CHEF DAVID'S CHOICES
Often times customers and chefs want to know which knives The Knife Merchant personally uses. Here's a list of some of Chef David's favorite knives.
When I first saw a Glestain knife I was concerned that the scallops were a gimmick and that it was overpriced. I prefer a heavier knife and the Glestain 240mm gyuto has just the right balance for me, slightly blade heavy with a bit of heft. The bolster tapers nicely and is a very comfortable grip. The factory edge is decent, but after sharpening on a 3000 grit stone, it is outstanding. Softer steel than most Japanese blades, but extremely functional. Because of the scallops, I no longer have to hold potato slices with my index finger as I retract the knife. Quick slicing cucumbers and zucchini leaves the slices right there on the cutting board instead of rolling all over the place. For my basic prep work, this is the one knife that I never want to be without. The time saving is well worth the money to me.
When it comes to close hand work, with delicate cuts like a brunoise, I like a thin light knife with a razorís edge. The Kikuichi molybdenum steel gets extremely sharp and is very easy to re-sharpen. Comfortable grip and effortless slicing makes this my top choice for showcasing precision knife work.
Knuckle clearance can be important on a bread knife and an offset handle feels very awkward to me. I know that Chef Bourdain recommends an offset serrated, but it doesnít work for me. The Wusthof Panini knife alleviates this problem. The handle is placed high on a wide serrated knife and the half moon scallops extend outward from the blade instead of being cut into it. This means that you are cutting on knife edges instead of the pointed teeth in between the scallops. Can be used on meats without shredding the protein, excellent for melons, sandwiches and a great tool for the service line.
Believe it or not, I like the Mercer Genesis semi-flex boning knife. You donít need to spend a lot of money to get a great knife and this is a perfect example. The German steel is high carbon molybdenum vanadium, but I love the santoprene handle. The soft grip means that the knife never slides in my hand when going through tough skin, or filleting fish and rays which can be quite slippery. Really holds an edge remarkably well and that is important to me. I find a flexible boning knife particularly difficult to hand sharpen, so I want one that is going to hold that edge and touch up easily with a honing rod.
If youíve seen the video of the Masahiro butcher knife in action at the Tokyo fish markets, then you know why I love this knife. Can be used for red meats as you would any scimitar, but really knocks down whole salt water fish as no other knife that Iíve ever used. For delicate or cartilaginous species like salmon or sturgeon, I will choose something with more flex. But for the vast majority of salt water fish, this knife makes perfect fillets with a minimum number of knife strokes.
For sashimi, slicing chops, slicing and fanning out your cooked meats, I like the Suncraft Fusion. Messermeister imports these and I like the traditional Japanese handle shape that is made of indestructible micarta. I would have likely overlooked this knife had it not been brought to my attention by master sharpener Charles Robertson. Heís seen and sharpened more knives than anyone I know, so when he recommended this steel, I had to take a look and I agree. It sharpens amazingly well and really holds an edge for a long time. Thin with just a bit of flex.
The ďDick 2000" is always a top choice. Because itís flat, there is a large amount of edge to steel contact, so it is easy to see if you have the knife bevel laid flat against the steel. Suitable for German or Japanese knives. When you look at these under magnification, you will notice that the shoulders of each of the grooves are nicely squared off and it is very consistently smooth. There is a particular sound that a knife makes when drawn across a good quality steel with no dings or flaws, and these are outstanding.