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Thread: Cutting Methods and Techniques

  1. #1

    Cutting Methods and Techniques

    Being a line cook for over a year and using exclusively cheap chef's knives for every task (mincing tons of parsley, making citrus supremes, slicing tons of carrots on a bias for sauteing, dicing boxes of tomatoes very small, making a million carrot/celery sticks, slicing tons of baby button mushrooms and the list goes on and on) I've learned my own techniques for certain tasks. I cant really explain how to do them my hands just kind of do them instinctively. However, I am trying to learn how to cut using a Usuba (Shun Pro to be exact) and don't really know how to use this type of knife since I've only used a basic chefs knife. Is there any online reference or good book that details cutting methods (IE rocking/push-pull)?

    Also, I feel like I would prefer a knife with a flatter belly than a Chef's knife. What type of knife could be used like a chefs knife but with a flatter belly? I feel like this knife would have a smaller push-pull length making cutting easier, faster and easier on the wrists/hands.

  2. #2
    I was in the same boat as you and have to say everyone here are great and will give you the best advice. I also, was thinking about a Usuba but found out it is quite a specialty knife (single edge for precise cutting) so if that's what you are trying to achieve you may want to look at some "real"Japanese versions. Jon at Japanese Knife Imports, as well as others, gave me some great advice and now I changed my mind to a Gyuto. I'm sure the more knowledgeable people here can put you in the right direction but I have found for everyday use, this is at the top of a very short list, although it does depend on what you are using the knife for.

  3. #3
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ams View Post
    Also, I feel like I would prefer a knife with a flatter belly than a Chef's knife. What type of knife could be used like a chefs knife but with a flatter belly? I feel like this knife would have a smaller push-pull length making cutting easier, faster and easier on the wrists/hands.
    I know you will get better answers, but just to throw this out, a chef's knife/gyuto can be very flat...may want to look at something like a kiritsuke.

    Cheers

  4. #4
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinacats View Post
    I know you will get better answers, but just to throw this out, a chef's knife/gyuto can be very flat...may want to look at something like a kiritsuke.

    Cheers
    I'll don't know if a kiritsuki is a good idea. It's a cross between a Yanagiba and an usuba. Two highly specialized knives. One should only try one after achieving the skills required to use the two first.
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  5. #5
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    A flatter profiled gyutou or kiritsuke-shaped gyutou might fit your wants quite well. Usuba are rather specialized knives that require certain skill, in use and sharpening, to be properly used. You should check out the Japanese Knife Society videos for technique videos. Here and Here

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    Quote Originally Posted by ams View Post
    Also, I feel like I would prefer a knife with a flatter belly than a Chef's knife. What type of knife could be used like a chefs knife but with a flatter belly? I feel like this knife would have a smaller push-pull length making cutting easier, faster and easier on the wrists/hands.
    That sounds like my Sabatier.

    -AJ

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThEoRy View Post
    I'll don't know if a kiritsuki is a good idea. It's a cross between a Yanagiba and an usuba. Two highly specialized knives. One should only try one after achieving the skills required to use the two first.
    Agreed. If you like flatter profiles, look at getting a slightly taller sujihiki.

  8. #8
    My impression was that a Usuba would be good for most vegetable prep that requires a clean sharp cut like cutting scallions on a bias, chiffonade of basil, slicing cucumbers across etc. If not what is this specialty knife supposed to be used for?

  9. #9
    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ams View Post
    If not what is this specialty knife supposed to be used for?
    Katsuramuki and ken (needle) cuts.

    No need for usuba in a western kitchen. If you don't have experience and skill with traditional Japanese single bevel knives, then don't get one expecting to bring it into a western kitchen and use it the way you would use a chef's knife. You be very disappointed and probably damage the knife. Everything you've described can be done with a gyuto, and done well.



    There are plenty of gyuto's with flatter profiles than the chef's knives you've been using. Too flat can be difficult too, unless you adapt your technique to it.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
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    another

    Shibui - simplicity devoid of unnecessary elements

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