Every knife set starts with a chef's knife (multi purpose knife), also sometimes called a French knife or gyuto. People often ask for a santoku, as it’s a name they’ve heard before but I find them a bit small for use as a multipurpose knife as they generally come in a 165mm (6inch) size only. They are far too small for cabbage or watermelons, and those large onions from the farmer’s market for example. I think a 210mm gyuto is the best knife for home sized jobs. If you are a chef I’d suggest a 240mm or 270mm but that’s a different story, as chefs demand more and a larger knife makes turning 100kg of potatoes into hash browns a much easier task.
The Haruyuki Shiso has the best of both worlds; it combines classic style and elegance with the consistency and perfection of modern factory-forging. Aogami Super is the king of knife steel - super easy to sharpen, gets a laser beam edge, cuts like silk and is very rugged for its hardness. This line of knives gives incredible performance and doesn't break the bank.
I love Masashi knives. I do. They look great if you're gonna be on TV and great when cooking for friends. Masashi-san makes knives that slice through food like magic but are also more rugged than one would think. This knife is super fun to use when cooking by yourself, but even more fun when someone is watching you cook. We all get dressed to impress on special occasions, why not have a knife for those occasions as well?
The Hammer Tone is the rock-star of the Fujimoto line, with its striking good looks and sexy shine. The Hammer Tone name comes from the freshly forged look and the X-shaped hammer marks on the carbonized “kurochi” surface. This helps to break up surface tension, and allows food to fall from the knife as you cut.
This is my number one gyuto at home, currently. The sharpness this knife is capable of and how incredibly long it stays sharp blows my mind. The first time I used it I was in love. The finger notch at the end of the blade is brilliance. If you put your first or middle finger there and grip the blade you will be holding a knife like a chef and you will know what is perfect balance. I get that it's pricey, but so is a Ferrari.
Want a great looking knife that is easy to take care of and doesn’t break the bank? This is for you. This knife is the easiest to sharpen of the bunch (but sadly will also need to be sharpened more often) and looks awesome. I love how these knives feel and I think they are great for home and especially for a gift.
This blog is all about how the 210mm gyuto is a great home knife, but I know some people love to rock a larger knife. One challenge is that they can be a bit heavy for some home users. Professional chefs love a longer knife, sometimes as long as 300mm, because the extra blade makes big jobs easier. 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. If that sounds like you, these are my recommendations for longer knives that are still nice and light.
Mugen is a legendary line and a serious achievement in knife-making: stainless damascus steel clad over a core of super blue carbon steel. Not only are these babies dead sexy, they have the true weight and heft of a classic chef's knife. Whether you're making dinner for 2 or 200, this knife will get the job done better than most.
I assume that if you do the same job for over 700 years you probably get good at it. I think Malcolm Gladwell once said something about that. The Moritaka family have been forging blades for 31 generations. You can Moritaka-san's interview in Springhammer and find out how a real shokunin (craftsman) thinks. The line is stunning with the black ishime finish. For 700 years the finish was reserved for hunting knives only, but after much begging they relented, and now they only use it for hunting knives and kitchen knives made for us.
And finally heres a pick of what I'm using at home right now.