The Chef Knife Series

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I received this message from a subscriber last week:

I am starting to understand the value of a really good knife to prep. When I was skinning the salmon I couldn’t cut the salmon skin off with my current knives at home. I ended up just ripping the skin off, caveman style (its paleo). What are some recommendation on knives and other recommended tools to have in the kitchen for a guy on his way to culinary fitness? – Henry

Henry is not the first person to ask me about knives. Ever since the “Meatza” video aired in the CrossFit Journal, I have received several emails with questions about my knives. The Chef knife is the most important tool in the kitchen. There are so many “Chef knife topics” to discuss that I will use a series of articles to answer the above question.

My Knives

These are the knives that I use most often. They are listed as seen in the picture to the right:

9.4″ Glestain Chef’s Knife (Gyutou)

10.5″ Glestain Slicer (Sujihiki)

Glestain Offset Petty Knife

Victorinox 10″ Serrated Bread Knife

Victorinox 3.25″ Serrated Paring Knife

Victorinox 6″ Curved Boning Knife

The top three knives on the list above are Western-Style Japanese knives, which are high quality and expensive. The three knives listed would cost around $600 to purchase.

The bottom three knives are commercial grade with stainless steel blades and polypropylene handles. These knives are inexpensive and are what you see the average restaurant kitchen provide for their cooks to use. The serrated bread knife pictured was issued to me when I started Culinary School in 1999, it costs $27 and I still use it to this day. It is one of my favorite knives.

If you are on a budget and can only purchase one knife, I would recommend a Victorinox 8″ Chef Knife, which has a $30 price tag. If you are looking to invest a little more money, then I suggest checking out the KORIN website, they have lower priced, Japanese knives that are made of higher quality steel and will last you a lifetime.

I have owned over 40 Chef knives since I was 16 years old, and still have most of them. I have used several different styles of various brands of knives. To find the right knife for you, I suggest holding different knives in your hand and picking the one that feels most comfortable. As I demonstrated above, you don’t need to spend a ton on your first knife. Start with one that feels comfortable and then, over time, when you’ve gained an understanding of what a balanced knife feels like, you can upgrade to something better.

Stay tuned for more articles in the Chef Knife Series…

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