I'm planning on buying a new knife for my head chef, and I'm looking into getting a new knife for myself. I will be filling out two of the questionnaires, but obviously, the one for myself will be more detailed and concrete than the one for my chef.
By the way, I do realize that buying a knife is a very personal matter, and normally, I'd recommend that someone do their own research and make their own decision. However, my chef is a bit stubborn when it comes to the things he does. My coworkers and I have just decided to buy a new knife for him instead of hearing him complain about how his knives are dull. The man has been working in the kitchen industry for ten years and has never bother to learn how to sharp a knife properly.
Note: I am in the US, so I will not be answering the question twice in the two separate questionnaires.
Questionnaire for my chef:
210 mm gyuto/chef's knife
Absolute max for the budget is 160
Professional environment; dude works about 60 hours a week
Main tasks: Probably every single one of the ones listed, except maybe filleting fish, although he maybe using it to break down fish too so slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing meats, cutting down poultry, breaking poultry bones, and trimming meats. I know I'm asking for a bit of a miracle here, especially with the part about breaking down poultry and bones. He does have a Victorinox boning knife though, and I'll do my best to convince him to use that for breaking down poultry. For bone breaking, I'll try to convince him to use his old beater knife too instead of something with a harder steel.
Replacing knife: I don't know what knife he's replacing. It's just some typical German steel as far as I know; not one of the named brands though as he's against spending a lot of money on a nice knife.
Grip: I'm assuming the pinch grip
Cutting style: I would say rock cut the most, and draw and chop are probably the same
Improvements: I'm looking for him to get a sharper knife with better edge retention
Comfort: He told me he likes heavier handles, but not necessarily heavy knives. However, I think this is just a result of his habit, and this preference may change once he actually gets a nice knife in his hand.
Ease of use: A sharp OOTB edge would be nice, but not crucial.
Edge retention: About a month between sharpening
Board: He mostly uses wooden, but will often use plastic ones too. I do not believe our wooden boards are end grains.
Sharpening: I will be sharpening his knives for him. He is not currently interested in sharpening his own knives. My current set up is a King 100 grit, 2000 grit Bester, and 5000 grit Suehiro Rika
I will be purchasing a Messermeister ceramic rod for him for basic knife maintenance. I've read in a lot of places that knives that are asymmetrical should not be honed, although I haven't really seen any type of explanation for it, but if this is true, I'd prefer to get a knife that is 50/50.
I expect that this knife will be getting some abuse. I saw the man earlier today cutting the kernels of corn and carelessly letting his knife hit the metal bowl that he was cutting into. I was initially thinking about getting him a Fujiwara FKM, but discovered that it's a 70/30 knife. I felt that the Tojiro DP would be too hard for how he treats his knives. Keep in mind that this will be the man's first Japanese knife, and just in case he doesn't like it, I would like the knife to be as cheap as possible in the event that he dislikes it, we won't be blowing too much cash on it. I was primarily thinking about getting him a MAC Pro, but it's at the top of our budget so I was hoping for something cheaper. I was also thinking about the Richmond Artifex AEB-L, but I've seen some negative feedback from users on this forum so I'm not quite sure about it. I also personally purchased one of these knives myself, and I can't say I'm particularly happy about it. I'm still somewhat new to nice knives, but I just felt that the edge retention and cutting abilities isn't where I feel like it should be. However, for the price point, I'm thinking that it may not be a bad choice.
Questionnaire for myself:
240 mm gyuto
I'm interested in a wa handle as I've never tried one, although I do not have a solid preference for either of them
I would prefer a stainless knife, but I'm been somewhat interested in carbon knives recently, especially the semi-stainless carbon knives like the Carbonext
My absolute max for the knife would be around 300 dollars, but I might be persuaded to go up to 500 bucks.
I will be using it in both environments, but probably more in a professional environment since I work more hours.
Tasks: I will be slicing and chopping down vegetables with this, slicing meats, and some other general tasks. I will not be doing any type of heavy butchery or doing anything that encounters bones though. I have a Victorinox boning knife that I use for rough tasks, although I hope to get a honesuki one day for boning tasks. I have a 5.5 inch paring knife that I use for filleting small fishes, but I'd also like to get a deba or sujihiki one day for these tasks instead.
I'm replacing a 240 mm Richmond Artifex gyuto
Grip: I use the pinch grip
Cutting motion: I use the chop and draw motion about equally, then I use rock for certain tasks. I'm willing to adapt though.
Improvements: I'm looking for better edge retention, easier sharpening, and a thinner knife. I'm not a huge fan of the handle either, but it's not particularly troublesome to me.
Aesthetics: None; I like clean, simple looks
Comfort: I'd like rounded spines and choils.
Ease of use: I'm looking for a knife that won't steer very much, release food easier, and has less wedging too. Once again, a sharp OOTB would be nice, but not crucial.
Edge retention: I'd like the knife to last at least two weeks between sharpenings, although a month would be great.
I use an endgrain wooden board at home, but at work, I use plastic or plain wood; probably more plastic than wood, although this maybe changing.
I do sharpen my own knives, and as I mentioned earlier, I have a King 1000, Bester 2000, and Suehiro Rika 5000. I'm looking into purchasing a balsa wood strop that I plan to load with .5 micron chromium oxide or 1 micron diamond paste, and a horse leather strop that I use as my final step. I'm also interested in purchasing a waterstone in the 400-600 grit range which I will discuss further after this questionnaire.
I'm trying to sell this Richmond Artifex to someone I know, and I'd like to purchase a Carbonext 240 mm gyuto to try out semi-stainless carbon knives. Whichever one that happens, I will be sticking with one of the two knives for the moment, and eventually upgrading to something else. I've been looking at the Gesshin Ginga 240 mm wa stainless or white #2 gyuto (is the extra hassle of carbon knives really worth it?) or the Misono UX10 240 mm gyuto which seems to be the ones that are most within my reach, but I'm also really interested in the Masamoto KS 240 gyuto or the Gesshin Heiji semi-stainless 240 mm wa gyuto. I was wondering it's worth it to just save up for the nicer names instead of trying to get one of the midrange ones that I'm looking at. I'm also completely open to suggestions to knives around the 200-300 range and around the 400-500 range.
About a coarse stone
It seems like the consensus is that the Gesshin 400 or 600 grit is the most effective one, even though it's more expensive than the Beston 500, I believe in purchasing high quality tools and having them last oppose to replacing things later. However, I've been seeing a 400 grit Latte stone from CKTG that seems really interesting to me, and I was wondering if anything has had any experience with it (I know a lot of people on this forum don't like CKTG, but I was hoping for some honest feedback, even if it's biased). I've been doing a lot of reading about sharpening knives, and I've had some practice with them. However, I would not consider myself an expert yet. I am however, incredibly picky and somewhat obessive about details, and I would love to hear some great discussions about a coarse stone. Should I even consider skipping the Beston 500 and simply getting something nicer?