Last updated 20.11.21 – That is a logical question, is it not? If you shop in the sea of kitchen knives, you are trying to figure out what the best chef knives might just be. What do the professionals use? Would Bobby use a Shun chef’s knife?
God knows, when I was a kid forever, and I first started playing the guitar, I was fully aware that Jimi Hendrix was playing Fenders, and Jimmy Page was playing Les Pauls. Did I own either? Nix.
The same with chef’s knives. While you may get knife ideas from professionals, and their suggestions might open doors to kitchen knife judgment you did not know existed, you should not feel obligated to follow in their footsteps. A high-end Japanese gyoto hand hammer made of carbon steel may not be as comfortable in the hand and certainly not as easy to maintain as a reliable factory-made Wusthof Classic from Germany. What’s good for a chef may not be good for you.
Bobby and Shun Knives
Shun is actually the brand of chef’s knife you most often hear associated with Bobby Flay. It all seems to stem from a post on thekitchn.com with the title The chef’s favorite knives which reads as follows:
“In his highest gear, Williams chooses Sonoma, the famous chef [Bobby Flay] recommended Shun Classic Western, which is handmade in Japan. “I pretty much use a chef’s knife for everything, and Shun is one of my very favorite brands.”
There you have it. And Shun makes first-class knives. But the funny thing is that there is an older quote from Flay that in a way undermines the above recommendation from William Sonoma. In an interview with Men’s health magazine many years earlier, Bobby says:
“I probably use my chef’s knives more than any other tool in the kitchen. I’m not married to a particular brand because they all work, they all have sharp blades. My Shun cost about $ 100. You do not have to spend a lot of money unless you make a lot of sushi. ”
Whaaaa? So what is it Bobby? Is your Shun the cat’s meow. . .or is it just one of many suitable solutions? Your fans want to know!
The answer to this riddle points to some truism about chefs and exactly what they expect from their kitchen knife mates – and confirms my personal experience of working in restaurants and inhabiting the kitchen knife universe.
Best chef’s knives for chefs
What chefs care about most is:
1) a razor-sharp knife that can a) be sharpened to a super fine edge, and b) will hold that edge as long as possible
2) a knife that is comfortable in their grip, which a) feels like an extension of their hand, and b) will not inflict on them stress or effort from performing similar kitchen tasks over and over for long periods of time.
Now, of course, your average home cook does not need their chef’s knife to perform as well as a professional chef. They do not cut up perfect rectangles of raw fish in front of a crowd. And they do not cut piles of zucchini up to juliennes for hours and hours a day. Blistering sharpness and proper ergonomics are not so crucial.
Nevertheless, a home cook still has the right to enjoy a quality knife that will make their kitchen life easier and more fun. And the good news is that there is a battalion of chefs’ knives out there that will fit this bill – but there are at least four or five times as many do not want to. That’s exactly why I researched and wrote the article, Best chef’s knives – six recommendations, to help guide kitchen knife beginners (who have included some young chefs) to fruitful reasons for shopping.
Interestingly, my curated list of six includes some of the same chef’s knives that famous chefs recommend. For example: Gordon Ramsey (you heard about him, didn’t you?) Allegedly swears by Wusthof and Henckels (the pillars of Germany); Eric Ripirt (from Le Bernardin, NYC, a world-renowned foodie mecca) gets excited about his MAC chef’s knife; and the late Anthony Bourdain did not hesitate to promote Global Knives. All these three brands are included in min Best chef’s knives. . . revaluation.
Let me bring things back to Bobby’s favorite and give my two cents worth on the Shun chef’s knife I own and love – Shun Classic (Photo below: Shun Classic 8-inch chef’s knife).
What I like:
– Nice, meaty handle – even though I do not have big hands, I enjoy the grip.
– Long, broad leaf. Perfect for large tasks such as chopping spring onions and halving a watermelon.
– Sharp out of the box. In addition, the hard Japanese steel remains sharp – with a little help from my ceramic grinding.
– Easy on the eyes. Beautiful Damascus patterned leaf and Pakkawood handles are fun to show off when you are on the island cutting vegetables up for your guests.
Who knows, maybe the above is also what knocks Bobby Fly’s socks off? But no matter what, you should give the Shun Classic chef’s knife a try for yourself.
KitchenKnifeGuru.com. . .have fun in the kitchen!
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