Nakiri vs Usuba for my use

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Fantality

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Hello,

I'm a sushi chef and one of the vegetables I chop all the time is the cucumber.

I shave the cucumbers into thin layers using the katsuramuki method and then I chop them up thinly to be used in rolls. Right now, I'm simply using my gyuto-suji hybrid knife, which I use for pretty much everything. However, I'm thinking of picking up a vegetable knife for the sake of efficiency. I dislike how cucumber sticks to my gyuto-suji knife and the end result isn't as neat.

I've never had a Nakiri or Usuba. I know the difference between the two is that Nakiri is double beveled while Usuba is single beveled. My understading is that Usuba is also a lot more expensive and more difficult to care for.

I just want a knife that glides through vegetables without the remnants sticking to the knife. Would either Nakiri or Usuba be capable of fulfilling this task?

The head chef at the previous restaurant I worked at had an ordinary chef knife that was sharpened in a way that it had a reflective finish on both sides. That knife glided through vegetables as if it had been oiled... not a single cucumber stuck to it when cutting katsuramuki layers into hundreds of thin cucumber-sticks.

I don't know how to sharpen my knives to have that result, so I'm thinking of just buying a vegetable knife.

Any advice are appreciated.
 

Jason183

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IME, the wide bevel gyuto is the best for this task(cutting tall piles of cucumbers), the cucumbers just fell off smoothly as soon as they reach the shinogi line. There are many brands liked kagekiyo/Togashi/Hado etc
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Fantality

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IME, the wide bevel gyuto is the best for this task(cutting tall piles of cucumbers), the cucumbers just fell off smoothly as soon as they reach the shinogi line. There are many brands liked kagekiyo/Togashi/Hado etc
View attachment 175210 View attachment 175211 View attachment 175212

My ex-head chef's "chef's knife" i mentioned above didn't even need to have the cucumber fall off at the shinogi line. The cucumber just stayed in-tact, in the same manner it laid there before it was cut into a hundred pieces. I would like a knife that can replicate this and I was wondering if nakiri/usuba can pull it off. Or, does anyone know how to sharpen your knife to achieve this? His knife was nothing special; just a budget western handle chef's knife.
 

blokey

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My ex-head chef's "chef's knife" i mentioned above didn't even need to have the cucumber fall off at the shinogi line. The cucumber just stayed in-tact, in the same manner it laid there before it was cut into a hundred pieces. I would like a knife that can replicate this and I was wondering if nakiri/usuba can pull it off. Or, does anyone know how to sharpen your knife to achieve this? His knife was nothing special; just a budget western handle chef's knife.
A usuba is probably gonna behave similarly to the wide bevel knife in terms of small food release. Maybe he polished his knife with certain scratch pattern , or he created an asymmetrical grind that favors release.

this is a good post on that
 

Jason183

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My ex-head chef's "chef's knife" i mentioned above didn't even need to have the cucumber fall off at the shinogi line. The cucumber just stayed in-tact, in the same manner it laid there before it was cut into a hundred pieces. I would like a knife that can replicate this and I was wondering if nakiri/usuba can pull it off. Or, does anyone know how to sharpen your knife to achieve this? His knife was nothing special; just a budget western handle chef's knife.
Do you mean he mirror polished the blade, is it on the whole blade or just the cutting edge? If the whole blade is shiny that’s a lot of hand polish work.
 
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I got this!
One of 2 possibilities:
1) I used to see this all the time, especially on budget gyuto. The sharpening session is basically just thinning and then jacking up the angle when start to work on the edge. A lot of older Gen chefs with little patience for sharpening used to do this a lot. The thinning keeps the feeling of performance, the high angle at the edge makes you feel like you’re sharpening faster, and the giant microbevel that results is actually not bad for food release on things like cukes and mushrooms. If that were the case, you definitely would’ve seen a variation in finish about halfway up the blade. I mean, he could have diminished the finish variation by scrubbing his knife with stone slurry and a towel. You still would notice a variation in the finish if you looked closely, but it would definitely get shinier

2) Knife technique! Even with crappy dull knives you can still achieve a wide variety of results just by changing up your technique. Push cutting gets you control and uniformity, but a more vertical cutting technique help food release. Especially if the dude had a giant microbevel and used a modest amount of straight downward force, I guarantee you those cukes ain’t gonna stick.

That being said, if you want a new knife, just buy a new knife. You should get one of each and send me whichever you don’t like;)
 

Fantality

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Do you mean he mirror polished the blade, is it on the whole blade or just the cutting edge? If the whole blade is shiny that’s a lot of hand polish work.

The whole blade was, i believe!

I got this!
One of 2 possibilities:
1) I used to see this all the time, especially on budget gyuto. The sharpening session is basically just thinning and then jacking up the angle when start to work on the edge. A lot of older Gen chefs with little patience for sharpening used to do this a lot. The thinning keeps the feeling of performance, the high angle at the edge makes you feel like you’re sharpening faster, and the giant microbevel that results is actually not bad for food release on things like cukes and mushrooms. If that were the case, you definitely would’ve seen a variation in finish about halfway up the blade. I mean, he could have diminished the finish variation by scrubbing his knife with stone slurry and a towel. You still would notice a variation in the finish if you looked closely, but it would definitely get shinier

2) Knife technique! Even with crappy dull knives you can still achieve a wide variety of results just by changing up your technique. Push cutting gets you control and uniformity, but a more vertical cutting technique help food release. Especially if the dude had a giant microbevel and used a modest amount of straight downward force, I guarantee you those cukes ain’t gonna stick.

That being said, if you want a new knife, just buy a new knife. You should get one of each and send me whichever you don’t like;)

Other chefs and I actually borrowed the knife in question whenever we worked on the cucumbers. It's definitely not the cutting technique because I could cut normally and no cucumber would stick. However, I'm aware of the verticle technique where you just glide the point of your knife through in a pull method. I don't like using that technique because I can't stack my cucumber layers too high for that haha.

We asked him how he sharpened his knife like that but he shrugged it off. To be fair, we never "seriously" inqured. I don't work with him anymore so that is definitely a missed opportunity!
 

Jason183

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There’s many ways to mirror polish the whole blade, if you don’t have proper tools or slurry powder, you can try this way at home see if it give you better results
 
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