Question of the Day: Kitchen Knife Favorites?

At BLADE Show 2016, I saw a lot of kitchen knives from makers not typically associated with such pieces. L.T. Wright had a chef knife and a slicer on display. Ken Onion has introduced a new brand, Ken Onion Knifeworks, to produce some culinary designs. Clay and I got in on the action as well. He bought a stunning Murray Carter Funayuki, and a Big Chris Boning/Fillet Knife, and I commissioned a custom Big Chris Cook’s Knife in CPM-10V.

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Before that, my old stand-by was a set of forged J.A. Henckels that I purchased from Costco. Clay had his Wusthöf Classics that were bought as a wedding gift.

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Both companies make quality blades, but I think we, and the knife buying market, are starting to think a bit more outside the box when it comes to our kitchen knife selections.

As an aside, I had the pleasure of spending the holiday weekend with the nicest guy in the knife industry, Mr. Ethan Becker. He is a most gracious host who I am thrilled to be able to call a friend. We filmed a 5 From The Grinder that will be coming later, and of course played with and talked a lot about all manner of cutlery. But back to the subject at hand…

It is a shame that this kitchen knife uptick is only happening now. As most of you know, Ethan is probably more famous for being the current author of The Joy Of Cooking than he is for Becker Knife & Tool. In a blending of those two worlds, he produced a set of kitchen knife designs a few years ago in partnership with ESEE. In retrospect, they were probably a little ahead of the curve; they were discontinued due to poor market reception.

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Which is a shame because the blade shapes are exactingly thought out (as one would expect from Mr. Becker). I had been looking to buy a set and they are nigh impossible to find now. After Ethan showed me some of the finer points of the designs, my lust was even greater. Quite luckily for me, Ethan produced a brand new set from his secret stash and sent me on my merry way!

In the short amount of time I have used them, they have me reevaluating all of my other chef/santoku knives. Seriously. When rocking, they have a sort of “soft-landing” on the cutting board, whereas all of my other blades tend to “clunk” when coming down. Hard to explain, but instantly noticeable. Here is Ethan talking about the set back in 2012.

So I know what my current favorites are! At least until my Big Chris arrives. Apart from the functional value, as a gift from “Uncle Ethan,” they will be irreplaceable for me.

What about you all? Have you been eyeing any new and fancier kitchen knives? Do you have a favorite brand or pattern? What are you using right now?

comments

  1. Jon M. says:

    What I’m using now: Chefknivestogo.com has a line of in-house knives called the “Artifex” line using AEB-L and 52100. I have no experience with their carbon, but their Stainless line has basically become my go-to workhorse due to AEB-L’s incredible price/performance ratio and ability to take and hold an edge.

    Northwoods also had a line of Blackwood knives using XHP that are simply awesome.

    I think above all, what I’ve come to learn from extensive use with kitchen knives is that A) German pattern knives are mostly useful for hard-use butchering and B) Japanese-style blades and handles is where the magic is. I used to own Wusthof’s as well, and they’re such a tremendous step up from your basic Big Box crap it’s not even funny, but with the proliferation of steels and high quality manufacturer’s, for the same money if not less you can get a blade the far, far exceeds anything made by the Big Name manufacturers.

    What I’m eyeing: Nora Knives makes custom blades in M4 and are frankly gorgeous. High performance and easy on the eyes.

    Most of all, what I’m excited about is that there’s an upswing of interest in kitchen cutlery currently.

    1. “Most of all, what I’m excited about is that there’s an upswing of interest in kitchen cutlery currently.”

      Me too!

      I love AEB-L by the way, and you nailed the reason. Price/performance ratio for a stainless it is hard to beat, and it works well on thin and on thicker knives!

  2. cmeat says:

    i’m surprised the comments didn’t come sooner here, and in greater quantity.
    my use of field knives includes large time gaps between; the edc usage is constant but largely mundane (teeth picking…), but in the kitchen the use always has a great purpose and happens each day.
    so big chris’ chef’s knife found it’s way to me, and it is sublime.

    1. That is awesome that you got that! I’m glad it sold. Can’t wait until he can get to building mine 😀

      1. cmeat says:

        what handle material did you request?
        the filler on yours, paper micarta? it is not a full tang, it is seamless however, and balanced at the handle front.
        jon m mentions nora, blackwood and artifex; these all appear to be really nice.

        1. I fell in love with the bone paper micarta he had on another knife at his table. The texture on it was awesome… very smooth and quite unlike canvas or linen micartas.

          By the by, I also brought Ethan over and had him check out that Big Chris knife that you have. He was impressed, both with the quality and with the design. It also has that “soft landing” I was talking about 🙂

  3. Sam L. says:

    I have Henckels, I have and old Gerber 10″ chef and a 3″ paring, but mostly I’m using Pur Komachis, which I find comfortable, light, sharp, and easily sharpenable.

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Question of the Day: Kitchen Knife Favorites?

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