Hard wearing, everyday Stainless Steel kitchen knives - a great way to get into the feel and balance of Japanese knives, but with the familiarity of a western handle, and without the necessary discipline - they’ll survive the odd outing in the dishwasher, but do try not to drop them. The DSR-1K6 stainless steel is rust proof, and sharpens quickly and easily - use the Combination Stone every few weeks or so.
Petty: peeling and paring, a bit smaller
Gyuto: chef’s knife, longer
When choosing a Japanese kitchen knife here’s a few things to consider:
Which Knife type?
- All-Rounder: the Gyuto or Santoku - the standard domestic knife in Japan. Get one of these if you’re starting out. Technically, the Santoku has a broader blade, while the Gyuto is more slender, and based on a western chef’s knife
- Veg Knife: Nakiri - good for meat as well.
- Small Knife: Petty
- 360 x 45 x 17mm
- 210mm blades
- 1K-6 Steel
- Plywood handles
- Made in Sanjo, Japan
For better or worse, Western knives are often seen as general purpose kitchen tools, used for cutting, prizing, levering and all sorts of other jobs around the kitchen (and sometimes beyond). Japanese knives should not be viewed this way and it may require a change of mindset to get the best out of your knife and ensure it delivers many years of service. Cared for correctly, this ought to be the case: the quality of the craftsmanship and the ease with which they can be kept incredibly sharp are two of the main reasons to make the switch to Japanese carbon steel, but that comes at a price: the steel is more brittle than you may be used to and they are not for the heavy-handed or the careless. They are unforgiving tools and you may not get an opportunity to make the same mistake twice.
A good rule of thumb is to show them the same respect you show your poshest wine glasses, but here are some other pointers.
Commons mistakes to avoid:
- Leaving wooden handled knives to soak in water.
- Washing knives in the dishwasher.
- Not storing them carefully: store them individually, not jumbled up with other cutlery.
- Cutting into bone. If you’re not sure whether there’s bone, or you know there to be bone present, go very slowly and carefully, or consider using a different knife.
- Trying to cut frozen foods.
- Cutting down too hard on to the wrong sort of surface, for example kitchen worktops.
Don’t be put off. They are great to use and easy to care for. To get the best from your knives: