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.
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?
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.
Kato-san who makes this knife is one of my fave blacksmiths because of his skill, and because he is a cool guy. He’s been a blacksmith for over 50 years and figured something out by now. This line of knives gives incredible performance and doesn't break the bank. Chefs all over the world swear by this knife.
This is a handmade knife with all of the romance that brings but has a very gentle price tag. I think it's a great knife for home chefs as it's easy to keep sharp and easy to care for. It, like the Masashi blade above is a bit heavier and therefore slightly more rugged than some of our other knives.
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.
Kurosaki-san is one of our favourite blacksmiths. His knives are uniquely beautiful and they work even better than they look. He makes his Sasame series for us exclusively and it has quickly became a staff favourite. The Cobalt Special steel is very chip resistant, the blades have an uncommon luster to them and they are light and easy to use. Did I mention they are also beautiful? Oh baby.
I assume that if you do the same job for over 50 years you probably get good at it. I think Malcolm Gladwell once said something about that. Anryu-san has been a kitchen knife blacksmith for close to 55 years. See his interview in Springhammer and find out how a real shokunin (craftsman) thinks. The Masakage Kumo line’s beautiful Damascus steel is so light it will feel like you are using a much shorter knife. If you want a longer knife, but tend to find them bulky or heavy, this is the one for you.
And finally heres a pick of what I'm using at home right now.