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Best Chef Knife for around $300-$350
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Thread: Best Chef Knife for around $300-$350

  1. #1

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    Best Chef Knife for around $300-$350

    TL;DR: I like the Shun Fuji 10'', what's better / more cost effective for a semi-trained anal retentive everyday chef?

    So... I bought a block of Calphalon Katana series knives when I was in college (few years ago)... I loved them then, the best knives I'd ever owned (my parents, and my friends all of course praised Cutco, even when I'd run their knife across my wrist and not even feel the slightest cut...not being suicidal, just being dramatic and ranting about how Cutco blows).

    Anyway... a friend sent me a Microtech HALO V for my birthday,...and it occurred to me that while my Calphalons are above the general quality that most people I know look for (I'm constantly praised for how sharp I keep them when my buddies come cook at our weekly BBQs, etc)....they aren't sharp enough.

    Not by a long shot.

    So, my question is...what should I get? I'm just looking for an extremely sharp japanese style chef's knife, preferably fairly low maintenance... I was leaning towards a Shun Fuji 10'', I really like feel of it, and I can get one off ebay for around $300-$350.

    BUT I decided to do a little research before I dropped that kind of cheddar on a knife, because I don't know particularly much on the subject. Found your site, and mass confusion ensued.

    I lead a very strange life, and have been obsessing over this for awhile. I need something to cover the following bases very well, I am extremely particular about detail when it comes to cooking, it's what keeps me sane at work (I do front end for a prominent pop culture advertiser in Hollywood, and it sickens me...ANYWAY):

    My typical cooking day:
    Breakfast (8am): Generally crepes or an omelette, not much need for a knife here. I'm half asleep anyway and would probably cut myself.
    Lunch (made at 9:30, eaten around 11 at work): Maki Rolls / Sashimi...everyday, but I don't want to drop the money on a yanagiba just yet, maybe in a few years.
    Dinner (around 6:30): switches between various chicken/fish dishes, Caribbean fresh salsas, Chicken Marsala, lemon garlic Sole w/ capers...

    I've always favored the 8'' Katana chef knife in my block, for pretty much everything. I use a pinch grip, and love the shape and balance, although I think I want something bigger for making more smooth single stroke cuts.

    I have a few sharpening stones, and a honing stick thing, I'd say I'm at about a 6/10 on sharpening, I can get it razor but it takes me a good while. I've never redone profiles or anything like that.

    Any suggestions? WHAT out there will cover my needs? Is there something that would suit me better than the Shun Fuji 10'' Chef's knife in that price range? Something that is aesthetically pleasing as well as sharper than the devil's wingtip shoes?

    Things I don't like in a Chef's knife: French / German style blades, high maintenance blades, overly curved blades,...

  2. #2
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    You have come to the right place! Especially since you are obsessing over a knife so much. Suggestions to follow...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Deckhand's Avatar
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    Yes, go see Jon at Japanese Knife imports in person and try out some knives. He will be very helpful, and much better to get a feel of different knives in your hand. Probably a 240-270mm gyuto by your description would be a starting place. I think you will be significantly happier than the Shun.

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    Welcome to the Knut House! There is nothing like a really sharp knife, and when you use one your willingness to spend the effort to learn to sharpen and maintain an edge goes way up. Sharpness is addictive!
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  5. #5
    Senior Member Johnny.B.Good's Avatar
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    Are you in Los Angeles?

    If so, I would definitely recommend that you drop by Japanese Knife Imports: http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/

    Jon (the owner and a vendor here) is extremely knowledgeable, offers unparalleled customer service, and has a wide variety of high end knives (I see Deckhand already beat me to this recommendation).

    Welcome to the forum.

  6. #6


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    Quote Originally Posted by Deckhand View Post
    Yes, go see Jon at Japanese Knife imports in person and try out some knives. He will be very helpful, and much better to get a feel of different knives in your hand. Probably a 240-270mm gyuto by your description would be a starting place. I think you will be significantly happier than the Shun.
    +1. Very much +1. His shop is in Venice. He has a sub-forum on this site, is ultra cool, and you'll have a great time learning about some of the really great stuff that's out there.

    And just to be fair: check out the other vendors on this forum. They all have great reputations.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Johnny.B.Good's Avatar
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    This might fit the bill nicely: http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/...wa-gyuto.html#

    You're lucky (assuming you close to Jon) in that you can spend time actually handling the merchandise before pulling the trigger, which you should definitely do.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAndre View Post
    Things I don't like in a Chef's knife: French / German style blades, high maintenance blades, overly curved blades,...
    You're talking about the profile here right? So something not too flat or curvy....I would say check out konosuke, carbonext, hiromoto AS, sakai yusuke, or gesshin ginga. If you don't already have them, you'll want a sharpening stone in the 1000 range and one in the 4000+ range.

  9. #9

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    I'm actually going to be in Venice tomorrow morning / early afternoon, if he's open on Sunday I'll check him out.

    Not to sound pessimistic though,... but would a Gengetsu 240mm Stainless Clad White #2 Wa-Gyuto being bought at retail ($365 at his store) be better than getting the Shun Fuji 10'' for $300 or the Shun Bob Kramer Meiji 8'' for $280 at auction? They both "msrp" for literally twice the price, and I'm sure there's a pile of marketing going into that, and that Japanese Knife Imports has good prices (or you guys wouldn't have recommended them),...but $300 on auction is pretty damn cheap.

  10. #10

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    also... I'm sure the aesthetics shouldn't particularly come into account that much, but the Shun knives are VERY pretty, while that Gengetsu knife is very plain looking.

    ie: While it may be a better utilitarian knife, it's not as flashy, and I like flash... people watch me cook fairly regularly (BBQs nearly every weekend, 15-20 people, sometimes we do Iron Chef challenges.... I generally win).

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