Thursday, June 9, 2011

Future Adoptee

My kitchen family will be growing soon!

Besides the airbrush kit that will be arriving next week, I've decided to add another not-cheap addition to my Kitchen Entourage.

Meet Nakiri!

Nakiri is a traditional Japanese shaped knife perfect for veggie, herb, fruit and cheese prep. Of course it's a W├╝sthof Classic, which means it's precision forged from a single piece of steel, and full-tang. Besides my Classic set from culinary school, I have only gotten a Santoku to add to my tool set, and it's been my favorite for a long time. In fact, I often suggest it to people asking me for knife picks, and I have only given it as a gift ONCE to someone who really liked to cook, but was in dire need of a proper knife. (It's not a cheap knife! It's an investment in a proper tool.)

People who don't understand kitchen tools don't understand why a really good set of knives will set you back a few hundred dollars. My original chef knife retails for almost $200 by itself. I had a set of five knives to start- chef knife, paring knife, boning knife, serrated knife, and a tornet knife. Cheap knives that you can pick up at your local Bed, Bath & Beyond can be as cheap at $20 for an entire set, and comes with a knife block. You will get a very flimsy knife that will not hold an edge. It will be light, often made of cheap materials and plastic handles. The blade will NOT be full tang, and will probably only be held into the handle by a small jutting piece of metal glued into a notch. These knives dull easily, and do not have a good feel in your hands. These issues will cause slippage and that's where accidents happen. You will get cut. Even a dull knife can do a lot of nerve damage to your fingers. People think that ultra sharp knives are more likely to cause accidents. Not at all. Professional knives have a more balanced feel in your hand and will STAY in your hand because of it. A sharp blade will only slip and cut you if you're not careful, but a sharp knife will make a clean cut that will heal properly. A dull or jagged edge will tear into your skin and muscle and nerves, and you will be left with a very nasty scar, not to mention some irreparable damage to your nerves if it cuts as deep as your bone. I've seen it, and it isn't pretty.

So, my advice as a semi-professional chef; invest in a very good set of knives. Take the time to learn how to use them properly. Take a class at a local culinary supply store like Sur la Table or ask someone who knows to show you. Practice, practice, practice! Take your time and be careful! I've been cutting like a pro with my babies for years, but I still don't whiz through my mise en place. I'm not Speedy Gonazalez at the cutting board. I am very careful. And- I have NOT been to the ER for stitches EVER! If you're not competing on Iron Chef, you don't need to race through your cuts. Set it up right, make precision cuts, and develop a good rhythm. Speed will come naturally after that. 

Again, it's a huge splurge during a time when I'm trying to save money. Do I have other knives? Yes, but I often feel that in order to keep passionate about your craft, you need to constantly be learning. Once I master the feel of this knife, my knowledge and skills will only get better over all.  

I can't wait to welcome her to the fold!

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