bones, the rib cage, or the skin.
     
  3. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,031
    Likes Received:
    81
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    OK that seems logical to me here. Any fish in particular where this would particularly matter? In the 2 posts where it was mentioned the individuals seemed rather obsessed, in particular about finding the perfect knife, but again no specific details about the actual cutting.
     
  4. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    53
    Exp:
    Chef Emeritus
    Any fish really. It's all about yield and presentation. It's the opposite of fish butchering, as in "you butchered the fish". LOL.
     
    brianshaw likes this.
  5. CP852

    CP852

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Exp:
    Exec Chef
    Fully agree with Pat Pat here - precision work or also known as filleting (at least that is how we call it) means to remove usable material from unusable / alternate use material (i.e. filleting a fish to maximize the yield of flesh and minimize waste).

    In terms of which knife to use for that - any knife you are comfortable and efficient with :)
     
    brianshaw likes this.
  6. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,031
    Likes Received:
    81
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    OK thanks guys, I think that establishes it. I'll now be doing a little research on the difference in technique between the typical skinny and relatively flexy Western fillet knife and the thick, wide, heavy Deba used in Japan for the same task.
     
  7. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    53
    Exp:
    Chef Emeritus
    I use a chef's knife for big round fish, a curve boning knife for big flat fish, a deba for small round fish, and a flexible fillet knife for small flat fish.
     
    millionsknives likes this.
  8. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,031
    Likes Received:
    81
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    That's an interestingly specific array of knives and tasks. When you have the time sometime it would be neat if you would explain the reasons for each application.
     
  9. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,523
    Likes Received:
    252
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    Having worked on Halibut, Salmon, Dover Sole, swordfish, Ahi and the like, precision filet work is all about the knife. It is an extension of ones hand and the right fit is necessary to filet correctly. Some Chef's use long slicing knives to skin salmon, some use a very thin and long boning knife when working on removing meat from the bone. The knife is as subjective to boning as food is to the palette.
     
  10. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    53
    Exp:
    Chef Emeritus
    For big round fish, I find anything but the chef's knife to be too small and flimsy to do a good job.

    For big flat fish, I lift the fillet up as I cut underneath, and only the narrow blade and curve profile of the boning knife allow me to get the job done cleanly.

    For small round fish, I fillet them with a similar movement as the big flat fish and the deba's curve and size is just perfect.

    For small flat fish, I cut underneath the fillet without lifting it up, and the flexibility of the fillet knife lets me do that easily without damaging the flesh.

    The main reason for such varied use of different knives, though, is that I have so many knives and I want to find some use for them all. LOL.
     
  11. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,031
    Likes Received:
    81
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Ahahaha, I had suspected you were possibly only three quarters or so serious. Still no less an impressive breakdown of tools and tasks.
     
  12. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    53
    Exp:
    Chef Emeritus
    I was actually 100% serious! I really do use the knives as I described :cool:
     
  13. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,031
    Likes Received:
    81
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Yeh of course I believe that, the point is I think you know you could very easily do the work with fewer. I myself have a half-dozen knives relegated to singular tasks, mostly just for the heck of it.
     
    Pat Pat likes this.