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Thread: Culinary student starting to buy real knives! Advice?

  1. #1

    Culinary student starting to buy real knives! Advice?

    Hi everyone,

    First of all, this forum is incredible. I've been researching knives for the past week or so, on this site mostly, and have found a ton of great information. I figured that instead of just reading your replies about various knives, it might help to ask a question myself =). Real quick background about myself--I'm 23 and graduated college last year. I cooked everyday at home for the past 5-10 years and couldn't think of anything I liked better so I took the leap and am currently in culinary school in Paris (and loving it).

    I was wondering if you had any recommendations for Japanese knives. My program is 5 months and then I'll be a staging (and getting yelled at) for 6 more months in a restaurant in Paris. I plan on working professionally afterwards and am looking for knives that can get me through the next couple years at least. So far I just have your standard Shun/Henckels/Wusthof kit but none of them are knives I feel comfortable with or like bringing into the work kitchen. I'm looking for a Gyutu if possible around 240 or 270 mm and perhaps a smaller paring and/or utility knife around that I could use as well?

    My biggest problem? I'm a broke student so I'm trying to keep it under $200 for each knife, ~$150 if possible. They'd have to be shipped to Paris or to my permanent home in the US and then to Paris. I know good knives will require me to shell out more but I'm just looking for something to hold me over until my loans are paid off I've obviously looked at the standards (Tojiro DP, MAC, some Masamoto's, etc.) but was wondering if anyone had any specific suggestions. I couldn't believe there was so much information about knives available but once I started reading, I couldn't stop--is that normal? I already see myself buying too many knives in my near future...

    Anyway, thanks in advance for your help and I look forward to hearing from you!

  2. #2

    A Hiromoto AS 240 is in your budget, and it's not a "starter" knife. Carbon core, stainless cladding.

    JCK Carbonext is also a popular recommendation, but it is semi-stainless and will discolor, and since you are in CS, you probably will run into "problems" with idiot teachers and classmates, so I'd suggest stainless to prevent problems/conversations about patina/etc.

    Tojiro is a great starter blade because they are so thin and pretty good steel. But they are prone to chipping and don't hold an edge a really long time.

  3. #3
    Senior Member

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    Welcome to the forum. Everyone has their favorites, but I think you should be looking at "entry level" knives to let you learn what you like without breaking the bank. Plus, if one goes "missing", it's not a financial disaster.

    The fujiwara FKM stainless knives from Japanese Chef's Knives are great values. EMS shipping to Paris is $7.

    A 240 gyuto and 150 petty will cost you US$121, shipped, leaving you more than enough in your budget to get a couple of good waterstones to maintain your new knives.

    http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/FKMSeries.html
    “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

  4. #4
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    I would second what Pensacola tiger says. Your stones will probably outlive your current budget for knives. So learning to sharpen a knife is even more important than having knives with amazing steel. The Fujiwara have pretty good carbon steel and cost little enough that you can buy some get a couple stones and have some really sharp knives. Sorry if I'm patronizing you...maybe you already have great sharpening skills

  5. #5

    Suggestions/Sharpening

    Thanks for the suggestions so far! haha and no worries about the patronizing, you were correct in assuming that I don't have the greatest sharpening skills. One of my main chefs at school here spent 20 years in Japan and over the years learned how to sharpen quite well. He has stones which he'll let me use whenever I'd like (and will teach me proper sharpening techniques) so for the immediate future, buying the stones isn't as big of a concern as the knives. Obviously I'll have to buy them in about 6 months for myself but hopefully I'll have saved up some more money to buy good stones then as well.

    Is this logic flawed? I'm asking genuinely since you all know a lot more than I do about this but it made sense in my head!

  6. #6
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    haha the logic isn't flawed.. But you may find yourself wanting to own and use your personal waterstones more and will definitely start comparing yours with the ones your chef has sooner or later. I know cause I've been down the road that you are travelling. I would go for a Hiromoto AS gyuto or a JCK Carbonext Gyuto and a Fujiwara FKM 120mm petty. That way you can get a feel of 2 types of steels and styles and make a decision. All 3 are avaliable from http://japanesechefsknife.com/

  7. #7
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    I'm sorry to say so but you will need the stones as soon as the knives are there. Most Yo-knives have a very poor and unpredictable factory edge if any.

  8. #8
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    I'd buy the cheap shiroko gyuto and petty from cktg. You'll be out all of $75.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    Do you mean the Tojiro Shirogami series? I'm not sure that will be suitable for someone who is to enter a French culinary school...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by El Pescador View Post
    I'd buy the cheap shiroko gyuto and petty from cktg. You'll be out all of $75.
    Sold out. It'll be a few weeks. Plus I agree, they might not be the best for a guy in a French-style CS.

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