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tschmelcher
05-20-2012, 04:30 PM
My girlfriend is a cooking enthusiast and she is going to be going to a culinary school and maybe starting a professional culinary career. I know that she wants a professional kitchen knife and I'd like to buy her one so that she can develop her skills. She likes the look of Shun knives that she has seen in magazines, but I have gotten the impression from my online research that they are not nearly as respected as other brands. So I'm trying to find the best knife for her, ideally with similar style but well-respected and with high performance.

She is right-handed, but she has never used a single-bevel knife or any other professional-level knife. I think she will take good care of a professional knife, so rust resistance is not that important. I'm planning to buy just one knife for now, so I assume it should be a 240mm gyuto.

I discovered the Takeda which seems to be really popular and the videos of it in action are impressive, but I am a little concerned about the kurouchi finish and whether she will like it or not. So if anyone has experience with Takeda knives, I'd appreciate your help. I apologize if these are stupid questions. :P


Does the rough finish negatively affect the cuts that you make? e.g., if it were used to slice sashimi, would you get a rough surface on the sashimi due to it rubbing again the rough knife surface?
Does the unpolished steel rub off on things or blacken your fingers or the food?
Do you think the look of the kurouchi finish is an acquired taste or is unattractive?
Do your friends with "flashier" knives wish they had your Takeda, or vice-versa?


I'd also be interested to know of any other knives with similar performance to the Takeda. I have been eyeing the Moritaka Damascus and the Sakai Takayuki 63-layer Damascus, which both look more beautiful to me than the Takeda, but I have no idea how their performance compares. :(

What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
Japanese, high-performance, 240mm gyuto, 50/50 bevel, aesthetically pleasing.

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
To hone knife skills for culinary school and/or a professional culinary career. Replacing J.A. Henckels International knife.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics-Dislike, the Henckels are boring.
Edge Quality/Retention-Dislike, seems to have poor retention and the blade seems too thick.
Ease of Use-Like
Comfort-Like

What grip do you use?
Hammer.

What kind of cutting motion do you use?
Not sure what she uses currently--maybe slice, chop, and/or walk. But I'm sure she will be learning new techniques.

Where do you store them?
Wood block.

Have you ever oiled a handle?
No.

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
Wood, bamboo, and plastic.

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
Honing rod.

Have they ever been sharpened?
Yes.

What is your budget?
If it's worth the money then the sky's the limit.

What do you cook and how often?
Vegetables and seafood, every breakfast & lunch and 3-4 dinners per week.

Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?
We both like all things Japanese so a Japanese knife is preferred.

oivind_dahle
05-20-2012, 04:37 PM
Marko 225 Gyuto

Made of 52100 steel, that will hold the edge very well for her and is not that reactive. Price is also good.
225 is a good length and this one will probably follow her to the end of her career :) Id still go for wa handle, maybe octagonal or Markos meji style.
Make sure to get one of his strops and throw away the honing rod.

If you choose to go japanese start of with Carbonext. Japanese often use white or blue steel, takes a great edge, easy to sharpen, but doesn't hold the edge that well. You might want to have some stones as well?

DK chef
05-20-2012, 04:38 PM
WA handle or western handle?

buy 2-3 knives, not more, petty, Gyuto and a bread knife :) bread knife is the cheap one, so money on the other 2.

find out if you/she want´s stainless og carbon, maybe use some money on stones?

in my opinion never use money on the big brands, they are over prized, you can get so much better pro knives half the prize and get much better performance, its not about the look,, but performance, dont care about damascus and handle look, thats second when you are using them in a pro kitchen.

i have never used Shun knives, maybe they are good, but for me they are like Global or Mac, famous brand and over prized,

find some good knives from some of the vendors here and get what you pay for.

my opinion is only personal, and i have worked in a pro kitchen 17 years, used a lot of globals, mac and german knives, last 2 years japansese real knives, best performance ever 2 last years.

Noodle Soup
05-20-2012, 04:39 PM
I own and use several Takeda knives but I probably wouldn't call them "professional quality." They are more expensive toys for knife lovers like myself :) Pretty high up keep on that rough carbon finish. I would suggest something like MAC or even Victorinox and F. Dick until she knows what direction she is actually going to take. Given the "Damascus knives" are all about appearance and are not really true Damascus, I would save money and skip them.

skewed
05-20-2012, 05:10 PM
Being able to maintain and tune is the backbone with nice knives, just like with many other nice tools/machines. It doesn't matter how high of quality you buy if you can't maintain the edge. Sooner or later the knife will dull and wont be of much use unless you are able to maintain it.

Stones and a couple of solid low priced knives is my recommendation. 1200 Bester and a course diamond plate to keep the stone flat and something like carbonext would be a great starting point. Once sharpening skills are solid and then progress to higher end knives.

Having the backbone of good stones and good skills is essential.

Just my 2 cents,
rj

Mingooch
05-20-2012, 05:12 PM
I second the marko 225, great length for what u are looking for. But as others have stated, dont forget stones to sharpen and a strop to maintain the edge.

DK chef
05-20-2012, 05:18 PM
i wish i have tried the Marko like the rest of you, so i could suggest the knife, looking forward to try it out. mingooch and Oivind? is that a knife for a new culinary student? i can only recommend Carbonext like som others here as a middle knife, otherwise i would recommend yoshikane and Shigefusa :D

tschmelcher
05-20-2012, 05:20 PM
I was thinking a Wa handle with Carbon steel. I will check out some of the knives and stones on these forums. Thanks!

DK chef, what Japanese knives have you been using for the last 2 years that you would recommend?

tschmelcher
05-20-2012, 05:22 PM
Ah didn't see your reply there. I'll check out the ones you mentioned. Thanks!

Cookin808
05-20-2012, 05:30 PM
Aloha..I am a culinary arts instructor from Hawaii and I would probably steer her away from a Japanese knife at this point in her career. She should learn proper knife handling, care, and sharpening techniques on something a bit more "disposable" like a Forshner or Dexter-Russell. Knives are one of the things at culinary school that tend to grow legs and walk away on their own (if you know what I mean) and it may be a bit sore in the pocketbook if a $300 Takeda were to be lost. Depending upon which culinary school she is going to there are often knife restrictions in place for beginning students. I know that Johnson and Wales as well as the CIA have required knife kits that all beginning students purchase so that all students have the exact same tools. That being said I personally own a 240mm Takeda gyuto and love its rustic look as well as razor edge sharpening abilities. If Japanese steel is still your choice then maybe something that is stainless steel clad maybe a better start in terms of easier care (check out the Hiramoto AS). Good luck in your search!

foreleft
05-20-2012, 05:42 PM
I would agree with the post above, that knives at schools can walk away if you aren't keeping an eye on them 100% of the time especially something flashy.

I made it through school with MAC and Victorinox, and a ceramic honing rod. My knives were 10x sharper than what just about anyone else was carrying, (most people had Mercer kits that our bookstore sold). I'm in my last quarter getting ready to start a job and am now doing some research to get myself a nice knife or two (or maybe 20...) and some sharpening equipment.

The one thing I'm glad I spent the money on for school was a Thermapen. I still get asked to let someone borrow it at least once a day.

DK chef
05-20-2012, 05:45 PM
i have used, Konosuke, Geshin Ginga, Shigefusa, yoshikane SKD and SLD, Kato, Suisin Inox, and DT 52100 WA handle.

western handle i have used, Hattori FH, Carbonext, some JCK original brand.

i like them all, they all have their + and -

mostly i use the Yoshikane SKD, the edge last forever, i would probably recommend Shigefusa, but in a pro kitchen they need some care and knowledge to use, better to buy them later on, some of the students (and me) use Carbonext, not WA handle but great knives to start with. Konosuke to thin in my taste, great knife to slice and use for proteins, allround knife is for me a 210mm Gyuto and a 190mm-210mm Suji/petty.

i have bought Yoshikane from a couple of vendors, both thin and "normal" thick and they all suit my needs.

i like a pretty knife, dont get me wrong, they look great and you can probably convince 90% that "that" knife is good, but in the end as a Cuisine student/pro is performance and maintance that counts. normaly most people like stainless and semi stainless because they are more easy to handle in action, but for me Carbon is much easier to sharpen and funny to use on stones.

i would use 60% of my budget on 2-3 knives, no more, you dont need more knives at the start, 30% on stones, 1000 # grit, and 3000 -4000 # grit, to maintain the knife, 10% to save for the "monster" you always wanted :D

a normal day in the kitchen for me, i use a petty 180-210mm 20%, 210-240mm gyuto 60% suji and bonning knife 10% the rest 10 % cheap victorinox pairing knife, breadknife. a lot of people think they need a lot of knives (dont get me wrong, i have many, a lot i dont use, because im a knife nut) but in a pro kitchen you dont have the time to pick a sertain knife, you grab the one you like.

DK chef
05-20-2012, 05:52 PM
Thermapen is a great tool, i love it :D, but my students are not allowed to use them until they know how to feel the difference between blue, rare, medium and ruined meat. when they know how to cook meat, they are more than welcome to use the Thermapen, and with a pen you can always perform, not to forgett about Sous vide, with that and a vacuum you can never fail, but again, its not for students, they have to learn it the right way.

tk59
05-20-2012, 07:07 PM
I'd consider an Ashi/Yusuke, etc out of white #2. These are very good cutters, tough and sharpen up super easily.

sachem allison
05-20-2012, 08:22 PM
I would agree with the post above, that knives at schools can walk away if you aren't keeping an eye on them 100% of the time especially something flashy.

I made it through school with MAC and Victorinox, and a ceramic honing rod. My knives were 10x sharper than what just about anyone else was carrying, (most people had Mercer kits that our bookstore sold). I'm in my last quarter getting ready to start a job and am now doing some research to get myself a nice knife or two (or maybe 20...) and some sharpening equipment.

The one thing I'm glad I spent the money on for school was a Thermapen. I still get asked to let someone borrow it at least once a day.

welcome

sachem allison
05-20-2012, 08:23 PM
My girlfriend is a cooking enthusiast and she is going to be going to a culinary school and maybe starting a professional culinary career. I know that she wants a professional kitchen knife and I'd like to buy her one so that she can develop her skills. She likes the look of Shun knives that she has seen in magazines, but I have gotten the impression from my online research that they are not nearly as respected as other brands. So I'm trying to find the best knife for her, ideally with similar style but well-respected and with high performance.

She is right-handed, but she has never used a single-bevel knife or any other professional-level knife. I think she will take good care of a professional knife, so rust resistance is not that important. I'm planning to buy just one knife for now, so I assume it should be a 240mm gyuto.

I discovered the Takeda which seems to be really popular and the videos of it in action are impressive, but I am a little concerned about the kurouchi finish and whether she will like it or not. So if anyone has experience with Takeda knives, I'd appreciate your help. I apologize if these are stupid questions. :P


Does the rough finish negatively affect the cuts that you make? e.g., if it were used to slice sashimi, would you get a rough surface on the sashimi due to it rubbing again the rough knife surface?
Does the unpolished steel rub off on things or blacken your fingers or the food?
Do you think the look of the kurouchi finish is an acquired taste or is unattractive?
Do your friends with "flashier" knives wish they had your Takeda, or vice-versa?


I'd also be interested to know of any other knives with similar performance to the Takeda. I have been eyeing the Moritaka Damascus and the Sakai Takayuki 63-layer Damascus, which both look more beautiful to me than the Takeda, but I have no idea how their performance compares. :(

What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
Japanese, high-performance, 240mm gyuto, 50/50 bevel, aesthetically pleasing.

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
To hone knife skills for culinary school and/or a professional culinary career. Replacing J.A. Henckels International knife.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics-Dislike, the Henckels are boring.
Edge Quality/Retention-Dislike, seems to have poor retention and the blade seems too thick.
Ease of Use-Like
Comfort-Like

What grip do you use?
Hammer.

What kind of cutting motion do you use?
Not sure what she uses currently--maybe slice, chop, and/or walk. But I'm sure she will be learning new techniques.

Where do you store them?
Wood block.

Have you ever oiled a handle?
No.

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
Wood, bamboo, and plastic.

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
Honing rod.

Have they ever been sharpened?
Yes.

What is your budget?
If it's worth the money then the sky's the limit.

What do you cook and how often?
Vegetables and seafood, every breakfast & lunch and 3-4 dinners per week.

Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?
We both like all things Japanese so a Japanese knife is preferred.

welcome!

sachem allison
05-20-2012, 08:36 PM
try this one http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c303/munky2/P1030883.jpg from Mike Davis

tschmelcher
05-20-2012, 09:09 PM
So now I have questions about sharpening tools. :)

Does she just need a few stones of different grits or is a strop also important?
Is a honing rod also beneficial or is it just a cheaper/lower-quality method?
What kind of knife would benefit from a 10,000 grit stone as the final sharpening step?

Dusty
05-20-2012, 10:00 PM
All I would recommend for a beginning culinary student is a knife like a Fujiwara Fkm, a carbonext or a Hiromoto AS, and a 1000 grit stone. Add a higher level stone when you are really proficient with the 1000.

I use a strop to touch-up and to help de-burr while sharpening, but it's not necessary, and not ideal in a commercial environment. I also didn't get one until I'd been using j-knives for about three years.

10,000 grit stones and high level finishing stones are mostly for sashimi knives or razors. Your girlfriend will probably end up with a couple of them if she becomes a knife Knut. ;)

. A ceramic rod could be handy as well. Not just a shortcut, but a good way to extend time between sharpenings. It's important to use good technique.

RRLOVER
05-20-2012, 10:00 PM
i wish i have tried the Marko like the rest of you :D

Me too!!!!



I would not get here a good or custom knife right out of the gate, a TKC or carbonext is a start.I say get her a entry level blade with a nice note promising her a custom in the future.

andoniminev
05-21-2012, 07:35 AM
i have used, Konosuke, Geshin Ginga, Shigefusa, yoshikane SKD and SLD, Kato, Suisin Inox, and DT 52100 WA handle.

western handle i have used, Hattori FH, Carbonext, some JCK original brand.

i like them all, they all have their + and -

mostly i use the Yoshikane SKD, the edge last forever, i would probably recommend Shigefusa, but in a pro kitchen they need some care and knowledge to use, better to buy them later on, some of the students (and me) use Carbonext, not WA handle but great knives to start with. Konosuke to thin in my taste, great knife to slice and use for proteins, allround knife is for me a 210mm Gyuto and a 190mm-210mm Suji/petty.

i have bought Yoshikane from a couple of vendors, both thin and "normal" thick and they all suit my needs.

i like a pretty knife, dont get me wrong, they look great and you can probably convince 90% that "that" knife is good, but in the end as a Cuisine student/pro is performance and maintance that counts. normaly most people like stainless and semi stainless because they are more easy to handle in action, but for me Carbon is much easier to sharpen and funny to use on stones.

i would use 60% of my budget on 2-3 knives, no more, you dont need more knives at the start, 30% on stones, 1000 # grit, and 3000 -4000 # grit, to maintain the knife, 10% to save for the "monster" you always wanted :D

a normal day in the kitchen for me, i use a petty 180-210mm 20%, 210-240mm gyuto 60% suji and bonning knife 10% the rest 10 % cheap victorinox pairing knife, breadknife. a lot of people think they need a lot of knives (dont get me wrong, i have many, a lot i dont use, because im a knife nut) but in a pro kitchen you dont have the time to pick a sertain knife, you grab the one you like.

:doublethumbsup: