My Sweet First Knives :)
I wrote the same content on my blog, but I thought it might be easier for some people to read it here... so here's the content of my new blog entry...
I own a kitchen knife store with Jonathan. And there's a funny irony in it.
I have never purchased a kitchen knife in my life, not even once, not even a single knife. I always used my Mom's at home, and when I had my own place, she gave some of hers or I borrowed my friends'. For some reasons, "buying my own knives" never occurred to me.
Now we own JKI, we sometimes receive great knives as gifts (*note* often with just MY name engraved, not Jon's), and Jonathan is constantly "testing" new ones - this even put me farther from buying my own.
Day before yesterday, I suddenly decided - "it's time for a change! I"m buying one (or two)!"
Jon has a nerdy (or call it "professional") point of view to knives, and I have very normal person's. I think choosing "right" knives for myself will give me a more round view into our friends'/customers' thoughts when they are picking their knives.
So... here's what I have been doing, and I thought you might enjoy being a part of my knife shopping.
Just like a regular walk-in customer, I formally enter JKI.
Sara "Hi... do you have knives?"
Jonathan tries to take an active part in my process of choosing a knife, but I'm a big girl and already know what I'm supposed to do when it comes to picking up right knives for someone (this time, for myself).
(FYI: AS A JOKE) The first thing I look is, of course, the prize of the store.... the most expensive knife in a shop. Yes, that would be Hinoura-san's 300mm beautiful yanagiba.
Sara: "May I please take a look at this knife" (it wasn't really a question because this store is also mine)
Before Jonathan has to say anything, I already knew it. This "it" is a concept that I'm so familiar and still bitter to swallow when it comes to me taking a lesson - the great knives come with great responsibility.... I have to pick skill-set appropriate knives. I can't choose something so beyond my knife and sharpening skills because I won't able to get the most out of those knives, and in fact, I will miss use them (besides that's just dishonorable to knives and craftsmen who I love so much).
See the bitterness in my face:
Giving up on this prized knife was sad, but I quickly resumed the pursuit of my own knives.
The first step- this time serious one - is to ask myself a simple questions:
"What types of knives do I want?" I want 240mm wa-gyuto and 150mm wa-petty. Thanks to being at JKI all day long, this question is really easy for me. As first knives, I need something simple and multitasking.
"What types of steels?" I want carbon for my wa-gyuto, and stainless and wa-petty... I grow up with carbon knives because my Mom had them. I know how to work clean in kitchen, and have a good sense which food are acidic. Carbon knives will be easier to sharpen (of course it also depends on which carbon knives I will end up having, but in general I feel comfortable saying that), and since I will be also sharpening my own knives, this is a good plus. I want stainless for wa-petty because I cut a lot of fruit and a lot of acidic food like lemons with my wa-petty.
I know some Chinese cleaver loyalists out there are kind of angry with me for not picking this one:
Chinese cleavers are little too heavy for me, so sorry for the Chinese cleaver supporters, but I picked wa-gyuto and wa-petty.
Next questions is "which ones from JKI?" I know I want carbon steel for my wa-gyuto, and ideally I want White #2 steel. It might not have the best edge retention, but I'm a home coo, and my priority is an ease of sharpening over crazy edge retention (I will let you know if I apprentice to a sushi chef, then my choice of steel will be different).
Immediately I associate my self with our customers on little details....
Sara: "I want a colored buffalo horn! This one is pretty!"
"Yakiguri handles are awesome."
"Yes, I know... the looks is not what I'm supposed to be focusing on"
.... okay, you knives are giving me difficult time. I'm going to move over to the petty section.
"You know what. You guys are ALL cute and small."
PS. I "forgot" to ask myself what my budget was for knives. My bad!
.... I made Jonathan edit my blog.... so if you go to my blog from the link here, you won't be terribly sorry for my grammer !
Sara, you had me at Sara "Hi... do you have knives?"
Great write up, and I didn't mind any mistakes. It showed that you are trying to be a real customer instead of never going through the process. Now try it from a Walmart or Target, and see how that goes. Just a suggestion.
Nice! Looking forward to the conclusion.
What's wrong buying based on looks? I start with that and then winnow out the ones I don't like.
Cutest post ever!
I'm not seeing that cleaver on your site, where is it?
So what knives did you end up getting?