Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Kitchen Cutlery

Following Aramis's article yesterday, I thought I'd add my 2 cents.

Yes, it's true, I love a good kitchen knife.
And not too long ago, I thought the Germans had the market cornered with Wusthof and Henckel.
Boy was I wrong.
I should have known better and just taken a second to think logically.
All I had to ask myself was what culture is most famous for their swords.
Answer : The Japanese

When the nation of Japan decided to modernize in the 1800's, they opted to westernize and ditch the Samurai way of life.
It was illegal to carry on any Samurai traditions, and many things disappeared along the way, including Samurai sword making.
The sword makers were instantly out of a job and quickly adapted their skills to making kitchen knives.
Eager and creative chefs welcomed perfect handcrafted knives into their kitchens and practically a knife for just about every application known in Japanese cooking was made.
There are knives for vegetables, meats, fish, deboning fish, filleting fish, knives for filleting tuna, knives for filleting eel, sushi knives, box sushi knives, soba noodle knives, the list goes on and on.

So with globalization, it's quite natural for serious chefs to look to the Japanese for custom made cutlery.
Brands like Nenox, Misono, Inox, Glestain, Mac, Global have surfaced and taken a huge bite into the market share. Edging out (pardon the pun) the Germans and French to become the world's authority in cutlery.

Better steel, better forging or crafting and probably most important, better edges have really catapulted the popularity of Japanese Chef's Knives all over the world.

One very big difference in Japanese knives is the amazing edge these master blacksmiths are able to put on their knives. There are stylistic differences in a standard western style chef's knife compared to a standard Japanese all purpose knife. It's in the edge of the blade.
This is also referred to as the 90/10 edge.

Most western blades are 50/50, or equal in angles from the right side and left.
Japanese blades are sharpened only on one side and therefore this leaves a tremendously thin and sharp edge to the blade.

It takes a little time to get used to. But once you're adjusted, cutting and slicing will never be the same.

I love my Nenox G-Type 8.2" Gyutou.
It's rather light in weight but the balance and grip feel is superb. And the edge is without a doubt 10x better than any German knife I've ever used.
I highly recommend you find a Japanese knife for your kitchen if you haven't already. It really does make cooking that much more fun.

I will go over Weight and Balance some other time. It's quite late now and I need to hit the hay.

1 comment:

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