Any other sushi chefs on here?

Discussion in 'Back of the House' started by Brandon Wicks, Dec 31, 2018.

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  1. Dec 31, 2018 #1

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

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    Where my people at?!

    I’d love to see your work kit. I plan on taking a picture of my current set up this week. Here’s some pictures of my newest knife. Kitaoka blue #2 mioroshi deba. I freakin love this thing!
     

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  2. Dec 31, 2018 #2

    Ochazuke

    Ochazuke

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    I'm curious about this too! I'll post pics later but I also love my kit:
    Watanabe kamagata usuba (180)
    Tsukiji Masamoto sashimi bocho (270)
    Gesshin Uraku sashimi bocho (270)
    Kintaro gyuto (270)
    Deba (180)

    This set up gets me through just about everything I could want to do with regards to sushi. I guess I also keep a ridiculously cheap shellfish knife. When I did more izakaya work I also had a honesuki and a petty. I got rid of the honesuki when I went to sushi only though. Funny thing about honesuki is that they're WAAAY overkill if you don't process whole chicken by the ton.

    I keep meaning to pick up a Kitaoka to try since he seems to mostly do single bevels. I remember you recommended his funayuki to me once. Maybe I'll do that next.
     
  3. Dec 31, 2018 #3

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

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    I have 300mm Kitaoka yanagi white 2 that I like but wish I had gotten it in blue 2 instead. It can get crazy sharp but it’s been kind of pain to deburr sometimes. The blue 2 of his has been super easy to maintain
     
  4. Jan 3, 2019 #4

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

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    C617F0A4-A9B3-49D5-B12E-C35515DAE283.jpeg DC51F99B-E92C-4626-AF36-FEB4B4E7B608.jpeg 22623C33-0104-4D49-B5F9-E66BB3ECFF61.jpeg Work kit. Sorry the lighting on my station is kind of harsh.

    From left to right
    300mm Kitaoka suminagashi white #2 yanagi
    120mm Watanabe kurouchi white #2 Ajikiri
    180mm Kitaoka blue #2 mioroshi deba
    180mm Hon Kasumi white #2 hon deba
    210mm Sakai Takayuki “Honyaki” blue #2 Gyuto
    300mm Fujiwara FKM Gyuto

    My 240mm FRKZ blue #2 mioroshi deba should be here in about 6-8 weeks from JCK! Can’t wait! I’m current planning to order a 270mm kiritsuke blue#2 in March as well.
     
  5. Jan 3, 2019 #5

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

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    I like seeing working knives, with working finishes, becuase you guys sharpen so much...
    more knives on the forum should look like this ;)
     
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  6. Jan 3, 2019 #6

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

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    Yeah when I was younger I would obsess over finishes and oil my handles and all that crap. I even had a Hattori KD gyuto that I thinned and re-etched. Went way down the rabbit hole. Now I am very utilitarian in my approach and selection in knives and stones. I'm not going to polish my debas and gyutos. I only take them up to an Aoto. It serves no purpose functionally and I'm just going to sharpen then every couple of days anyway. My Yanagi gets sharpened every shift up to my Aiiwantani but even then I am not going to worry about a perfect uniform polish. I ain't got time for that.
     
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  7. Jan 7, 2019 #7

    Brandon Wicks

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    Wow so only 2 of us here are sushi chefs?
     
  8. Jan 7, 2019 #8

    JBroida

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  9. Jan 7, 2019 #9

    Ochazuke

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    They're in that magical place that's right between having been used (and sharpened) really roughly, and somehow still being in workable shape.

    Full disclosure: I left the industry a couple months ago just because it was getting too much for me. I had been doing the 12-14 hour shifts, 6 days a week and I was falling apart. Unfortunately these knives don't get taken out that much as result since I can do most of my home cooking with a petty (and the occasional gyuto for really big stuff).

    It's sad to say, but most of these knives are waaaay overkill for home cooking.
     
  10. Jan 8, 2019 #10

    Brandon Wicks

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    Ah yes. Most of my home knives live in that limbo state.

    I can't see your photos btw.

    I left for 5 years but ended up missing it. I just needed to find the right place.

    Yeah for home cooking all you really need is a decent santoku. I mostly use couple different petties and a santoku.
     
  11. Jan 9, 2019 #11

    Mucho Bocho

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    Blasphemy. I don’t like the tone of this thread. Sure you can buy a food processor for food prep but how fun is that. The knives most of on this forum covet are more than tools their art, heritage and a passion for detail.
     
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  12. Jan 9, 2019 #12

    WildBoar

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    Ha ha, well said :D
     
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  13. Jan 9, 2019 #13

    slickmamba

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    now I know what to call my ugly sharpening finishes. I just have a working edge.
     
  14. Jan 9, 2019 #14

    Nemo

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    +1

    Besides, have you you ever tried to sharpen a food processor? They are a bugg*r to deburr!
     
  15. Jan 9, 2019 #15

    Brandon Wicks

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    Wow....I guess I won’t be sitting at the cool kids table. Quick question do you cook for a living?
     
  16. Jan 9, 2019 #16

    Mucho Bocho

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    Brandon, not anymore. I get it that cooking professionally and home cooking have different priorities. Knife length being one of them. That’s why I don’t own anything larger than a 250 and several 180 and 210. Granted I don’t use all of them every day but for me it’s nice to know I’ve got the right tool for the job. And yea, I do own one Santoku, 180 Shig KU sporting a nice Kashmii finish ATM.
     
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  17. Jan 9, 2019 #17

    Ochazuke

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    For sure on the different priorities thing. I'm not sure either one of us was trying to disparage collecting, but some knives (especially single bevels) really are overkill for any home cook. It'd be like buying a lathe for a whittling hobby (which there's nothing wrong with, it's just a lot). For me, what I learned is that most knives that are the "right tool" usually have one job that they do really well and that's it.

    And to speak to Brandon's point: for pros, great knives are beautiful but they're still tools to get a job done. Having such a high-precision tool like a yanagiba requires a lot of maintenance. The only pro chefs in America who are insane enough to properly maintain the edges on single bevel knives are the ones who REALLY give a crap about what their work. That's specifically why I used two yanagiba - rotate daily to give myself time to properly maintain them as opposed to trying to doing it when I'm dead ass tired. As a home cook now, after having put so much of my life in to working knife maintenance, there's absolutely no way I'd bother with anything more than a petty or santoku. Way easier to maintain and with good technique, I can still do pretty much everything I want to do.
     
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  18. Jan 9, 2019 #18

    Ochazuke

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    And again, I am absolutely not trying to disparage the knife collecting fever in any way. Just trying to explain from the perspective of someone who grew up having to use them as necessary tools versus someone who come to it out of their own interest.
     
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  19. Jan 9, 2019 #19

    Brandon Wicks

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    I have no issue with collecting and appreciating art and craftsman side of things. I grew up in a very art focused family. My personal aesthetics these days tend toward more humble and simple finishes with high use performance in mind. Sadly I can not afford to buy works of art to just use at home and I don't like using them in the work place. I find that my performance suffers because I end up babying the knife too much and I can't have that. That's why I sold my 240mm Hattori KD and 300mm Ittosai Honyaki gyutos years ago.

    My priorities:
    Being a really good sushi chef.
    Keeping my knives crazy sharp. I sharpen my yanagi every shift and other knives probably every other shift.
    If I have time or feel like it then I'll make them pretty. I am fully capable of making a knife look and perform better than new.

    On a side note I just ordered 270mm Gesshin Uraku Kiritsuke blue #2 to rotate in with my Kitaoka Yanagi. This might allow me to spend more time on each knife while sharpening.
     
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  20. Jan 9, 2019 #20

    Ochazuke

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    I 100% agree with not liking to have really nice knives at work. I also had the tendency to baby a nicer knife I used to have and to not do my best work as a result. I really liked my Gesshin Uraku though! It's a solid performer and I didn't feel like I had to baby it at all. It definitely punches above its class considering the cost.

    Here's the thing though: it took time to grow on me. Once I got some use out of it and got the edge geometry the way I like it, it really opened up for me. I hope you enjoy yours too!
     
  21. Jan 9, 2019 #21

    Ochazuke

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  22. Jan 10, 2019 #22

    gman

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    i'm not a pro but have kitaoka suminagashi yanagiba and deba for home use. just curious if anyone has a definitive source on the steel used in those? i've seen vendors list them as either white #1 or white #2...
     
  23. Jan 10, 2019 #23

    Mucho Bocho

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    Brandon, I’m only busting your balls. Totally agree that using pricy knives in a busy kitchen could be wrought with problems. Half oh my knives are carbon and even at home think twice before pulling them off the rack. You’re also right about most prep can be done with a sub 200mm blade. I don’t have any singles at home anymore either. Closest thing I have is a highly asymmetrical double bevel Takobiki.
     
  24. Feb 12, 2019 #24

    Cyrilix

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    Why are yanagibas so difficult to maintain? They just lose their edge really quickly?
     
  25. Feb 12, 2019 #25

    Ochazuke

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    They won’t necessarily lose their edge more quickly if you’re good at hamaguriba. But there are three big reasons why they’re more work:
    1.) If you’re a pro sushi chef, most likely you work in front of customers and will keep your blade at least somewhat polished. That takes time.
    2.) Single bevel users also usually want their knives to function at a higher level than double bevels, so what most double bevel user will consider an acceptable edge will be unacceptable for us. So more frequent sharpening.
    3.) Use in a pro environment is harsh, even if you’re good at using your knives carefully. So there will probably be things you have to fix just because you use your tools hard.

    Single bevel edges are really easy to mess up mostly because of sharpening on the urasuki. Learning to sharpen single bevels well takes a lot of time and experience and I don’t think there’s enough benefit for the average home user. Go for it if you just like it or have an interest, but I think it’s like getting a formula one race car just for your commute to work.
     
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  26. Feb 12, 2019 #26

    Cyrilix

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    Regarding #2, how high of a polish do you take the edge?

    What would be a high quality yanagiba that would take an exceptional edge and had a well done ura but is priced in a good range for home users? Less than $400 USD. Something that one would want to start practicing single bevel sharpening, given that double bevel sharpening is well understood, but also something that won't scratch the upgrade itch.

    I noticed that yanagibas tend to be pretty thick at the spine and don't tend to have very acute angles. Is that on purpose?
     
  27. Feb 12, 2019 #27

    Ochazuke

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    Well, grit is important, but I think that technique matters more. With some knife/stone combos I’ve done just as well only going up to 8k as I have with other knife/stone combos going up to 12k. But really technique matters more, especially over long term use. Also keep in mind that I polish more than just the edge.

    Your best bet is to go through a really great vendor who knows what they’re doing and actually does Quality Control. With some of the bigger vendors it can be a bit of a gamble, even with knives by “reputable makers.” I can personally vouch for JKI and I’ve also had good experiences with Korin in NYC. Tbh I would just call @JBroida. He’s more knowledgeable than me and can steer you to a good match in your price range.
     
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  28. Feb 12, 2019 #28

    Ochazuke

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    Regarding thickness and grind: just like double bevels, they really vary a lot by style, region, maker, etc. If you have the chance, stop in to a shop and you’ll be able to see some serious variance.
     
  29. Feb 12, 2019 #29

    Cyrilix

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    Thanks. I just want to clarify what you mean specifically by technique. With double bevel sharpening, technique (to me) tends to cover consistency in holding the angle, ability to apply consistent pressure over the entire length of the edge, understanding of how to properly adjust the angle for tips, ability to maintain and generate convexity along the blade face. Did you have any other things in mind w.r.t. single bevel sharpening technique?
     
  30. Feb 12, 2019 #30

    Ochazuke

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    That’s a great list! If you have that stuff down you have a really great start for single bevels. I would just add maintaining the shinogi line, and being extremely careful about uraoshi. You can also achieve great results with changing your pressure (but not in the middle of a run up your blade but in between runs).
     
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