Kitchen samurai.... Please fall-in.


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photobum

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#1
Who is a kitchen samurai?


A kitchen samurai is someone who:

  • loves high quality kitchen knives such as those from Hattori, Katsumi, Kai Shun, Global, Kyocera, Wusthof and Henckels, etc.
  • thinks owning good kitchen knives is not only a necessity but an honour of highest caliber.
  • spends a good portion of his or hers hard-earn money on kitchen knives.
  • insists that a good, razor sharp knife is safer than a blunt one.
  • prefers slicing, dicing, paring and chopping than cooking (or both).
  • has the habit of keeping all knives in his or hers kitchen razor sharp.
  • treasures his or hers knives more than their spouse.
  • knows what Rockwell hardness or HRC means (it has got nothing to do with Ken Rockwell or Hard Rock Cafe).
  • can differentiate between a forged and a stamped knife.
  • understands what this lingual means "made of VG10 core cutting edge forged with 63 layered Nickel Damascus stainless steel blade. VG10 is the newly developed High Carbon (0.95 to1.05%) Molybdenum (0.90 to1.20%) and Vanadium (0.10 to 0.30%) stainless steel plus 1.30 to 1.50% Cobalt added. Rockwell hardness 60 to 61 HRC".

Okay... enough said. You must be bored by now.

If you are such a person, please join this thread specially started for you. ;)
 

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sORe-EyEz

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#2
when i got 'axe to grind' i know who to look for! :bsmilie:
 

GavinTing

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Oct 16, 2007
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I scared leh.. I prefer use macdonalds plastic knife :bsmilie:
 

photobum

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About the thread starter.....

Most CSers probably know me as a 'tan chiak' photographer and an audiophile, but there is another side of me that very few people know. I love cooking.... gourmet cooking to be exact; both Western and Asian cuisines. I even took a part-time NITEC certification course in Food Preparation at SHATEC donkey years ago. Currently, I am upgrading my skills in pastry-making at Raffles Culinary Academy.

Being someone who loves cooking so much, having a good set of kitchen tools is vital. Let's put it this way, good kitchen tools is like good camera system. It just makes my life as a cook a breeze and enjoy my passion even more.

When talking about kitchen tools, the first thing that comes to most people's mind is a knife. Although a simple cutting tool, good knives are crucial for good tasting, healthy and nutritious food. Put it in photography's term, it is like using premium gold ring or red ring lenses.

Now... the best part of all. My humble knife collection. Just like the food I cook, I divide my knives into two catagories - Western and Asian.

Asian
  • Three Ram No. 3 chinese cleaver (a popular Chinese brand)
  • Kim Li No. 4 chinese cleaver (a Taiwanese brand)
  • Ryusen Blazen 210mm gyuto
  • Masahiro 165mm deba bocho
  • Kikuichi 270mm yanagiba with saya
  • Kai Shun Classic 165mm santoku
Western

  • Wusthof Classic 200mm wide chef knife
  • J A Henckels Professional S 200mm chef knife
  • J A Henckels Professional S 160mm utility knife
  • J A Henckels Professional S 140mm paring knife
  • Wusthof Classic 70mm peeling knife aka 'bird's beak'
I use Snow River (an American product) end grain cutting board and butcher block to prolong the edges of my knives.

My personal motto as a kitchen samurai is "A sharp knife is a safe knife".
 

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photobum

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By the way, I sharpen all knives myself using graded ceramic whetstones ranging from grit 600 to 10,000.

I sometimes help my friends sharpen their kitchen knives as well.

For those who are interested to learn how to sharpen your own knives can PM me for details.
 

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photobum

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I scared leh.. I prefer use macdonalds plastic knife :bsmilie:
No need to be scared lah... Just like my personal motto says "A sharp knife is a safe knife". :)

You may be surprised to know that most people get more accidental cuts with plastic knives than with steel knives.
 

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sORe-EyEz

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#8
Sorry.... I don't 'run lorry' for others.
i was joking... :sweat:

anyway i am not on your level, but the kitchen knives at home are sharpened with a 2-stage angled industrial diamond sharpener. i dun have very costly knives at home. just those $10 types... :sweatsm:
 

Mar 5, 2006
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#9
Having good knives in a commercial kitchen is a waste unless it is kept lock and safe. After work, someone, somehow will get hold of your knife to chop sugarcane!

Trust me, it happens all the time. LOL

So, as asian chef, it may be better to learn to slice with an ordinary brand knife, just sharpen it right before it cuts.

But for high dollar fine dining dishes, well, its a different story.

Interesting thread indeed.
 

seanlim

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Oct 28, 2005
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#10
me me me!!

haha 17 and am in lovee with cooking. i go gaga over the equipment especially pans and knives.

I currently own 3 global knives :D

P.S But i don't know what's HRC though :/
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#12
I like knives, just that I dun have the disposable income to splurge on them yet... :sweat:
 

lennyl

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Mar 27, 2008
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#13
thinks owning good kitchen knives is not a necessity but an honour of highest caliber.
I'm pretty sure I don't classify as a kitchen samurai by your standards. Maybe a foot soldier? :) But regarding the quoted statement - shouldn't it be "...is not only a necessity but an honour..."?

If you have any good tips on sharpening knives can you post here? I think it'll be of interest to many of us. I sharpen my own knives with an oilstone, but I think both the equipment and technique can use some refining. I've always wanted to record the sound of the sharpening process and play it in office when it is really quiet - should creep out anyone alone in the office :)
 

photobum

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#15
I like good kitchen knives n hopefully i can go on a shopping spree at sia huat one day. ;)
Both Sia Huat and Lau Choy Seng at Pagoda Street are known for selling commercial-grade kitchen knives. Most of such knives are crude, poorly-made and uses lower quality steel blade.

For good 'high-end' kitchen knives, I suggest visiting Razorsharp on the 1st floor of Tan Boon Liat Building at Outram Road. You can drop-by Cathay Photo on the 5th floor after that. ;)

But regarding the quoted statement - shouldn't it be "...is not only a necessity but an honour..."?

If you have any good tips on sharpening knives can you post here? I think it'll be of interest to many of us. I sharpen my own knives with an oilstone, but I think both the equipment and technique can use some refining. I've always wanted to record the sound of the sharpening process and play it in office when it is really quiet - should creep out anyone alone in the office :)
Yes, the word 'only' is missing. Thanks for pointing this out. I will make the necessary amendment.

Sharpening knife is an art by itself. Improper technique not only damage your knives but will cause serious injury also. There are many knife sharpening techniques featured on YouTube, but none of them is correct in my opinion. Personally, I use the Japanese knife sharpening method which not only sharpen my knives, but polishes it as well. Its cutting edge will lasts longer also. I use graded ceramic whetstones to sharpen all my knives: they are grit 600, 1000, 3000, 5000, 6000 and 10,000.

Oilstones are good to a certain extend but cannot polish the cutting edge as most of them are too coarse. You cannot get the 'slicing through thin air' feel.

i was joking... :sweat:

anyway i am not on your level, but the kitchen knives at home are sharpened with a 2-stage angled industrial diamond sharpener. i dun have very costly knives at home. just those $10 types... :sweatsm:
Industrial sharpener, especially those grinding wheel type, will cause more harm than good to your knives. Reason being a grinding wheel rotating at high-speed when comes into contact with the knife's edge produces tremendous friction. Strong friction produces high heat. High heat causes an expansion in the steel blade thus altering its molecular structure; weakening the blade. A knife sharpen with a grinding wheel will never last as long as one sharpen with whetstones.

I like knives, just that I dun have the disposable income to splurge on them yet
You can start with a JA Henckels Four-Star chef knife. Its price is easy on your pocket, has good handling ergonomic and balance, and uses high-quality ice-forged steel blade. My Four-Star chef knife lasted me 15 years before I switched to a Professional S.
 

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photobum

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Having good knives in a commercial kitchen is a waste unless it is kept lock and safe. After work, someone, somehow will get hold of your knife to chop sugarcane!

Trust me, it happens all the time. LOL

So, as asian chef, it may be better to learn to slice with an ordinary brand knife, just sharpen it right before it cuts.

But for high dollar fine dining dishes, well, its a different story.

Interesting thread indeed.
I don't use very expensive knives when I step into a commercial kitchen. Whenever I go for my courses, I will bring along my JA Henckel Four-Star knife set which costs about $400 for 5 blades. A good kitchen knife can easily cost more than $400 each.

A bread knife is used only for slicing. Asian cooking, especially Chinese cooking, utilizes mainly chopping, dicing and mincing which are difficult to perform with such knife. Furthermore, due to its elongated blade, chopping and dicing with a bread knife requires more effort. Using an improper kitchen knife can cause serious injury.
 

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photobum

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#17
I currently own 3 global knives :D

P.S But i don't know what's HRC though :/
It is what happened when KRW gets an erection. ;)

Jokes aside. Global knives are great for beginners who want to stay away from German knives. However, the handle of most Global knives can get quite slippery with wet or oily hands, so be very careful when you use them.

For your information, Global knives are more difficult to sharpen due to presence of miniature air-bubbles inside the blade (air is intentional introduced during its manufacturing process).
 

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Dream Merchant

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Jan 11, 2007
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#18
Personally, I've found the German Henckles and the WMF range to be the best value in terms of longevity and quality. Others may disagree, but the new-fangled 'high-tech' technologies and designs do not cut it for me. The exception being Kyocera's ceramic blades ... but still, the novelty wears off after awhile.

However, a long time ago, someone inside the trade told me that they have two distinct series not openly made known to consumers; one of the higher grade steels, and one lower, the difference being denoted by the 'man' logo. Unfortunately, I can't recall the details.
 

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photobum

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Personally, I've found the German Henckles and the WMF range to be the best value in terms of longevity and quality. Others may disagree, but the new-fangled 'high-tech' technologies and designs do not cut it for me. The exception being Kyocera's ceramic blades ... but still, the novelty wears off after awhile.

However, a long time ago, someone inside the trade told me that they have two distinct series not openly made known to consumers; one of the higher grade steels, and one lower, the difference being denoted by the 'man' logo. Unfortunately, I can't recall the details.
You are absolutely right about German knives. They are ideal for daily use and can take the abuse of a commercial kitchen very well. In fact, most culinary schools uses German knives with JA Henckels and Wusthof being the most popular.

Kyocera Ceramic knives are great when they are new, but once you have used it for a while, it loses its edge. Keep in mind that only a diamond grinding wheel can sharpen ceramic knives. Therefore, you definitely have to send your knives to a professional sharpening service which have a diamond grinding wheel. So far, there are only two such sharpening services in Singapore that uses diamond grinding wheel. Even so, due to brittleness of ceramic, the blade will break if not handled carefully.

The 'one man' Henckels, nicknamed China Henckels, is manufactured under license in Shanghai, China. Besides the 'one man' logo, underneath it says 'J.A. Henckels International'. The logo looks like this:

[illustration: JA Henckels]

This is Henckels value series. It uses mainly carbon steel which has a higher carbon and molybdenum content. The blade is semi-forged, meaning, it is first stamped from a carbon steel blank and then forged into a blade under high heat, thus reducing energy, manpower and material costs.

For your convenience, here is a quick definition of what forged and stamped knives mean:

Forged:
Forged knives undergo a treatment process to enhance the flexibility, density, and hardness of the knife. Forged knives tend to be heavier than stamped knives but are much better balanced. Forged knives are hand made through a process of extreme heat and hand moulding. Each knife is carefully and hand crafted with extreme detail. The tang of the knife merges into the handle and is typically secured by three rivets.

Stamped:
Stamped knives are made from templated cutters that cut the shape of the knives into flat metal. Stamped knives are lighter but don't have the same quality and balance as the forged knives do. Due to the lack of density, the stamped knives don't hold edges as well as the forged knives. Stamped knives are usually less expensive.
 

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leekch

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Dec 14, 2006
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#20
This is interesting.....Surprisingly, I am one who does most of the above with kitchen knives.
 

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