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How do you professionals choose what knives to use at work?

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Bigbbaillie

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I couldn't figure out a great title. But basically im just curious how people in the industry who are collectors separate their knives for home use and work use, and what qualities they prefer for each realm of cooking?
Im wondering because Im a professional who has recently starting buying up more knives and feel like some knives are too knice for rough kitchen conditions.
 

birdsfan

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I struggle with this myself. Up until recently, I didn't buy a knife that was not "kitchen capable". Eventually my curiosity got the better of me, and I bought a couple of higher performing knives that in my opinion might not react well to the way I use knives at work.

Deciding whether or not to bring a knife to work has been based more on on how it will stand up to pro level use than on price or cosmetics. I tend to use stainless or stainless clad at work, though I know others that prefer a monosteel or iron clad. Also tend to choose steels that offer good edge retention, powder steels, ginsan, or Aogami super. I have also started to shy away from lasers, opting instead for middle weight or workhorse grinds. The lasers are for my home meal prep.

To some extent I think opinions will vary based on the type of product an individual cook most prevalently uses and their role in the kitchen. I know I use a different subset of knives when I am doing prep than I use on the line during service.

Hopefully others will chime in!
 

M1k3

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I'll use either my stainless clad SemiStainless or fully reactive 240mm Gyuto for 'make big stuff small stuff' prep. I have a ~210mm laser and Heiji, both stainless clad SemiStainless, for smaller stuff and during service. These are the main knives I use. I use whichever I feel like using or is sharper.

I also have a 10" Wusthof Pro, 6" Wusthof GP II and a beat up 8" Shun Sora as beaters
 

tostadas

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I struggle with this myself. Up until recently, I didn't buy a knife that was not "kitchen capable". Eventually my curiosity got the better of me, and I bought a couple of higher performing knives that in my opinion might not react well to the way I use knives at work.

Deciding whether or not to bring a knife to work has been based more on on how it will stand up to pro level use than on price or cosmetics. I tend to use stainless or stainless clad at work, though I know others that prefer a monosteel or iron clad. Also tend to choose steels that offer good edge retention, powder steels, ginsan, or Aogami super. I have also started to shy away from lasers, opting instead for middle weight or workhorse grinds. The lasers are for my home meal prep.

To some extent I think opinions will vary based on the type of product an individual cook most prevalently uses and their role in the kitchen. I know I use a different subset of knives when I am doing prep than I use on the line during service.

Hopefully others will chime in!
Curious, what makes a laser desirable for you at home, but not in the workplace?
 

rmrf

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I'm fascinated by the differences between pro kitchens and home kitchens so I hope other people chime in so I can learn!

I'll use either my stainless clad SemiStainless or fully reactive 240mm Gyuto for 'make big stuff small stuff' prep. I have a ~210mm laser and Heiji, both stainless clad SemiStainless, for smaller stuff and during service. These are the main knives I use.
To some extent I think opinions will vary based on the type of product an individual cook most prevalently uses and their role in the kitchen. I know I use a different subset of knives when I am doing prep than I use on the line during service.
What is the difference between knife use during large scale prep and during service? Is more food release and weight just obviously better in prep than in service or is it a space concern? I hope this question isn't too ignorant; my professional kitchen knowledge comes from memes on /r/kitchenconfidential and Ratatouille.
 

birdsfan

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I would honestly wouldn't mind using a laser more at work, but I tend to get a 210 WH out for my line knife, and a 240 medium weight for the prep table. Once I roll the bag up I usually don't go back into it unless I need a real specific knife for a real specific task. I can do everything with my Kagero that I could do with the laser, so the Makato stays in the bag.
 

birdsfan

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I need to use a short 210 during service because of space on the board. There just isn't a lot of room, and a long knife on the small board increases to possibility that I will get a stupid cut (ie grazing my finger on it while I am reaching for something else on the board.) or knock it off onto the tile floor.

A 240 at least is necessary for prep. Really....I am thinking about the need for a 270.
 

M1k3

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I'm fascinated by the differences between pro kitchens and home kitchens so I hope other people chime in so I can learn!





What is the difference between knife use during large scale prep and during service? Is more food release and weight just obviously better in prep than in service or is it a space concern? I hope this question isn't too ignorant; my professional kitchen knowledge comes from memes on /r/kitchenconfidential and Ratatouille.
During service all the big product I'll have to break down should already be done. During service, stuff being cut is generally smaller. Think Ribeye loin is now steaks, Tuna loin is now 3-6 oz portions. And so on. Combined with a busy pace and needing space for stuff other than cutting.
 

pleue

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I really liked stainless in a pro kitchen yes. I didn't carbon for anything reactive but had them in my bag.

I prefer 270 for prep, not too tall but that's my preference. Big poly boards and lots of product meant I got used to large knives and use them at home now. On the line it depended on the station but mostly a 210 suji, plus a 270 yanagi when working any raw/sushi station, sometimes something tall when having to a do a lot of cutting on a specific dish to order.
 

GorillaGrunt

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I rotate everything I buy and if I don’t use it at work it goes, unless it’s something I really like to use at home. i definitely use plenty of reactive steel and don’t tend to prefer lasers although I’ve always got the Kashima with me just in case. I’m still learning though so a lot of this is trying lots of knives to see what makes something easier, faster, or more precise. Also I have enough blades around so if my edge dies on a task I just swap a fresh one in like Blackbeard.
 

Kippington

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I was always fine with 240mm on the pass during service.

Prep time: Use whatever knife is closest at hand if you are doing a small job, a bigger job allows you to choose a suitable length and grind for the job. With smaller volumes you tend to stick to the knife at hand. Switching out to another knife is fine if you are working large volume. Carbon steel is fine for non acidic foods.

Different height benches are more of a knife choice factor than you might imagine...
 

Renzwerkz

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Usually i use 2 sets of knives, stainless/semi-stainless and carbon steel, depends on my shift.. i use stainless/semi-stainless for service time, carbon steel for preps time..
 

Chuckles

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I had a job for a bit where I was alone in the kitchen for a few hours once a week. I would only do menu development and always brought the big guns for that day. It was really fun.

For me, once I have decided a knife is a keeper I don’t mind bringing it to work. By far the riskiest thing I have done with nice knives is ship them to KKF members. 250-260 for prep projects. Mostly I use a robust 180 petty for tastings and training.

I wouldn’t use the expensive ones during service but it has been years since I regularly worked a station.

At home I use a 180 gyuto because I use smaller cutting boards that are faster and more convenient to clean. I use full size knives when I am cooking bigger meals with a bigger board.

Whether a knife is stainless, carbon, mono, clad, or honyaki is rarely a factor in which knife I choose.
 

FishmanDE

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+1 to almost everyone here (especially birdsfan). I too recently fully filled out my first knife roster, and as my motto, right tool for the right job. That said, the one thing I haven't seen anyone touch on is the difference in work environments. High end kitchens with low seat count vs a volume place argument changes things for me. Example; If I'm in fine dining and breaking 10 ducks every other day, than I'd go high carbon/ high HRC SS clad. But, if I'm working at say a mid level higher volume place and have to break 15 chickens everyday, I'm going to go full stainless, or carbon SS clad w/ a lower HRC. One would think you'd prefer the edge retention in that situation, but in reality, when you're doing more volume faster, things happen and I like to breathe easy knowing I am way less likely to chip if I slip on a bone. Personally, I'd rather touch my knife up everyday than make a whoopsie and have to fix a chip. My 2 cents
 

FishmanDE

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What is the difference between knife use during large scale prep and during service? Is more food release and weight just obviously better in prep than in service or is it a space concern? I hope this question isn't too ignorant; my professional kitchen knowledge comes from memes on /r/kitchenconfidential and Ratatouille.
Strictly a space concern in general. But that also isn't for everyone. I've worked at places with big kitchens where it wasn't an issue to use your "main" knife all day. I've also worked at places where in service meant a boning knife and a slicer (meat roast station). Again, for me, it's all a case by case basis.
 

GorillaGrunt

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I just used my Raquin 250 all day, for everything except taking the heads off and spines out of some fish - butchering those, peeling and cutting kabocha squash, trimming skirt steaks, slicing chives, slicing steaks and apples on the line, Etc. I never use one knife all day, and it’s still relatively sharp, man that thing is awesome
 
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