Beautiful, Sharp, and Mine

Thanks to the generosity of my dad, I now own a really nice chef’s knife, a Kumagoro 210mm gyuto.

kumagoro

Gyuto - “Cow knife”

Dad decided to give me the gift of a sharp cooking implement for my birthday, on the condition that I research it and pick it myself. I suspect this was his own way of defusing his own lust for an ever-increasing number of knives.

There are a number of internet forums (of course!) discussing cooking knives, knife sharpening techniques, and accessories. At knifeforums.com you’ll meet any number of folks whose passion for collecting knives is exceeded only by their passion for talking about them. The forums at egullet.com are equally helpful.

Particularly useful in my search was the knives section of cookingforengineers.com, although I ended up going off their list; I wanted a “wa” style handle, and I’m a total sucker for the hammer finish on the Kumagoro. I was also intrigued (read: hypnotized) by the Damascus layers on the Hattori HD, but the particular model was want is out of stock.

The common wisdom is that European style knives have a symmetrical bevel, or edge, whereas Asian knives often have an asymmetrical, or sometimes just a single bevel. For this knife, I selected a Japanese-made knife that (apart from the handle) still has a very European form factor. I’ve been cooking with a modest Henckels set for years, and don’t want to throw my technique out the window. For my next knife – as if there’s any question that I’m getting another? – I’m considering something with an assymetrical bevel. I’m also thinking about the Shun Santoku that Alton Brown recommends.

There are those, including the New York Times, who claim that the only knife you need is a cleaver, but this just doesn’t seem to work out for me. I’m used to chef’s knives. And it has to be an 8” chef’s knife. 10” knives are for poseurs.

Yes, I’m joking. What knife one uses is, in the end, largely a matter of personal taste. But I am never one to pass up the opportunity to engage in overly detailed discussion on the minutiae of whatever is obsessing me at the moment. So with that in mind, let me throw this open to the floor. What’s your favorite knife? What are you using in your kitchen? What, if money was no object, would you like to be using?

Bonne cuisine!