View Full Version : A Tall Gyuto With A Belly - An Universal Appeal?

Marko Tsourkan
03-27-2014, 12:21 PM
A friend of mine who has been talking to chefs in his area (who are not part of KKF community) noted that many if not most, expressed preference for tall gyutos with a lot of belly.

This made me wonder if the preferences of the majority of KKF community (less belly, not overly tall blades, primarily push-pull cutters) are not representative of the wider population who still prefers to rock-cut. I understand that European chefs knives with thicker convex grinds won't lend well to push/pull cut, at the same time as thinly grind Japanese style knives are much efficient performing push/pull cut so no rocking is necessary, I guess, I am mostly interested here in preferences.

So, what's your take on it based on interacting with people (pros and home chefs) outside of KKF?


03-27-2014, 12:35 PM
Really I am a pro and I think too much belly is weird it looks awkward and feel awkward I just don't get it?

Marko Tsourkan
03-27-2014, 12:49 PM
I saw one of those knives. It had about 80mm height and a very steep curve toward the tip. I don't think I would ever make anything like it, but the guy loved that knife and profile. Granted, not every one would like that knife, but I can see the pattern - taller knives with more curve, sort of like Shigefusa on steroids.


03-27-2014, 12:51 PM
have you seen a Wusthof's profile recently...I just don't get thing looks really stupid IMHO

03-27-2014, 12:59 PM
Out of 3 pros: Two I know really liked their high heel big bellies until I had them use a DT ITK and once they got used to it and somewhat changed their cutting style they were shocked as to how much better a flatter profile with sweet spots was. Then again, another one was so set on his rocking that a big belly was the only way for him. Our conclusion was that a big number of commercially available knives have big bellies and this is what they start with and get used to and simply don't know better. This is the case only for 3 line cooks and doesn't reflect any further feedback outside of these.

03-27-2014, 01:06 PM
I might ask around but it seems that I've never met a knife-savvy cook. I've heard a few chefs go on about how a chef is only as good as his knife, but none of them knew anything about knives. I don't hear much knife talk among the Chinese cooks I know.

03-27-2014, 01:10 PM
This is true XooMG, I have never met another chef as obsessed with knives as myself. They think the best is Shun or Global and Wusthof

03-27-2014, 01:38 PM
I'm not a pro but I caught bits and pieces of a Chopped episode the other day where one of the cheftestants commented that he judges other chefs by their knives. The less mainstream the more serious and skilled chef he thinks they are. He was using a bull nose to cut up his meat. He won too.

It does surprise me on shows like chopped, ICA and TC to see many of these chefs use mostly mainstream knives. The only time I see more of a variety is TC Masters or if one of the cheftestants are extremely skilled.

03-27-2014, 01:52 PM
Some cooking shows are alright

03-27-2014, 03:16 PM
+1 Anton.

Back in the 1980's Prego chunky red sauce took off when people tested it side by side with regular marinara. Until then sauce makers just asked what they preferred and people gave the answer of what they were used to. They didn't like the idea of tomato chunks in a sauce.

03-27-2014, 03:17 PM
I hate any commercial red sauces

03-27-2014, 10:54 PM
Most of the cooks I know use pretty flat profiles. The cooks I have who were rockin' the culinary school kit were already using santokus when I got to them.

Because rocking a knife gives so much opportunity to tear product I think people who are married to that technique would be less likely to appreciate a better knife and wouldn't spend for it.

03-27-2014, 11:36 PM
kids have options now, when I learned to cook, if you wanted a flat knife to push cut with, you used a chinese cleaver, even my european chefs would bust out their 8" slicer to pull chop mushrooms, shallots, garlic and low height product. You learned to rock chop, it could efficiently go through a stack or carrots, or celery stuff like that, you didn't learn finesse work, you were the damn apprentice.

I think people who learn now get soooo much more variety of work to do, that they are worried about how to cut this and that, when I was an apprentice, you didn't worry about how to cut stuff, you got told how to, and you did it. Now everyone has their own brain and they think for themselves (rightly so), but in kitchens, you used to just listen to the boss and do what they said, does this mean they are smarter than you, or know better? no, but their the boss, and you are the onion chopper, so your gonna cut their onions how they want them cut, now good luck telling some of these kids 'how' to do something, they already know how better than you do.

Now, we are sitting around with the internet, and anybody who wants to fix their car, or chop an onion can look up 800 ways to do it, not all are right, not all are wrong, some are definitely wrong though hehe.

damn what was this about again? Ohya, knife with belly, I'm sure I could get use out of one as a big soupy mirepoix basher, but it wouldn't be what I would pick personally, there is a guy at my work who uses a wusthof classic that would absolutely love it I'm sure, does he have any knife skills? heck no. Usually people who rock chop everything haven't had to finesse cut too much stuff, have fun with the romas and the beet brunoise with the big bellied german. Sorry for the rant, figured I'd give my opinion as a pro who grew up rocking, I remember getting taught as a little kid, that my knife was like the tracks on a train hehe, I can see some people here getting lightheaded just thinking of that. Come on old school european trained guys stand up and represent your heritage! I still get upset when I hear people around here refer to henckels and wusthofs as 'bad knives' they aren't bad, just a different sort of tool, for a different sort of job.

03-28-2014, 12:26 AM
Most cooks/chefs I encounter use a wustoff,cutco, hankles, or a santoku of some sort and truely belive it is the best and sharpest knife possible. I've even let then use a watanabe and dt itk. They hate them either for being too light, too fragile feeling, and having too flat of a profile to rock chop..

Regyarding judging chefs by their knives.. the best chef I've met lived and died by his whustoff classic 10 inch and boning knife. But still carried a shun nakiri, masahiro suji, and misono ux10.

Marko Tsourkan
03-28-2014, 12:38 AM
Good stuff, folks! Very informative.


03-28-2014, 01:56 AM
My personal preference is less height and less belly - the tip of the knife should not be too 'high' :biggrin: as then it gets harder to use since once needs to raise the heel too much to be ale to make some cutting with the tip.

03-28-2014, 05:19 AM
I'm a pro that grew up rock - chopping but I push, pull and rock, depending on the product, space and knife available. I still prefer a 50 - 52 mm height to a 240. It depends on if you are using an 8" or a 10" on how tall I like them. I do have gyutos at 48 that I love too, I just prefer 240's and above to start at 50 mm.

03-28-2014, 02:53 PM
Home cook here, but I think "tall" is a separate issue from how much belly. I don't care all that much about a few mm of heel height--anything fairly close to 50mm for a 240 works well for me. Because I rock chop at least some of the time, having a profile with some curve from heel to tip is more important. An abrupt upsweep toward a high tip isn't functional, though, even for rock chopping. I wouldn't be being happy using a "wide" German chef's knife with a flat section at the heel and a ski tip curve up to the tip. The heel doesn't need to be tall to have the gradual curve that works for me and still keep the tip at a reasonable height.

Fran Rendina
03-28-2014, 03:45 PM
I like a knife with a big belly, only saying

03-29-2014, 03:05 PM
I grew up with some crude knives so when I got a Sab back then I was thrilled. An Au Ritz has all the belly I would want on a knife. I like a flatter profile like the Mosomoto KS has and my Carter, ITK, etc. I had a Shun Classic Chef once and couldn't get rid of it fast enough.

03-29-2014, 03:35 PM
Hi Marco,
I personally don't like a lot of belly in my chef knife. Yes, I have a variety of wustoff knives ranging from 1970 is all the way to the present. I even have some of them that are extra wide with a really deep bellies. I use both methods of cutting, both push pull and rocking. It depends upon the task at hand. Obviously when shopping parsley it will be rocking motion but if I am cutting chives to precise measurements I use the push for method. I believe the reason why more chef prefer their rocking motion is that's the first one they learn in culinary school, and it is still taught today. I feel cooks learn the push pull motion when they get out in the field and they learn from some of the old timers who use both the rocking motion and the push pull cut. Because Japanese knives are more prevalent in today's kitchens than ever before, the younger cooks are now learning the push pull method faster. At the end of the day I still like the traditional Japanese style gyuto the best. And in my honest opinion I think you get a more precise cut with this type of knife. BTW I am a pro.