When I first started working in kitchens over a decade ago, I was fortunate enough to have a chef that taught me knife skills almost exclusively using a nakiri. Chopping, peeling, pull & push cutting, taking the eyes out of a potato, Chef Sung could do it all with her nakiri! This of course made me long for one of my own, however, at the time they were quite hard to find around town.
Along came Knifewear and immediately thereafter, my first handmade Japanese nakiri. It’s still one of the top used knives in my home, by the whole, with family all these years later. During my time in the shop I’ve drooled over many varieties of nakiri and tested out many different lines. Below is a listing with myTop 5 Nakiris, suitable for both seasoned culinary professionals and first-time knife buyers alike!
The Haruyuki SRS15 series helped start what would become the company known as Knifewear. Many years ago, in a far off land known as London, England, Knifewear founder Kevin Kent purchased a Haruyuki SRS15 Santoku while working at the famed St. John restaurant. His life in the kitchen would be changed, for the better, forever. Still a shop favorite, this line offers one of the best factory forged nakiri we’ve found. Simple and elegant, the Haruyuki SRS15 stainless steel nakiri is available in both a classic western handle design and a stunning rosewood wa (Japanese) handle version, which is my personal favourite.
Fujimoto knives are the best of everything: high-performance, low maintenance, hand made and affordable! These blades are hand-forged by a team of masters, each with a specialized skill ranging from forging, to sharpening, to handling and inspecting the knives. While this keeps costs down, it also ensures that the knives are super-consistent and that each craftsman is incredibly proficient in his part of the job.
As a bonus, the high-carbon steel blade is clad in stainless steel! While the edge itself can rust, the rest of the knife is super easy to maintain so one only has to ensure that the very edge is kept dry, rather than the whole blade.
The modern kin of my very first Japanese handmade knife,the Yoshikane Tsuchime, the Masashi VS1 nakiri is the unsung hero of the bunch. Semi-stainless VS1 steel, which has a higher carbon content than full stainless steel, in the core, wrapped in sexy tsuchime (hammered) finish stainless steel, this line is produced by one of our all time favorite blacksmiths, Masashi Yamamoto. A lone wolf in the blacksmith world, Masashi-san does it all: forging, sharpening, handles, you name it, he did it. By himself. Unparalleled quality control if you ask me.
This is my next knife. I believe everyone needs a nakiri, but more importantlyeveryone needs a Fujiwara knife, so why not make it a 150mm nakiri? Nimble, lightweight and perfectly balanced, this is the veggie prep knife for everyone from mom to seasoned line cooks. The notch in the handle holds onto you as much as you hold onto it. Know someone with arthritic hands? This knife will change their life. That is a promise.
Hands down, this knife is the crowd favourite. At least 8 Knifewear staff own this knife, and that number has likely grown significantly. Customers seem to love it too! The extra height of this blade is perfect for big Canadian hands making it a beast when chopping through veggies, and the octagon shape is comfortable for righties and lefties alike.
The blade is made of Super Blue Carbon Steel, the king of knife steels. This stuff stays sharp longer than other high-carbon steels, but doesn't rust as easily and doesn't chip as easily. The icing on the cake is the stainless cladding on the knife, which makes the face of the blade maintenance free.
And one extra for the road...
Mark Otto from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta asked my why his favourite, the Takeda Nakiri isn’t on this list and I could not come up with one good reason. Thinner, lighter and taller than any other handmade knife line, Takeda’s blades are truly unique. They look cool, are unbelievably light, and cut like a laser. Being that they are so unique, they can feel unusual at first, but that’s a big part of the appeal. I believe that all knife lovers out there should have at least one knife from Takeda-san in their collection, so why not a nakiri?