Are Professional Chef Knives Different?

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Henckels Boning Knife

Working in a professional kitchen with 20 other chef’s, there are probably 20 different opinions on which brand of chef knives is the best. Out of the 20, there are 20 different sets of knives represented. Each of us has picked up a different set of assorted knives or a set along the way, depending on our needs and the type of work we were doing at the time. For myself, being involved in Garde Manger for many years I have purchased many types of smaller blades to use for cutting smallish items.

Some of the chef’s have complete sets of one brand, while most of us have assembled our tools in a more piecemeal fashion. There is a Henckel’s set, a Shun set and a Global set owned by one or another of the chef’s. My set is indeed piecemeal with all three and more represented in my kit. You would probably be tempted to ask which one was better, however you would get each of us to of course say his was.

The sleek silver handles of the Global set are interesting, they are filled with sand to give a sort of dynamic balance to the knife while you use it. The damascus folds of the Shun set look fantastic and the blades are so hard they hold an edge for a long time but they are a bear to sharpen for that very reason. The Shun serrated slicer is probably the sharpest knife that I have ever used, amazing when you cut with it everything seems like butter. I bought my Henckels a long time ago and was not exposed to the Shun knives until much later, I would probably have purchased the Shun if I had Known about it. My slicer and french style feel comfortable in my hand and I can use them for 8 hours at a stretch without much effort.

If you are trimming meat you would want a high quality boning knife to get the sinew without taking too much of the good product beneath. However, if you have to spend all day “frenching” lamb racks where you are constantly scraping the bone with your blade you will want to find a junkie old boning knife that has been sharpened by a knife service to as point where the blade is only a quarter of an inch wide.

So if you want to know which set is the best… Get the best set available for the job you have to do. If you can afford a few hundred dollars to buy a Shun set then by all means do so you won’t regret it. I love my Henckels and would highly recommend them
and lately have been drooling over the Miyabi line, for the extremely well to do Miyabi makes special order knives that run you about $800 a pop. The professional chef knife is the best knife in the hand of the professional chef getting the job done!

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