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Thread: Home cook vs professional

  1. #1
    Senior Member Geo87's Avatar
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    Home cook vs professional

    I've been thinking alot lately how I'm so thankfull I'm a chef or cook (depending on your country) that's obsessed with knives and not a home cook obsessed with knives .

    1. I can justify (kind of) my purchases as they are tools of my trade
    2. I get to use my knives for hours and hours everyday
    3. I have an endless arsenal of food to turn into shreds with these "tools"
    4. I can infect others at work and then get to see and play with more "tools"
    5.I can test my edge durability by sliced 20kg of onions...

    What the heck do you do as a home cook & knife enthusiast ?
    It must be frustrating... Like do any home cooks put on dinners for friends just as an excuse to use their knives more???
    I feel for you, if I couldn't work in kitchens I think I'd go mad!

  2. #2
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    I am a home cook and I can't say I am frustrated with this situation, after all working into a proffesional kitchen is supposed to be one of the most stressfull jobs. While in my case cooking and taking care of the knives is a destress activity

    Personally I love cooking and I am the one preparing the dinner at 90% of the time and it is almost every day something different. I dont need an excuse (see big dinner) to use my knives.

    1. I also can justify my purchases as these are tools for my passion/hobby (ok maybe not ALL - I will never need a 21cm deba for example)
    2. I also get to use my knives for a while, almost, every day
    3. I am creative enough when I am cooking so I can use more than 2 knives (not of the same type) per dinner - Maybe I don't use 2-3 gyuto's per day but sometimes I may use 2 just for the fun of it.
    4. I can infect my friends and familly, by showing them how easier and fun it is to use good quality knives and then I can take to the next level (sharpenning, modifications etc ....)
    5. I can't test my edge durability within a day but at least I dont feel like doing a "fordism" type of work by slicing and dicing 20kg of onions...

    V

  3. #3
    Senior Member chefcomesback's Avatar
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    I am pro , I spend 10+hours a day in my kitchen and don't always cut,slice or dice things . Whenever I need to break into a new knife I usually use it on my day off when I cook for myself and family. Then I can compare cutting performances , food release etc. And when I mean I cook home I am talking about cooking and prepping for 5-6 hours for fun. When I run my kitchen on daily basis one of the last things I will concentrate on will be the profile or the steel of my knives. Yes, because of my profession I can justify having 5-6 gyutos and total XX knives , but most of my purchases were influenced by the members who are home users who took their time to analyze a knife in depth and bother to write review about it. As a pro I may have a faster knife skills than home cooks or I may judge the reactivity or the edge retention of a knife in a professional kitchen .
    Also I do use the slicer attachment of Robocoupe if i need to slice 20kg onions

  4. #4
    Senior Member Geo87's Avatar
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    Would just like to add. after reading over my previous post it may seem I am attacking home cooks.
    This is not the case, sadly it's hard to portray humor or sarcasm through text
    As I have 2 children under 3 cooking at home is rather limited to something you can whip up quickly , hence if I weren't a professional I wouldn't be able to really enjoy this hobby

  5. #5
    Senior Member hobbitling's Avatar
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    It's been said: Do what you love as a career, and you'll never have to "work" a day in your life
    It's also been said: Be careful about turning hobbies into careers, or you may ruin the fun.

    I can see both sides of the argument. I'm an ecologist, so I spend a lot of time outdoors hiking as part of my job during certain parts of the year. It sure beats working in an office, but after a week of hauling gear in and out of the same patch of woods, I don't generally feel like hiking for fun on the weekend. But after a week or two indoors I'm itching to get outdoors again. I imagine it's the same for professional chefs. It's a fun job, but it's still a job.

    By the way, I originally got into knives because I did a lot of animal dissections at work. Basically scientific butchering/taxidermy/skinning. So my two obsessions are connected, in a way.

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    Senior Member Mucho Bocho's Avatar
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    Geo, welcome and thanks for an interesting thread. I didn't take offense to your comments. I agree with what you say about needing to be able to spend hours and hours pounding your knives if looking to test edge durrability. Thats why marko test his knives this way. I've got five gyutos in several flavors of steel. I liked Vangelis comments that a lot of professional-home cooks like myself quite often get to cook for the fun of it.

    True I have a very serious interest in kitchen knives and have thousands of dollars in sharpening equipment. But i use these bad boys or they get sold. Excelt the 210 Deba as Van also noted. Also, home cooks can keep their knives sharper longer and if your like me, insist that they are scary sharp at all times. To the extent that they almost always get a light unloaded leather strop before and after use.
    One thing you can give and still keep...is your word.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chuckles's Avatar
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    I think many of the home cooks here don't need to justify their purchases because they can actually afford them. And have enough time to cook what they actually want to eat because they work far fewer hours. Doesn't seem too bad to me.
    'The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.' -Henry Ford

  8. #8
    Senior Member skiajl6297's Avatar
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    Home cook here - and I have limited myself to only having two gyuto's at any one time. If I want a new one, one of the old ones has got to go. It's not the easiest thing in the world to stick to, but a method to keep this from becoming a hoarding exercise rather than an extension of why I like knives in the first place - using them to cook. Same is true for a single slicer, single parer, and vintage/restore project knife. I may add one more specialty to the mix (honesuki) for my weekend stockmaking/poultry work when I do it, but that is purely an accessory knife without an actual need. If I buy a new knife (of any type), I would spend some time going head to head between it and whatever else I already have, and then decide whether to keep the new one, or BST it. I like to think of it as knife fantasy football.

    With the 2 gyuto limit, at present I am trying to keep things different - have one laser 240 stainless, and one more substantial 270 carbon. Just yesterday I used 3 knives to prep/cook dinner. (Beefier carbon knife for thick carrots for glazed carrots side dish, lazer for fine shallot/garlic work for garlic cream sauce for roasted chicken, and slicer for roasted chicken). It was plenty satisfying, even though not NECESSARY to use 3 knives. I find ways to keep everything in use.

    I am TRYING to convince myself that my wife needs a similar setup as me with gyutos so my limit of 2 can be expanded to four. But she is pretty fond of smaller blades in stainless, and I am trending towards 270's in carbon.

  9. #9
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    i admire pro-chefs..but not for their cutlery. i may as well get a nipple hard-on for their spatula collection.

    i cook at home. slicing and dicing. for me it is about watching my family scarf my food..i get very little excitement from seeing the tiny perfectly diced onions in the sauce. this "rush" for a chef must be intoxicating. seeing all the happy patrons.

    i love tools. i am a tool junkie. my favorite tools take big pieces of things and turns them into smaller pieces of things. axes, knives, chainsaws...etc.

    my car tools?..lots of love as well. i dont get excited about hearing the clean clicking of a Snap-On ratchet..meh!!..but the smooth idle of a perfectly tuned Porsche flat six? yup..i get movement. but i would hate to be a pro mechanic.

    sucks none (my tools) of them are tax deductable..like i suppose it is for a pro chef.

    "interesting" thread.

  10. #10
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    I am a pro chef, and I enjoy cooking at home. It's a funny thing, I just feel honoured to be involved in a business that so many people find desirable. In my opinion everyone should know how to cook well, it's embarassing to hear people talk about how they just grab takeout, or can't cook for their kids, it's shameful. I also feel special when my brother asks me for advice in cooking and so on, he does data entry for a living, and I can't say I've asked him for too much advice in that field, not that there is anything wrong with it, but it just doesn't have the romanticism that cooking does.

    Cooking will always attract people from all walks of life, because everyone HAS to do it at some point, for some people it's simply functional about filling yourself up, and for some people it's about providing enjoyment for others. I love this forum, and the people on it, because we are clearly like minded people who just can't sit by and fill people up on horribly tasting processed foods (only sometimes )

    So, I would have to say the majority of home cooks on this forum have my utmost respect for having a drive in something that isn't even their bread and butter, I certainly don't take hours out of my day to get great at anything other than cooking. In professional kitchens allot of the time, you are not even sure what your cooks are looking for in the business, do they care? Do they want to open a great restaurant? or are they a high school drop out? They could be any number of things, but it certainly doesn't mean they care about food or knives, or anything involved.

    For me, the home cook vs professional cook argument is an interesting one. You have a great number of pro cooks that are int his for life, and read/cook and try and improve. You have a great number that come in hung over, don't show up on time, are bad at their jobs and generally don't learn well. It's like any job I guess, you have good ones and bad ones. But I would imagine the people on this forum aren't in this category of pro.

    But, if you are a home cook who enjoys cooking, you probably have a certain level of contempt for the utility cook who uses house knives and really doesn't focus on their craft, I'm not sure, but let me tell you, those types of cooks don't bug you nearly as much as they do the professional cooks. We are lumped in with these guys all the time. At the same time, I have worked with a ton of people that have only used house knives for their whole lives, and would cook for 300 every day no problem, so it's hard to have preconceptions about tools and knives and cooks, it's all about attitude.

    At the same time, I would rather cook a big meal for my friends every day and watch them enjoy it, than paying customers I don't know (I still love doing this, but lets face it) That's why meals like today's (Canadian) thanksgiving are so special, we just slung out Turkey all weekend for people, come Sunday night I wasn't exactly enthusiastic after laying turkey out onto plates, and into take outs all weekend, but this morning the turkey enthusiasm is back in full effect, because it's family time! Sorry for the rant, just thought I'd weigh in on the home vs pro debate, as it's very close to the heart. (oh and I still can't justify my knife purchases just because they are tools, that's crazy talk, oh but I have a 24 cm deba, it's one of my most used knives, so maybe I can justify some...)

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