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Carl
09-06-2012, 12:23 PM
Being a hobbiest, never a pro, I read a bit of a thread regarding spoons and thought, huh?

I am clearly oblivious. What's the deal with fancy chef spoons?

markenki
09-06-2012, 12:57 PM
Check out some of the comments in this thread:
http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/6864-Gray-Kunz-Spoons

mr drinky
09-06-2012, 07:36 PM
Carl, I must admit that when the first custom spoons came out (I think Colin put Devin up to it), I was a little incredulous too. But it was quite surprising how little time it took to make the jump from knives to spoons. Now I have two spoons. And after that it is on to Randy's cuff links, JKI soap, sheaths by Eamon, mokume wedding rings and on and on and...

k.

Johnny.B.Good
09-06-2012, 07:55 PM
We need a thread devoted to custom spoon pictures on this forum (given how many members own one or more).

I'm looking at you Mr. Drinky!

brainsausage
09-06-2012, 08:13 PM
I own a couple of Kunz, and it's a big step up from plating with a generic serving spoon from Tri-Mark(or whatever other big box restaurant supplier). Nice geometry, warm feel in the hand, the bowl is neither too deep for doing smears, or too wide for shaping. Very hygienic design as well, no crap traps. I don't plate much anymore, unfortunately... But I highly reccomend investing in a couple nice spoons. Much like a well designed knife- it makes a big difference.

jgraeff
09-07-2012, 11:18 AM
Anyone try marks spoons?? Just curious how they compare?

Mike9
09-07-2012, 12:50 PM
I bought a set of four plating spoons from Mark and they are very nice for the money. I was skeptical at first, but I use them all the time now. It was $20 well spent IMO.

Eamon Burke
09-07-2012, 01:25 PM
I have gotten out my Gray Kunz and given the spiel to more than one oblivious person and let them use it. They usually say, "ok, that's the most impressive spoon I've ever seen."


Keep in mind that unless you are a prep cook, a lot of professional cooks end up using their pots, pans and spoons more during the day than cutting boards and knives. I would work about 12 hours a day, about 4-5 hours of solid knifework, about 5-6 of cooking with a spoon or spatula of some sort in my hand and 2-3 hours a day cleaning.

The spoon in question is curved to be comfortable in your hand if you are basting, and is balanced just bowl-heavy enough to make use easier without being weighty. The bowl is tapered at the tip, and beveled, so when you pour off the front, it doesn't allow the surface tension to dribble the liquid down the bottom of the bowl. The sides are not tapered, and help to encourage surface tension, keeping liquids in it a little easier. The bowl is a happy balance of depth and width, and as a result, it holds a deceptively large about without much of a balancing act, and the first time you use it to scoop up a pilaf or some vegetables, you will feel like food is volunteering to jump into the spoon.

mr drinky
09-07-2012, 02:27 PM
Anyone try marks spoons?? Just curious how they compare?

Actually, when I said I have two spoons, I didn't mean I have two custom spoons (sorry for the confusion). Justin0505 though did bring his Devin Thomas spoon to my house one time so I have gotten to handle both of the custom/damascus spoons out there. The other spoon I have is Mark's.

How do they compare? Well, my Ealy spoon was a bit different shape than others because I wanted to make it a good all-rounder with a heftier handle for heavy duty scooping (less restaurant and more home cook duty). The handle-bowl profile is also flatter, which I like because it is super stiff. It works fabulously on hard ice cream and squashes. I don't think the Mark spoon would do as well for scooping the tough stuff. Mark's spoon and Devin's are more similar in shape and closer copies to the Kunz spoon I believe.

Devin's spoon was probably the most refined of them all -- it's a perfect spoon and very beautiful. Devin's damascus also has more contrast than the Ealy damascus. The Ealy spoon has a bit more rusticity to it and it is also very striking -- I love handling it, using it, and gazing at it for hours (just kidding). But by 'rusticity' I mean the lines are not 100% perfect, so it has a more handmade feel to it. I actually have grown to love that aspect of my spoon because you feel that someone has actually hammered it out.

The biggest differences between the custom spoons and mark's (other than price) are the damascus obviously, but what this ultimately gives them is a thickness and heft that have an amazing feel in the hand and make them more of a scooping tool too. A home cook has much more need to scoop things than plate things really pretty for customers, so I like that aspect. Both the Ealy and Devin spoons cradle in the hand nicely, and I constantly reach for my Ealy spoon for all scooping duties. Mark's spoon has a thinner, deeper bowl, and is lighter and will probably be closer in performance to a Kunz spoon. In terms of volume (keeping in mind my Ealy is a bit different), the Mark spoon holds 30g of liquid versus 23g for my Ealy (I just weighed). All in all, the overall bowl and handle shape on the Mark are probably better for dealing with sauces and plating, and it seems more balanced and shaped for that duty -- just as Eamon has described.

Of course, I can't comment on how the other Ealy versions or the Devin spoon compare in terms of handling sauces and plating. I would be interested to hear how a heftier Devin spoon would compare to a lighter Mark spoon. I think Justin has them both. It would also be interesting for a real Kunz versus Mark comparison. But for me the Mark spoon just lacks that custom/craftsman feel that makes it tactilely satisfying and demands that I use it, and I would imagine that for an average home cook it would get used more as a serving spoon than a food prep tool. That's just my opinion.

k.

WildBoar
09-07-2012, 05:14 PM
^^ nice assessment of Ealy vs DT spoons. We use Del's spoon when cooking and for scooping out of pots and pans, and the DT when I try to make something look nice on the plate. It kinda fits in with the rustic vs refined aspect; not intentionally, but functionally they do seem to mirror their aesthetic.

But at the end of the day, the Ealy tasting spoon gets the most use of all :O

NO ChoP!
09-07-2012, 05:19 PM
I found a couple of older 18/10 stainless spoons on the Bay, and polished them to full mirror. They've held up well, too... Paid $14 for the pair shipped...

Carl
09-07-2012, 08:37 PM
Working in a quiet office as I do, I listen to a lot of books on CD with headphones. One of the ones I've nearly worn out is, of course, Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. I was listening to it yesterday near the end of the book where he talks about a day in the life (of a chef). One moment in the book he mentions his favorite runner, "Cochondo," was busy doing prep work and "picking out my favorite saucing spoons from the silver bin." I always breezed past that with a "that's funny" thought, not comprehending why that would happen. Yesterday I comprehended it, not through my experience, but because of reading the responses in this thread. Thanks guys, I think a dim lightbulb went came on above my thick noggin.

As someone who sauces out of a squeeze bottle (it's a sammich, after all, not a plate) I would have never guessed. But of course it makes sense now, and I can make all kinds of correlations. When I drove my drag car I could tell a huge difference between clutches, even pedals, shifters, tires, and minor changes in suspension tuning. When I work I can tell instantly if someone was sitting at my desk while I was away, little things are slightly different from how I leave them, millimieters sometimes. When I reload ammo at my bench I know when my wife borrowed my pliers even when she has put them back properly. I can only imagine a chef and his spoons are exactly the same, and minute and miniscule differences matter and can be preceived easily, where to a neophyte they probably wouldn't.

Kinda cool.

ajhuff
09-07-2012, 11:05 PM
I guess I'll just have to buy one of these spoons cause I don't get it either.

-AJ