This is a German chef’s knife in form and function, but born and bred on American soil.
Lamson is a Massachusetts-based company that has been making knives and tools since around the mid-19th century. They have shifted their focus over the centuries from frontier equipment to kitchen cutlery, and the world of the kitchen knife is the better for it.
Like many Western kitchen knife companies out there, Lamson tends to make their stuff for durability in terms of out-of-the-box performance. This is not to say that the Premiere chef’s knife does not work well. In fact, it holds up quite well to knives made by better known companies in about the same price range. But it is worth noting that if you like thin knives with a really hard bite, this is not the kind of knife for you.
It has an edge that can perform some delicate work with lighter things like herbs and greens, but it is a heavy workhorse. This is a good knife for ham-fisted meat tender, bone-spreading, garlic-eating chefs in the world.
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- Total length: 13.0 ”
- Knife length: 8.0 ”
- Style: western chef
- Handle length: 5.0 ”
- Blade steel: German 1.4116
- Knife sharpening: Flat
- Handle material: Acrylic
- HRC rating: 58 HRC
- Weight: 9.7 oz
- Fills the hand well in full grip
- Good balance
- Strong edge and blade
- Full Tang
- Could be a little sharper
- Full strength
The handle and ergonomics
The size and design of the handle on this knife feels almost perfect to me. It’s wide and the corners are completely rounded so I can squeeze and push on the handle without it biting into my palm. Although made of a very smooth acrylic, it has plenty of surface area to hold in my hand and give my fingers room to find purchases in a knife grip.
Even the weight feels good because they have got the balance point just around the bolster. I did not feel any load in my hand of the weight during moderate use because it is quite easy to hold and maneuver.
I would say this has about an average weight when it comes to German chef knives. It weighs about the same as a Wusthof Ikon, but it has the same balance as the Zwilling Professional S, so the knife lift sits quite comfortably inside your palm in a knife grip. That’s a pretty big difference from Ikon’s hand-heavy feeling.
Also the look
Particularly the distinctive feature of this knife is the color of the handle. Of course, it does not help anything to help the knife’s performance, but the red acrylic is not something you see much in the world of the kitchen knife (or even in the EDC knife world).
Lamson offers this in the classic black or a more rustic walnut handle. Both of these look nice, but they certainly do not look like the Fire Forged version.
While this makes it a pretty nice option if you have a particular color theme for your kitchen decor (or if you just like the color red), it is also a practical thing for people who work professionally in a busy kitchen. It’s a world filled with accidental knife theft because the majority of kitchen knives used in these places are ordinary western or Japanese knives with black handles, so it’s easy to lose track of your favorite knife in someone else’s knife roll.
However, it would be pretty hard to mistake Lamson’s Premiere Fire series for the Victorinox Fibrox Pro. Unless it means that someone else in the kitchen has a red-handled Swiss Classic, but even then the patterns and handle shapes are quite different.
What are the odds that two different chefs have knives with red handles in a professional kitchen? What kind of place do you work at?
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The blade and cutting action
I’ve been going back and forth about whether I like the way the Lamson Premiere cuts. It’s certainly sharp, but the primary sanding is so short, and the secondary sanding feels almost like a convex coming out of the slope, so it does not have a very aggressive bite, but it feels incredibly smooth in the passage once I have got it started.
have to run a little edge length before the edge sinks into most softer foods with a skin, and it’s just as good at cutting super-thin slices as other western knives in a similar price range (i.e. not as good as a decent one). gyuto or santoku knife). But it just feels weird. The blades feel so gentle with this knife that I am not always aware when I have cut all the way through something because the blade splits things so smoothly that I do not feel or hear the kind of pop coming through the skin of an onion f .ex. against the cutting board.
Part of my problem with it comes from having spent so much time with Japanese kitchen knives, which are mostly meant to be used in short cuts. However, the Lamson Premiere does not have that kind of quick fire action. You have to pull the edge a little to get past a tomato skin, but once you are past, this knife feels great.
Food that is good for: Meat and herbs, but less with vegetables
I had mediocre results with my standard salsa test. Premier is not exactly optimized for cutting thin pieces of stuff, so if you make something like pico de gallo, you will probably end up with your tomatoes, onions and peppers on the lumpy side. And while it may cut carrots, celery and onions just fine, it will not make it easy to make fancy or super-fine pieces.
Full honesty though, you can probably get finer dice in dice if you have a more stable hand than me, which is not hard to do.
Surprisingly, this can cut chopping herbs like a master. It consistently made clean cuts on a pile of cilantro, and I actually managed to get onion pieces down to a nice size after I could not dice it to the size I wanted the first time. So you could actually pull a halfway decent chiffon cut with this knife.
The edge also turned out to be pretty nice for both raw and cooked meats. Again, it is not optimized for cutting super-thin slices of anything, but it facilitates in food through a long cut in a way that feels really easy to control.
It is quite easy to separate meat from the bone and divide that meat into manageable slices. Plus. the combination of the edge and the total weight and thickness of this knife makes it a really good tool for working with whole chickens or pork shoulders. It’s only sharp enough to cut tendons, but it’s plentifully strong enough to separate joints and push cartilage without me having to worry about causing much damage to the knife.
However, the edge is too thick
Despite all my talk about the “smooth, cushioned” cutting of this knife, I have to admit at some point that it can probably stand sharper. The factory sharpness gets a lot of work done for me, but there is little room to thin out the edge just a little to make it easier to get through a tomato skin or start the dice lines on an onion.
Granted, these are not exactly the kind of things that a Western chef’s knife is meant to excel at, but they are things that other Western chef’s knives are better at. It’s not exactly fair to compare Lamson to Wusthof given the price difference, but I think the most important thing that prevents Lamson Premier from cutting like Wusthof Icon is some time on a grindstone.
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But the full bolster
And there we run into the second question of full strength, which will make it harder to get a fully sharpened edge. I find myself complaining about full bolsters a lot with kitchen knives, but that’s a slightly bigger issue with the Lamson Premier because there does not appear to be a half strength version.
Usually this is the part where I would say “the full bolster stinks but the knife is good, so just get their half support version”. The closest thing we have to that option with Lamson is their Vintage series. These knives look cool, and anything but nothing in this series is the Premier Fire Forged coke knife.
Comparison and alternatives
The Lamson Premiere coke knife generally shows up for around $ 120, which places it well below the price point of the Zwilling Professional coke knife. I would place both of these knives on roughly the same performance in terms of cutting, but I would recommend Zwilling Pro if you want something a little lighter. It may also cut a little better, but I definitely like the feel of the handle on the Lamson more.
The other option with the same price is the Messermeister Meridian Elite coke knife. It gets a little heavier, but the grinder is thinner and it is heavier against the blade, so it has a more aggressive bite. If you really need to clean the cutting operation, this may be a better option. But again, this knife is on average at least $ 30 higher than Lamson from most suppliers.
Basically what I’m saying here is that there may be other knives in the same style that are a little better, but none of them seem to match the Lamson Premier’s cost-benefit ratio.
I like many things about this knife. The weight, balance and even the look are strangely in line to create something I enjoy using. My only complaints are that it could be a little sharper out of the box (although it is very sharp for being usable) and it has full strength.
If the edge really starts to bother me, the steel is light enough to work with that I could thin it out if I wanted to. Or I could just use Lamson’s lifetime warranty, which they offer with all their knives.
The support is a more frustrating issue as Lamson does not offer a half or an integrated version of their Premier chef’s knife. On the other hand, this is a good knife. It’s a good sign when all the knives I want to compare it to are more expensive, even if it does not exceed the more expensive options.
I would recommend this almost exclusively on the quality of the company alone, but the solid craftsmanship on their knives also helps. It’s a good knife for a busy home cook, and I would go so far as to say that it’s also worth a few professional chefs checking out.
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