What's cooking?

Sam Posten

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I said fancy, not expensive. You guys keep trying to make this a personal attack on your choices when it’s not. If you enjoy sous vide others choices to not go that route don’t invalidate your tastes...
 
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DaveF

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I said fancy, not expensive. You guys keep trying to make this a personal attack on your choices when it’s not. If you enjoy sous vide others choices to not go that route don’t invalidate your tastes...
i apologize if thats how it felt. Wasn’t meant as a personal attack. Just laughing over the irony. To me a $800 grill is fancy. A $100 cooking tool is affordable gadget.

I’ve tried to be clear: no denigration for anyone who prefers this method over that method. I’ve got a Weber grill. It’s great. I love using it.
 
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Nelson Au

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Hey guys, I thought I’d join this thread. With the Covid situation, I’ve been learning more to cook. I’ve been using a Henckels serrated knife that I bought ages ago. But I never got a full proper set of knives. I need a chef’s knife as I found as I cut chicken and beef, it wasn’t good with the serrations. So I was looking at Henckels knife sets with the butcher block holders. But I was thinking I probably will never use all those knives. So maybe some of you guys can recommend which knives makes sense. I think an 8” chef’s knife will be one essential knife. Maybe a smaller pairing knife. I’m looking at Henckels because it’s my impression they make good quality knives and I don’t mind investing in a good set of knives that I can use for a lifetime. Though there’s been some bad reviews so maybe their quality dropped. Thanks for any input!
 
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DaveF

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@Nelson Au Don’t buy an “knife set”. Buy good knives a la carte according to your needs. get a good chefs knife and a paring knife and you’re covered for a big chunk of what you really need. You can build from there.

I have:
  1. Chefs knife
  2. paring
  3. Santoku (hollow edge)
  4. tomato
  5. serrated bread
I’m not saying that’s the ultimate kit. But it’s close to the essentials. I’ve bought Wüsthof knives because thats what I started with 14 years ago and I’ve just stayed with it mainly. Henckel is the other major retail / consumer brand name. They’re good too. If I were starting today, I wouldn’t necessarily buy either one.

here’s a decent list of recommendations.

I personally didn’t like Victorinox when I bought them for my mom 10 years ago. But America’s Test Kitchen has been recommending them forever, so take that for what you think it’s worth.

I don’t have a honing rod. I’ve got this instead:
“Wusthof Precision Edge 4 Stage Knife Sharpener”
Amazon product
But with this you need to make sure the Santoku edge angle matches the Santoku knife you’re buying, if you go this route.
 

Cameron Yee

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I have a similar device for sharpening knives, but one of my knives doesn't sharpen correctly in it so I have to use the sharpening rod.
 
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Sam Posten

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I personally went the 'buy individual pieces at the highest quality you can afford when they are on sale" route and very much believe that is the best way to go. I personally have mostly Wusthof but also have a few Shun and Pacific 67 pieces. I recommend buying from the sale list here:

That 9" Chef knife for $70 will last 2 lifetimes. I prefer the upgraded handles of their Ikon line but the price premium for those might not be to most people's tastes.
 
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Nelson Au

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Dave, thanks! From my initial reading, those three knives were what I was thinking of too, chefs knife and a pairing knife. The santoku is a new one to me that a friend mentioned he has, so it’s on the list. A tomato knife is a new one I hadn’t considered. I do have a serrated bread knife. I have an inexpensive OXO and a Henckels one too. Though the Henckels Serrated bread knife is likely not in their really nice line. But for now I can use it.

I like the idea of the honing rod because it appeals to my sense of craftsmanship. To learn the best way to sharpen with a tools like that, holding the angle right and all that.

I think as far as brands, I’ll look around before deciding for sure on stating with Henckels.

Hey Sam, I just saw your reply. I completely agree, go with essential individual pieces and not a whole set at once. And I agree about investing in good pieces. Thanks, I’ll check out that link!

I’ve been wanting to really learn to cook more. So far it’s been kind of fun so far.

Thanks a lot guys!
 

Josh Steinberg

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I know most people like an 8” chef’s knife as the go-to kitchen blade, but I personally prefer a 6” blade. It all depends on what you spend most of your time doing and how it feels in your hands, but I’m just throwing it out there that a good 6” knife can be a great all purpose kitchen tool.
 

Nelson Au

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Ok, thanks Josh. I’ll add a Six inch blade on my list to consider. I’ll see how long my current knife is compared to a six inch one. And in looking at tomato knives, they appear to be serrated. I’ve cut a lot tomato’s usually with a cheap steak knife that is serrated.
 

DaveF

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I know most people like an 8” chef’s knife as the go-to kitchen blade, but I personally prefer a 6” blade. It all depends on what you spend most of your time doing and how it feels in your hands, but I’m just throwing it out there that a good 6” knife can be a great all purpose kitchen tool.
Ok, thanks Josh. I’ll add a Six inch blade on my list to consider. I’ll see how long my current knife is compared to a six inch one. And in looking at tomato knives, they appear to be serrated. I’ve cut a lot tomato’s usually with a cheap steak knife that is serrated.
I bought the Santoku to meet the need for a shorter knife in my kitchen. To what Josh is saying, if you're planning ahead, thinking through your budget, timeline, and kitchen space and even your own preferences is smart. It may be that a single 6" kitchen works best for you over other choices.
 

DaveF

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Also, watch for a knife holder. I previously had a countertop Kapoosh holder, the ones with the plastic rods. Loved it. But wasn't a good fit for current hosue. My wife found a drawer holder with cork fins that works perfect for me. I wish I could do one of those fancy magnet bars above the countertop, but I don't have the kitchen for it.

IMG_3999.jpeg
(Note, I now have two 8" chef's knives. The handle of the original one was cracking. Probably got damaged by accident in the kitchen sink. So I bought second one. The damaged original remains usable. And I've found having a spare is handy in these cooking-heavy pandemic days.)
 
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DaveF

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I have a somewhat curved blade Santoku.
IMG_4001.jpeg



After living with it for several years, and having seen more recommendations, I'd have to consdier buying a more curved edge Santoku next. This is ATK's "best buy" from two years ago. I think it show's up on the Wirecutter's list as well.
Mac Knife Superior Santoku Knife, 6-1/2-Inch, Silver
Amazon product
And that's much more affordable than ATK's top choice. They loved it. But I'm not sure the straight-ish edge is quite what I want now.
Misono UX10 Santoku 7.0" (18cm) - Right
Amazon product
 
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DaveF

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Ok, thanks Josh. I’ll add a Six inch blade on my list to consider. I’ll see how long my current knife is compared to a six inch one. And in looking at tomato knives, they appear to be serrated. I’ve cut a lot tomato’s usually with a cheap steak knife that is serrated.
If you cut a lot of tomatoes, a tomato knife is worth the money. But if you don't, skip it for now :)

I used it a lot initially, but haven't touched in a few years. I guess I need to eat more tomatoes :)
 

Johnny Angell

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I said fancy, not expensive. You guys keep trying to make this a personal attack on your choices when it’s not. If you enjoy sous vide others choices to not go that route don’t invalidate your tastes...
I didn’t think I was being attacked nor did I think I was attacking you. Disagreeing, yes.
 

Nelson Au

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You guys had me thinking, so I took out the knives I have. As seen in the photo below, the shortest one is a 5 1/2 serrated Henckels. I use that one the most. The one above, another Henckels is a serrated knife I haven’t touched in years. The OXO bread knife I bought 3 years ago for use at work when we had bagels at the weekly staff meeting. Since I bought it, I kept it after we stopped eating bagels. The long one on top I got from my father who gave it to me when I moved. I recently used it for cutting a large cooked ham. I was able to cut thin slices, but a stiffer blade would be nice. I also used it to cut raw steak. It worked OK. I‘d like to try it with a nice smooth blade with a curved edge.

0E50C9A6-CFAB-4482-9BFB-449926529E6C.jpeg

This all started when I watched some cooking tutorials on YouTube and saw the knives being used to slice beef and chicken. I recently made stir fry beef and brocolli. The 5 1/2“ serrated knife is what I used. I was thinking I need a smooth bladed knife as it was tearing the meat a little. As I saw on the YouTube videos, those cooks were slicing the meat much easier and cleaner then I was able to. I used the 5 1/2” knife to slice and dice carrots and celery and zucchini and mushrooms, etc. So I seemed to be doing, strictly by necessity due to the knives I have available, doing most jobs with a short knife as Josh does.

It seems to me, a 6” knife would be my go-to as well. But a 8” chefs knife would be good for slicing meat as well. I could start with those two, add a pairing knife and Santoku later.

Thanks again for the advise.
 
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DaveF

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Yes, you definitely needs a chef's (or santoku) knife.

Serrations are for cutting. But you also need -- primarily need -- a knife edge for chopping and slicing: vegetables, beef, chicken, pork, corn, garlic, herbs, etc. I almost never use a serrated edge in kitchen prep, for things like breads, dough, tomatoes. (Also, you can sharpen at home a knife blade. Serrated, not so much.)

Secondly, after the chef's knife, maybe a non-serrated paring knife. For slicing and cutting and chopping smaller things.
 

Nelson Au

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Ha, ha! Yes Dave, it’s been kind of like trying to do a fine art oil painting with a 3 inch wide paint brush meant for house painting.

I just got a bunch of groceries delivered and spent some time filleting some large chicken breasts. It worked out OK. But I’ll start trying to acquire a few new knives.

And yes, I’m using Safari on an iPad Pro. I guess that’s a double whammy, Safari on a mobile device. I’ll see what I see on the desktop.
 
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Nelson Au

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I hope you’ll indulge me on one more post about knives. youtube suggested this video about which knife to chose and goes over many aspects about a chefs knife. It was very informative and in one section talks about the pros and cons of a 6 inch verse 8 inch blade.

 
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