Knife recommendations for young cook

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Maarten Schild

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Hi everyone, I have been working as a cook for some years now. Had my thrusty Victorinox with me and managed to borrow other knifes if I required. Have some money saved and want to spent it on upgrading my kit.

LOCATION
The Netherlands

KNIFE TYPE
Chef’s knife, Thinking about 240mm for prep
Smaller/Petty knife for line
paring knife


Are you right or left handed?
Right

Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?
No preference, have only had western so far but willing to try

What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
240 for chefs knife, no preference for others

Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)
I think it is useful in professional kitchen, have read a few threads on this forum with people agreeing but willing to listen to input. I dont have much knowledge on knives

What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
~150,- to 200,- Euro
I think I want the petty/pairing as cheap as possible


KNIFE USE
Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?
Professional

What are the main tasks you primarily intend to use the knife for (e.g., slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing meats, cutting down poultry, breaking poultry bones, filleting fish, trimming meats, etc.)? (Please identify as many tasks as you would like.)
During prep mostly vegetables, fruits and herbs. Very occasional fish filleting/ slicing meat and cheese
What knife, if any, are you replacing?

Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.)
Pinch

What cutting motions do you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for types of cutting motions and identify the two or three most common cutting motions, in order of most used to least used.)
Push-cut, Slice, Walk

What improvements do you want from your current knife? If you are not replacing a knife, please identify as many characteristics identified below in parentheses that you would like this knife to have.)
Edge retention

KNIFE MAINTENANCE
Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
Synthetic
Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
Yes

Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)
I currently own 1K/6K king stone, might be looking for a honing rod for use during the day. Might not be needed with a knife with better edge retention. Would like some input on this, since for most home users you can just take out your stones. Not the case at work, at least for me.

SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS
I am working in a restaurant here in the Netherlands. Currently I own a Victorinox Fibrox (8 inch I believe), it served me very well but I am looking for an upgrade as well as some additional knives. Main request for advice is on a chefs knife/ gyuto for prep. I mostly work with vegetables fruits and herbs, and occasionally some fish/met or cheese but never deboning or anything like that. I think I might like going to a slightly larger knife for this so thinking about a 240mm.

Furthermore, during service I dont have much space on the line and only use a small cutting board. I also only have to use my knife for small items and cutting open vacuum bags/ piping bags, nothing fancy, (if i did my mise right) so using my chefs knife has felt a bit unwieldy so I would like a smaller knife for that.

Finally, sometimes for fruits or smaller vegetables/finer work I have been able to borrow a pairing knife from my fellow cooks but would like to have one in my kit myself.

For the budget it is around 150-200 Euro total, most of it spent on the chefs knife since I will do 90% of my cutting with that.

Would love to get your input/advice! Thanks in advance!
 

M1k3

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Something like a Kaeru Gyuto and then get a petty or paring knife? Victorinox makes a cheap and pretty good paring knife.
 

Maarten Schild

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Ochazuke

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Honestly, for your situation, I would just go Tojiro. Their DP line is a classic that many people in a pro kitchen use. If you don’t mind spending extra you could search for the R2 series they make. The powdered steel has better edge retention. I like R2 much more than molybdenum vanadium steels. Plus Tojiro is durable so there’s no problem if other people use it.
 

Scribbled

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This is a silly aside, but the ability of the Dutch to speak foreign languages never ceases to amaze me. Your English absolutely shames the various journalists and teachers where I live who are paid huge sums purely for their ability to write English half as well as a trainee such chef. I bought a tojiro DP hammered petty and think it’s wonderful, most people here seem to think MAC knives offer exceptional value, though I’ve never actually used one.
 

YumYumSauce

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+1 for the DP Tojiro, that is what I started out with and it's served me well.

I bought a tojiro DP hammered petty and think it’s wonderful, most people here seem to think MAC knives offer exceptional value, though I’ve never actually used one.
I also think macs are great value and I love my mac parer, gets sharp, tough, and unfussy to maintain. My preference is 150mm petty over a parer. Big enough to use on the board but nimble enough for in-hand use too. Great for small fruits and veggies; lemons, shallots, herbs, stawberries, etc.
 

fewlio

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I say if you want cheap but good, Victorinox. I just looked at Mac and Tojiro DP prices. I'd say just wait for a 20 percent sale at cutlery and more and buy Enso. The quality per dollar exceeds any knife I've seen. You'll be spending the same or less than for these Mac or Tojiro knives.
 

Ochazuke

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I say if you want cheap but good, Victorinox. I just looked at Mac and Tojiro DP prices. I'd say just wait for a 20 percent sale at cutlery and more and buy Enso. The quality per dollar exceeds any knife I've seen. You'll be spending the same or less than for these Mac or Tojiro knives.
I tried an Enso, and maybe I just handled a dud, but I didn’t like the grind on Enso knives. Way too thick for me. Also I remember it being very heavy. I wouldn’t want to use such a heavy knife for long hours of prep.
 

minibatataman

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Groetjes uit maastricht!
Im not dutch but I work here, I'd say the kaeru is a step above the Mac and tojiro. If you want to try something with a wa handle, get a kaeru. If you want a western one get a Mac. I use both carbon and stainless wa knives where I work and they work just fine, the light weight is very nice for long hours.
Where do you live in the Netherlands? Maybe you can try some carbon of mine and decide if you do actually need stainless or not.
 

Maarten Schild

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Is this the Tojiro everyone recommends?:
https://www.knivesandtools.com/en/pt/-tojiro-dp-3-layers-chefs-knife-24cm.htm

And this the MAC:
https://www.japansemessen.nl/a-29683595/mac/mac-professional-mbk-95-240-mm-frans-chefsmes/

I live near Rotterdam by the way, so thats quite far (in Dutch terms), but thank you very much for the offer Minibatataman. What would you say makes the Kaeru be a step above the Tojiro and Mac? Does anyone have any input on a honing rod, or is it not needed with these harder steels?

Thanks for all the responses!
 

minibatataman

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Next time I'm in the area I'll bring them with me then ;)
I think you can get away with a very fine ceramic honing rod like the mac black ceramic one.. especially with the mac knife. Maybe not the kaeru.
And the kaeru has better steel which will sharpen better and easier (whether you get the carbon or stainless one) and IMO a nicer profile, but that's my preference. I have had limited time with it but I liked it more than the Mac I had, and I loved that mac.
And yes I believe those are the two knives everyone mentioned. I advice against buying from dutch stores however, because with the taxes they cost the same as the kaeru almost
 

Benuser

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I see a honing rod as an emergency solution. Better touch up with your finest stone, or the one before, for instance.
A very good one is the Sieger LongLife. It leaves an edge at some 3k.
It takes some use to properly deburr on a rod, though. Is likely to be an issue with VG-10.
As for the MAC, it's largely overpriced in Holland. Have a look at JCK, japanesechefsknife.com, what you may get for the same money — or less.
https://japanesechefsknife.com/products/misono-440-series-gyuto-knife
 
Last edited:

Boynutman

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Misono is available in The Netherlands, fairly reasonably priced (except the ux10 line). No risk of getting hit by import taxes and handling fees.
http://www.misono.nl
Just that you know... (... but may involve travel to 020 [emoji6])
 

Benuser

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