Hi Guys. So I'm currently in the Army, and in Afganistan. I've missed being with my wife on Christmas, her birthday, and our anniversary. She's a Chef, and I would like to get her a great chef knife. I honestly don't know too much, but from reading some of the forums on this site, I can tell you do. I'm looking to spend up to 1200 dollars, and I just want to make sure that whatever I get, it's worth the money, and that she will love it. I would greatly appreciate any help you could give me. Japanese or western, doesn't really matter. Just a great knife. I have looked at Boker damascus rose, and superior chef knives, but I can't find any reviews or opions about them. Thanks for your time. John
Welcome to the forum, and thank you for your service.
Most of us, are looking for a knife that makes us as efficient as possible in the kitchen. Japanese knives have very hard steel, that allows their knives to be thinner, lighter, and sharper then their western counterparts. It also makes them more fragile. When a Japanese knife runs into something hard, it will chip. A western knife the edge will roll, with its softer steel.
Japanese knives have their own style of cutting, known as push cutting. Western knives are meant to be rocked.
Japanese knives require more upkeep then western knives. In general the sharpest and easiest to sharpen knives are made out of carbon steel, which are reactive. Carbon steel knives need to be wiped down on a frequent basis. There are Japanese knives made out of stainless steel. Stainless typically doesn't get as sharp as carbon.
To get the most out of a Japanese knife, a person needs to learn how to sharpen or send their knife out to a professional sharpener, such as Dave, who owns this site.
The problem with expensive knives, is that you or you wife, don't have the experience to determine your preferences on features or qualities of a knife. A $500 knife does not cut twice as well as a $250 knife. It might be might perform 10 percent better then the less expensive knife. At the higher levels, your buying from a well known maker, better fit and finish on the knifes. The $1000.00 plus level is custom knifes. There are some amazing examples from the makers in their sections, on the bottom of the forum.
If these are going to be your wives first high end knives, I'd recommend either the Miyabi line or the Kramer Zwillings, from Sur La Table. The Kramer Zwillings, are a joint project between Bob Kramer a custom knife maker and Zwillings. Kramer knives go for extraordinary prices, between $5,000 and 10,000 on E-bay.
The Kramer Zwilling goes for $300 - $350. It's made out of the same carbon steel, Mr. Kramer uses in his custom knives. It will rust if not taken care of properly. It's a knife that will fit a variety of cutting styles.
The Myabi's are modeled on Japanese knives. They are clad in Damascus, have great fit and finish, and are made out of stainless steel.
What makes them so attractive is that Sur La Table, has a great return policy. If you don't like the knife for any reason, and after any amount of time, you can return the knife.
Hope this helps,
Get a Bill Burke custom or a devin Thomas custom.
I just wanted to chime in and say that I find Jay's advice to be excellent. You may get recommendations for different knives from different people. I fully understand that you may want the best possible knife for your wife. But if your wife is a professinal chef and uses her knives every day, there is nobody on this forum who will know better what she likes than your wife herself. You get great chef's knives for $200, and you may get knives for $400 that are 20% in performance - and the custom knives that Oivind mentions may even be %40 better in performance for $1,000 or more. But there will be no guarantee that it will be the best match for your wife's style. I am all for supporting the knife makers on this forum, and I appreciate the workmanship of custom knives. I just don't see the point of spending up to $1,200 on a knife if you don't know it will work for her. Appreciating an expensive knives is the result of a process IMHO. If your wife uses basic knives right now, the jump to a $300 Kramer Zwilling knife may wow her just as mch as the jump to a custom knife for 3x the price. If you want to buy her a knife as an object of art, that's a totally different story.
Just my 2 cts.
P.S. And welcome to the forums.
Hi and Welcome!!
First of all, both Stefan's and Jay's advice are great. But you have got to know her style and preferences in the kitchen before making any decisions to splash the cash.
Very basic questions to ask:
1. Carbon, stainless or Semi-Stainless
2. How good is she with sharpening or basic knife maintainence
3. Style of cutting and WHAT is she going to be cutting with MOTT. or is it going to be a "drawer queen"?
4. How long are you willing to wait for a knife?
work it out from those questions what to buy. Post your answers and I'm sure you'll be flooded with suggestions on how to spend you $$
I second that Miyabi line MC66 series.
There are some made for women made by Konosuke "Sakura", and sold by a couple of vendors in Canada.
Kevin from: http://www.knifewear.com/knife-family.asp?family=28
or Olivia from: https://toshoknifearts.com/shop will help you
or Randy from HHH knives has some beautiful file work, exotic materials with not too long a wait list "YET" http://www.hhhcustomknives.com/custom-services/
I'll try this out with you as well, this is actually perfect timing. I am working up a questionnaire to help guys exactly like you. Here it is in it's current form:
What knife to buy???
If you are considering creating a thread to ask for suggestions for what knife to buy, you've come to the right place! Many of us here are very well versed in knives and their use and are willing to help people find tools that will suit them best and make for satisfying purchases.
This questionnaire is designed to help us understand your wants/needs, perhaps better than you know yourself. We have all seen many of these threads, and there are a huge amount of solutions to problems with cutlery—you may have good cutlery for you, though it might be time to learn to sharpen them(or have it done for you), or you might need to learn to do some things a little differently. You may just need a new cutting board. By filling out as much of this as possible, you will save a lot of time and possibly money.
If you are looking to buy a gift for someone, just fill this in with your best guesses for that person, based on what you've seen. If you aren't sure, you might want to read these questions, then spend some time standing in their kitchen, to see how they use their knives.
Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
If first time purchase, reference the knives you have used the most in the past(your parent's, house knives, etc)
What do you like and dislike about your knives already?
Enjoyable to use?-
What grip do you use?
What kind of cutting motion do you use?
Where do you store them?
Have you ever oiled a handle or cutting board?
What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
What is your budget?
What do you cook and how often?
Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?
If the knife is intended to be a surprise, it might be tough getting all that info out of the wife without her getting a little suspecious. But if she's on-board from the start, it would be great to have her look over that questionnaire.
Well, I'm sure he's seen her cut up some onions and whatnot. A best guess is really all that's in order, nobody's going to suggest he get some Rachael Ray knives, so whatever he ends up with, it's gonna be good. Just don't want to get a Delbert Ealy Chef''s knife to a person who will use it to cut frozen spinach in half, then leaves it on a board with tomato juice. Then it's Tojiro time.
Thanks for all of the suggestions. I think I'm going to e-mail Randy at HHH knives, and see if he can do a custom job for me. I really do appreciate everyone taking the time to respond. It's been a real pain in the a$$ trying to get this going, while being over here. Thanks again!!