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View Full Version : Pride in your knife =



Lefty
05-20-2011, 11:41 AM
I was at a local sushi restaurant last night, with my wife. It is one of those passably good "all you can eats". It's definitely worlds apart from a Korean/Japanese I went to last week, but still not bad to quench my craving.
Halfway through the dinner we were given a beautifully sliced and very nicely presented plate of salmon sashimi.
I took a closer look at the chef and he was busy making sauces. I looked to his left, and there was a teenager cutting away to make order after order.
When there was finally some down time, the young guy walked to the back and grabbed a 1k, a 6k and a piece of heavy cardboard. He began to sharpen his knife, off to the side instea of taking a few minute break like everyone else.
I went up and chit chatted to discover he was using a Suisin 300mm Shiro-niko yanagi.
I learned he's a super nice kid, with a huge passion for knives who wants to learn some skills at a joint like the one I was in, and then start all over at a well respected restaurant. I thought this was really cool and his knife was just beautiful! AND over a month's worth of wages for him.
The funny thing was, when I realized how much he cared about his knife, it explained why the food was getting better as we were there longer- he was making it, instead of the chef!
Do you agree that often, pride in your knife and knife skills = a quality chef?

echerub
05-20-2011, 11:46 AM
I think it's pride in your work that makes the difference, and that it is reflected both in terms of knife care and food preparation (of which knife skills is a part).

MadMel
05-20-2011, 11:47 AM
I would rather say pride in what you serve = a quality chef. Cause he has pride in what he wants to present to the customer, therefore he invests in a good knife and takes time to learn and perfect his knife skills. I think that kid will go far. Get his name dude.. He may be the next Nobu or Morimoto for all you know.

Lefty
05-20-2011, 11:53 AM
Good call! Haha.
It was really refreshing to see, and he knew RIGHT AWAY, when I asked about his knife, what I cared to know!
Another funny thing was that it looked almost like a 330mm in his hands, but it was a 300.
I'm 95 percent sure this is his knife:
http://korin.com/Suisin-Saika-Kengata-Yanagi

MadMel
05-20-2011, 11:56 AM
Another funny thing was that it looked almost like a 330mm in his hands, but it was a 300.

I get that all the time.. My 240 looks like a 270 in my hands. Maybe that's cause I'm smaller in size then most would expect working in a kitchen.

Eamon Burke
05-20-2011, 11:58 AM
Sounds like my kind of guy!

Go back there, and tell the management that you like his food best! If he's not there, ask for him.

Lefty
05-20-2011, 12:01 PM
I'm actually thinking of Getting his name an mentioning him to the "good" one in town (by good I mean mouth orgasm).
I just might do what you suggested, doughy. A little bit of recognition is always a great thing.

MadMel
05-20-2011, 12:17 PM
I'm actually thinking of Getting his name an mentioning him to the "good" one in town (by good I mean mouth orgasm).
I just might do what you suggested, doughy. A little bit of recognition is always a great thing.

Can be a double edge knife, recognition. I've peers who have won a few competitions and worked in a few high-end places who get too arrogant to continue learning. Depends on the mindset really. But getting his name mentioned to a good chef in a better working environment should do something for his prospects.

Craig
05-20-2011, 01:46 PM
This is probably something that is more true in a sushi joint than it would be in a say, Italian joint. Pride in your work is probably more accurate, but when your work involves a lot of precise cutting, it manifests as pride in your knives.

Mattias504
05-20-2011, 02:37 PM
Pride in your knives = pride in your knifework = pride in your food = better chef.
Having the sharpest knife and the best knife skills won't make or break you but its damn important. It details that tells the difference between average and awesome.

toek
05-20-2011, 05:10 PM
In my humble opinion a good quality chef is caring about the food and puts pride in serving nice flavors and food prepared in such manners as it should be. He or she cares about the origin and quality of ingredients and spices.

Most chefs i know treat their knifes as tools and keep them in good order in the same way as a carpenter treats his tools. They are needed to get the job done and not much more.

A great chef has passion and the ability to create new flavors

But then again one of my best friends and also one of the best chefs i know like knifes and cares a bit more, not like me though :D

JohnnyChance
05-20-2011, 06:07 PM
Some of the best chefs I have known arent obsessive about their knives. Bad knives does not equal bad cook. And conversely, great knives does not mean a great cook. However, if you care that much about your tools, generally you are pretty decent. Every kitchen I have worked in, those who care about their knives are among the top cooks in the kitchen.

It is kinda like drag racing. Sure, everyone has a engine that produces a ton of horsepower, but if you want to excel and get everything that is possible out of your performance, you care just as much about the aerodynamics, suspension, tires, etc. This was more true years ago when people were still figuring those things out in drag racing, but even today every team is looking for any little thing they can do to make themselves 0.001 seconds faster.

Citizen Snips
05-20-2011, 09:16 PM
i would say that its not about pride in knives, knife work, cooking, cheffing or whatever. the bottom line is that its the ability to have pride. some people just do not care about anything in the professional environment and those are the people with dirty, chipped, dull knives (usually shuns) and put out the same garbage night in and night out.

the real key for almost everyone here is the attention to details. that is what makes a good knife nut as well as a good chef. ive worked with and for lots of people who were possibly better than me but continually put out worse food because of my attention to detail. when i cook, whether at home or work, i do it with a state of mind that is not rushed. i can get more done than the next guy but better and faster because of my ability to multi-task as well as being smart about how you move.

i think a lot of similarities exist between our passion here with knives and our passion at work with food. yes knives are used to make food but the care and mindset are very similar.

Tristan
05-20-2011, 10:04 PM
At the good japanese places I have eaten at, they use knives that we would recognise here, at the lousier ones, they get by with whatever. I seldom see the reverse being true. But I think for sushi/sashimi, the fact that the knife makes the cut, which IS the cooking, makes all the difference. There is only cutting and plating for sashimi. So knowledge of the cut and a good knife is the sum total of the food (apart from freshness and quality)

For other cuisines, I've eaten very well even at places that use $12 plastic handled victorinox knives. But it might be that there is less awareness locally. I just went to the two most popular food service stores in singapore, and there wasn't a quality knife to be seen at all, though there were racks and racks of cheaper choices.

MadMel
05-21-2011, 03:18 AM
At the good japanese places I have eaten at, they use knives that we would recognise here, at the lousier ones, they get by with whatever. I seldom see the reverse being true. But I think for sushi/sashimi, the fact that the knife makes the cut, which IS the cooking, makes all the difference. There is only cutting and plating for sashimi. So knowledge of the cut and a good knife is the sum total of the food (apart from freshness and quality)

For other cuisines, I've eaten very well even at places that use $12 plastic handled victorinox knives. But it might be that there is less awareness locally. I just went to the two most popular food service stores in singapore, and there wasn't a quality knife to be seen at all, though there were racks and racks of cheaper choices.

Yeah. But in Singapore, I think the main reason for that is that the knives are usually not bought by the chefs themselves but by the restaurant. And most guys besides the head chefs wouldn't bring their knives to work cause 1) Some co-worker would totally destroy/steal them and 2) they are afraid of the ridicule that will follow by bringing your own knives. Fact is, no matter how good you are with your knives, you are still gonna be labeled as a show off (if you are good) or a kid who has too much money to spend (if you are average).

Cnimativ
05-21-2011, 04:17 AM
Wheres this sushi place?

Chefs in the sushi restaurant i frequent sharpen their knives daily if not more... And apprentices start by learning the kitchen maintenance baics..