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  • The Best Japanese Chef’s Knives for Chefs

    May 25, 2022 1 min read

    The Best Japanese Chef’s Knives for Chefs

    You chefs are a funny bunch. I know, because I was one for many many years. It’s my opinion that “once a chef, always a chef”. We see the world differently and demand more of our knives. Chefs need knives that are crazy sharp and stay that way for a long time. The same way we sometimes ask more of our best friends than others (help with moving, council us about our love lives, etc…) we also want our best friend in the kitchen to do a little more work and take a bit more of a beating.

    I’ve found that the default size for chefs is 240mm, sometimes 270mm and a few even like a 300mm knife.  Longer blades make cutting 200 pounds of potatoes into hash browns easier as the extra length makes a bigger fulcrum, and you need less force to cut….or something sciency like that. Basically, big knives make big jobs easier. Here is my list of knives that fit the bill and should be considered by any chef looking for a number one knife:

     

    TOJIRO ATELIER CLASSIC VG10 Damascus Gyuto 240mm - $472.00

    Some folks want a knife that has that carbon steel look, but is actually made from easy-to-care-for stainless steel. This is one of the heaviest knives we carry and is perfect if you prefer the feel of a German or American knife. The handle is very ergonomic, especially for those with larger hands. Layered Damascus stainless steel, uniquely paired with a black kurochi finish? What more could you want?

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    Haruyuki Mugi Gyuto 240mm - $188.00

    Either you have a large mitt like mine and love this handle or you have a small hand and hate it. If you’re like me this rugged, good looking and slick feeling knife is what you are after. I often use this for the Cut Like a Chef classes we teach.

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    Fujimoto Hammer Tone SLD Gyuto 210mm - $221.00

    Alright, even I can admit it; some people just prefer a small knife. This is my compromise. The Hammer Tone carries the weight and heft of a larger knife while being an extremely manageable 210mm long. The steel has a high carbon content but is stainless, so you get the best of both worlds in regards to performance v.s. maintenance.

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    Fujimoto Nashiji Gyuto 240mm - $180.00

    Let's face it, kitchens are hard on knives. When we designed this blade we choose Blue Carbon Steel for its obvious benefits; great edge retention and insane sharpness. As much as we love the steel we knew it would get terribly rusty in a professional kitchen, so we had it clad in stainless steel. Now only the edge is exposed high-carbon steel, and the knife is much easier to keep from rusting.

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    Masashi Kuroshu Gyuto 240mm - $611.00

    If you’ve ever heard me talk about Masashi-san you will know I am a huge fan of his. There are many reasons for this. He likes nihon-shu as much as I do, he likes great restaurants almost as much as I do and I love how seriously he takes his craftsmanship. He is the craftsman’s craftsman. He makes knives for chefs that are rugged, mega sharp and look great.

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    Haruyuki Shiso Gyuto 240mm - $260.00

    Okay, half the reason I chose this knife is purely because of its looks. But that's not all, it's also an incredible performer! Super Blue Carbon Steel cuts incredibly well, has crazy edge retention and features a layer of stainless protection to keep maintenance in check. The heavier blade and forward balance mean that this knife does some of the work for you, a serious benefit for overworked chefs.

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    Fujiwara Maboroshi Gyuto 210mm - $436.00

    Okay, I had to have a bonus knife. This is the blade I recommend when a chef comes in looking for a knife that they'll take to the grave. Holding the notched blade is like getting a handshake, and it gives you incredible comfort while you cut. Fujiwara-san manages to make this steel harder than most blacksmiths can, giving it insane performance in both professional and home environments. This one is well-worth saving your pennies for. 

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    If none of these are quite scratching that itch for you, trust me, I get it, come see us in-store or shoot us a message here, and we'll help you find the prep tool of your dreams.

       Kevin Kent
    Kevin Kent

    Knifewear owner and president Kevin Kent’s fascination with handcrafted Japanese knives began while he was working as sous-chef for the legendary chef Fergus Henderson at St. John restaurant in London, England. Back in Canada in 2007 he began selling them out of a backpack from the back of his bicycle, while working as a chef in Calgary. He considers his chef years as the best education for being an entrepreneur. Being a chef takes long hours, involves hard work, both mentally and physically, and chefs must be able to put out fires, both literal and figurative, with extreme competence. Today, Kent is still just as obsessed with Japanese knives as the day he first held one. A couple times a year, he travels to Japan to meet with his blacksmith friends and drinks far too much sake. Each visit he learns more about the ancient art of knife-making. Through this obsession Knifewear has expanded to include five Knifewear stores in Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Edmonton. Plans are also underway to open a store in Kyoto, Japan. He refuses to confess how many Japanese knives he owns … but he admits the number is rather high. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @knifenerd and find out more about the stores at knifewear.com, and if you meet him in person, ask him to tell you his Lou Reed story.