Published on November 16th, 2008 | by Greg0
Slice of Life: In the Kitchen with TrulyObscure
Knives are a complicated business these days. You have to choose between boning, filleting, bread, carving, paring, and a dozen other types. Then, you need to worry about materials- Damascus steel, regular stainless steel, ceramic?
Well, worry less. We've got you covered, as we've been working with these knives for some time now, and have checked out several brands and types.
The sexiest blade has to be the Kai Shun Ken Onion DM0500 8-inch Chef's Knife. Ok, maybe the name isn't sexy, but the blade itself is drop-dead gorgeous. It comes with a stand so that you can properly show the Damascus-style Kasumi method steel off, and has a really interesting ergonomic ambidextrous handle- basically it just feels nice and balanced in either hand.
Best of all, it handles anything you throw at it, and stays sharp. We tried a wide variety of fruits, veggies, meats, and also some things that you shouldn't try at home to test our blades, and this knife sliced through most anything easily. The sweep of the blade makes it simple to naturally chop or dice foods, and it also cleaned easily and stayed fingerprint-free. Of course, there is a price to pay for a knife this nice- around $250- but if you want only one knife, this Ken Onion blade from Kai Shun is the one. A chef's knife is probably the best all-around blade, and though they come in a variety of sizes, the 8-inch is optimal for most cutting
surfaces and jobs.
Next we tried a Phoenix 9 in Stone from New West Knife Works. Like the previous knife it too has an amazingly sexy Damascus steel hollow blade. The Phoenix knives have Nobel-Lite handles, which are indestructible. We don't like abusing such pretty kitchen equipment, but when someone says indestructible they'd better be able to back it up. So, after several weeks of inhumane treatment, we would agree, that it is indeed indestructible. Coupled with a very sharp blade this company has created a very nice knife! New West also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, as well as reasonable replacement options. We received ours with a very nice leather sheath to protect the blade (and our fingers!). The Phoenix 9 costs $199, and is a fantastic knife for the money. Check out their Fusionwood knives for a near work-of-art alternative to the Phoenix.
Ergo Chef has spent several years designing a knife that is as ergonomic as possible. The result is a slightly funny looking but quite comfortable knife. We tried out the 8" Pro Series Chef knife with a hollow ground edge. This knife is made of high-carbon stainless steel and has a seamless POM molded handle, which helps with both durability and bacteria control. This knife has a very wide blade and a handle that angles ever so slightly down. There is a bit of a learning curve with this knife. The shape lends itself to heavy chopping and fine mincing, but more detailed work like coring an apple is a bit unwieldy. At the reasonable price of only $88 it would be very easy to add a paring knife to do the apple paring. Ergo Chef also makes universal edge guards in really bright colors.
Last, but not least, is the Wusthof 8" Classic Cook's Knife. This is the one most people will be most familiar with, as they have been around for as long as we've been old enough to cook on our own, and can be found in any major department store or Target. These knives are balanced, have a full tang and single German steel forging. This knife can be used for nearly any job in your kitchen (no bones with any of the knives we've talked about), and will last for years with proper care. The Wusthof 8" Classic Cook's Knife costs $120.
A good knife is essential to a smoothly running kitchen- or just to make cooking easier and more fun. We hope we've made choosing the right one for you a little simpler!