Hopefully I'm posting this in the right section -- if not, whoops!
Hi, my name is Brett, and I'm looking to purchase a new kitchen knife. While doing my research, I stumbled upon this forum and saw that y'all have a dedicated sticky for this express purpose, so I figured I would give it a shot. I just got a new job at a mediterranean restaurant, and a big part of my job is the prep work, which consists mostly of: shredded and salad Romaine lettuce, julienne Roma tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, julienne onions, and julienne roasted bell peppers, and fresh thyme, rosemary, and parsley. Plus some various other herbs and veggies for soups of the day, salad specials, and so on. I do not regularly work with the meats, so they are of little concern to me.
The kitchen knives at my restaurant are, in a word, terrible. They are cheap, stamped, nameless chef's knives ranging from 7 to 10 inches. They clean their knives in the dishwasher, and store them by piling them up in a 1/3 hotel pan. None of them are sharp enough for me to feel comfortable using them without fear of cutting my fingers. I haven't worked there for long enough yet to know whether they use a sharpening service like my previous jobs, but I doubt it. It's really, really awful. I asked my boss if I could bring my own knife in to work instead. He told me that that was fine, and recommended that I never, ever let anyone else so much as touch it (like I need to be told that!).
My primary goal is to get a knife that I can use at work without constantly thinking to myself "FML FML FML". Secondarily, it would be nice to upgrade my knife I use at home, which is an 8-inch Victorinox chef's knife (I'm pretty sure it's this one). My Victorinox treats me okay, for such a cheap, janky knife -- but only because the rest of my kitchen at home is just as bad .
I imagine that any recommendations would be for online stores, which is fine, but if anyone happens to know a place/guy in the Santa Cruz / San Jose, California area, that would be even better.
On the the questionnaire!
What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
I'm looking at getting either traditional chef's knife or perhaps a gyuto or santoku. I only have experience with chef's knives, but the gyuto seems similar enough, and the santoku seems to be more geared towards my needs (I think?).
Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
Like I said, I'm trying to replace the super-crappy chef's knives. However, in order to really answer these questions and give you all some good info, we can assume that I'm replacing my Victorinox.
What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics- I think it's plain-looking, if a bit on the ugly side. Aesthetics are not my main concern with the knife, but it does count for something.
Edge Quality/Retention- It came very sharp out of the box, but rapidly slipped into Dullsville. I had it professionally sharpened once, and was dissatisfied with its retention. I steel it before, after, and during use in order to keep it reasonable sharp -- which is to say, sharp enough to be safe, yet dull enough to be annoying.
Ease of Use- It's easy enough to use, as it's basically the same as the knives I learned to use at previous jobs (medium-sized chef's knives). When it's sharp, I like it; when it's dull, it's obviously difficult to use.
Comfort- It's not particularly comfortable. The hard plastic does not conform to my hand, and the grip it seems to want me to use is what y'all call the hammer grip. Unfortunately, when I hold it in this way, I cannot use it for a damn. So, I just use my pinch-grip on it, which works okay because the "ledge" from the handle to the blade makes a nice big spot for my index finger to hand out on.
What grip do you use?
I usually use the pinch grip, but I occasionally find a reason to use the finger point (mincing a few cloves of garlic comes to mind).
What kind of cutting motion do you use?
My favorite motion is push-cutting, but that doesn't always work for everything, so I'll rock or walk on a case-by-case basis.
Where do you store them?
I'd probably store my new knife in my locker at work.
Have you ever oiled a handle?
Never. But, if it's simple/easy, I would be happy to learn.
What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
At work, I use those roughly 24"x30" hard plastic, color-coded cutting boards that are common to restaurant kitchens. Y'all know the ones.
For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
I've only really use a honing rod, but I have tried pull-thoughs before (I was not impressed). I've never tried a strop.
Have they ever been sharpened?
Like I said, my Victorinox was sharpened once by a pro at the Farmer's Market. I have no idea about the work-knives, but I doubt it.
What is your budget?
Hopefully around $75, but $100 would be okay.
What do you cook and how often?
I would typically use this knife for various veggies and herbs, like I said at the top. Probably little to no use with meats.
Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?
Preferably a wooden handle, because they seem to reduce the stress on my cutting (right) hand, and plus they're pretty. But it's not a deal-breaker.
Thanks a lot for your time, and I hope to hear back soon.