If you had only one knife to bring to work

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:52 am

Having my last bit of yogurt before I start a long day at the catering kitchen. I have a pair of Carter Hopkins knives, my line knife, and a shun blue steel garatsuki (I'm doing ducks again today - I brought it with me on a whim - probably my biggest day ever in a kitchen, and sitting here I wonder if I would have been better served bringing a different hinosuki or such). I'm about to start a day where I am more on my own than ever in a volume kitchen - Rick told me I will be on a dinner for Michigan State alum waiting for the Final Four. I am doing veg prep early (onions, cauliflower, carrots sliced in several ways, avocados, and tomatoes are my duty after I get a few dozen ducks into some duck fat for confit.
I am told I will also be cooking scallops late this afternoon when the kitchen moves to the serving site, and this has me a bit nervous. Cooking scallops for two to 10 has never bothered me, but I need to get scallops for nearly 80 ready to go at the same time. Rick tells me I will do fine and to just set up 8 pans at the same time - I will have a 12 burner stove and will have Josh looking over my shoulder to ensure I don't screw up.
I should have a nice chance to test the pass around Carter differentially hardened knive versus my 52100 patina blade from him today. I feel like I am going to be tested as hard as I ever have been in the kitchen - I will be out with josh and 2 others for getting plates ready for a large dinner. I'm looking forward to this and the line should be about as fast as anything I have ever seen. I was just handed 9 spoons for plating and am about to start on some duck - wish me luck - going in

acaptainn
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by acaptainn » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:12 pm

Ive really enjoyed following this thread. Thanks for posting it and your experiences!

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STPepper9
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by STPepper9 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:32 am

I've finally been able to read this thread and I have a lot of respect for what you're doing isboogy.
It's really interesting to see the progression of your experience and glad you didn't get swayed by the skeptical coworkers you mentioned.

nakneker
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by nakneker » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:25 pm

I agree with STpepper, it’s pretty cool do follow a dream, I’m glad your sharing the experience.
“The goal is to die with memories, not dreams.”

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Drewski
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by Drewski » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:55 pm

I agree. I don't comment in here but I love reading about the adventure.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:58 pm

Yes, this is kind of schooling for a dream. I'm learning about how to do things for show and for large numbers, and my skills are staring to improve.

I got a kudo from the head chef yesterday that I had never really thought about previously - my cuts are becoming even in size as I get better technique - I asked Rick why he thought I had done such a good thing yesterday and he pointed out the most of the line folk cut pretty even slices and pieces, but mine were very uniform yesterday and that really helps when cooking them - they all tun out the same at the same time. And when doing food for hundreds at a time, this is important. Ive always done a pretty good job at uniform sized pieces, but I just had a great day using a pass around knife that seems well tuned for high volume kitchens. It finally sunk in what a difference a knife that is sturdy versus just a great cutting tool - the CHII blade I used for most of the prep went where I aimed it and did not move off path - no product could steer it wrong (my line knife wanders just a little) - I am finding out why so many chefs use medium weight blades - and what a laser really is. The knife I used was not the lightest thing (pretty darned light, but not a 5oz 240) and went straight every time. It was comfortable through long prep, held an edge, and was just plain a beast like thing. If I was to pick a blade for use at home, my ultimatum (thinned and relieved so it has no more sharp edges except the cutting on) would be my choice, but in a volume environment, I am starting to learn why so many love Konosuke Fuji blades and maybe Carter Hopkins will become the Carolina version - the knife goes where you aim it.

I think I will be much better able to handle large groups after I do this for a few years - I am gaining a great respect for real chefs and line cooks doing this. I was saucing plates for a good bit yesterday - sauce bottles and spoons are great tools and I am getting much better at it. There are many things that don't occur to the home cook when you need to get 53 duck confit plates ready at the same time. But I am starting to learn what need to get set up and when.

I am doing Easter at a large mission with a bunch of other home cooks and 2 chefs (know both of them), and I think it will be fun to show off some of my new skills there. I'm going to bring my CHII 52100 blade and a Richmond addict for that. A great home knife is not the same as a prep knife in a pro kitchen.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:30 am

I had one great day yesterday in the kitchen. Rick (chef) was at a wedding and we had two small (28 and 38 person) dinners. I brought the CHII W2 240 blade, a deba, my 270 Kohetsu (thank you for the wonderful handle Bensbites - it made it a more controllable knife) and my line knife. I got to do some red snapper with the deba and I was again slicing zucchini at 2mm, along with a half box of onions and a half box of carrots (julienned them). I think I am beginning to understand a different perspective on knives - what I call "steerability" or the thing just goes where you point it. A deba is a great knife for fish as they just go where the edge tells them to go - but a double edge gyuto requires skill and something else to make it just "go there" - I'll give more feedback as I learn more, but this is the first time I have used a knife that inspired confidence In me (outside of my old heavy Sabatier jobs) as to where a cut will go in product - and when cooking in a pro kitchen for large groups this probably matters as much as anything
Slicing the zucchini I have noticed a distinct difference in my perceived abilities to get uniform slices with different knives - not a hard veg, but has a transition between skin and core that makes many knives wander a bit. I tried my line knife on a few and the results were what I used to think was good. The CHII blade just plain made slices uniform (no wedge, no wander) and made me feel like I knew what I was doing.
I got to cook veg dishes yesterday, and then got plates ready with bottles and spoons for saucing. I am beginning to understand why uniform cuts make for a better presentation - thank you Carter for the lend of the knife. I like my 52100 model a bit more (maybe just familiarity) but this thing has shown my why many like middle weight knives - it's a lightweight that performs like a middleweight - carrots all come out the same, and zucchini slices are uniform - making it easy to cook several large pans at the same time with near uniform results.
I had a gas yesterday and hope whomever gets the knife next has as much fun as I did

Ut_ron
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by Ut_ron » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:09 pm

Looking forward to using it. Won’t get the same workout as I am a home cook for 5 - 20 depends on whether it’s Sunday or another night.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:58 pm

Long day today. One of the sous called in sick, and another failed to show so we only had 4 plus Rick at the kitchen today. I did about as much prep as I have E over done becuase I was alone on the veg line. Did ultra thin (1mm) zucchini and carrots, and julienned onions with my CHII 52100 and the pulled out my ultimatum for a dozen salmon. I'm beginning to understand about uniformity of cuts - even a 10% non-uniform cut means there will be over and under cooked pieces in sauted veg dishes. And I am really hooked on my steerability theory right now. I'm getting quite good at uniform slices (IMHO) and am being asked to do more than just the scut work now - I got to make risotto today by myself (kind of - Rick wanted to make sureI had the rice completely clear before adding anything else) - but I made two pots simultaneous, as I was serving it to 135 and 77 at two venues. Stirring with both arms makes me tired, but I got it done.
I think the idea of a steerable knife is really starting to set in - I did some cooking this week at home, and found that a couple of knives (a masamoto KS for instance) did very well, but an aging yoshimuni carbon steel knife did not produce the same results. Maybe it's the sharpening, but I am now aware of the ability of a knife to go where directed - my matsubara 210 is another fantastic driver, but the old Sabatiers wander in hard veg.
Maybe I am used to the Ultimatum (still my everyday driver) but I like my 52100 CHII knife a lot more than I thought - it goes where you aim it better than my Kikuichi stuff, and I proud pace more even slices with some of my knives than others.
I'm about dead right now - 14 hours with only short breaks, and am going to bed in a minute. I wonder if any of the seasoned pro chefs also look for steerability in their knives - I find some of my best cutting knives may not be the best thing for the goal of uniform slices in a volume environment - but rather what drives where you aim it.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sat May 04, 2019 1:16 pm

On break - beautiful spring day. Got to the kitchen about 10 today, we are missing 2 cooks so I got handed more work than I was expecting. Large crowds tonight (245 off site, 54 here) - learned I was plating here tonight as the person who does sous for Rick is missing today. I feel honored and will see how I handle things with no direction tonight.
I did my mandatory veg prep (onions, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, kohlrabi,carrots) and then got to make use of my CHII 52200 on some veal cutlets - what a dream - thing goes through soft proteins perfectly - took the delivered product and sliced it in half (and them pounded it to paper thin). That is one hell of a hard move, but I seem to have done it well. I'm still enthused about "steerability" with knives at present - did not try the Kikuichi or Ultimatum in my roll for this, but I will do some cutlets at home this week to check knives. The CHII made short work of the cutlets, and I got a "nice job" comment from a couple of the real cooks here.
In an hour or so (I got done with my stuff early, so I get an hour for lunch - learning to fill those bins quick with stuff - fridge is full and I did veg for 300 along with 65 cutlets - I'm learning about getting things done quick in a pro environment), and my appreciation for knives with rounded edges is growing. I'm going back to to piles of trout (serving 155 of them - vendor sends them whole from a pond - lived in Montana and can clean them in seconds - they were live at 10 this morning, scooped out of a pond and tossed on ice - should arrive at 1:45 today) and some herb work, along with a pile of plating late afternoon. Real Chefs have a tough job - my respect grows for them, and my respect for knives made for pro environments grows as well. My ultimatum (thinned with rounded edges - thanks Chris ) is still a go to for hours of work, but the CHII blade is rapidly taking a place in my roll. 3 hour prep sessions are very different from the 20-30 minute ones when cooking for 30. I'm going to send Chris a couple more knives in the next few weeks - summer is a lull in the catering biz (June is still large graduation parties), but late October to mid January is the busy time for Rick. I have too many knives, but some of mine seem well suited to pro environment use more than others - got to learn the difference - home cooks do short perp sessions so balance and rounded edges are not the chief concern - and in a pro environment these are penultimate - edge retention can be made up with a strop, but my hands feel a knife with little relief for a long time

nakneker
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by nakneker » Sun May 05, 2019 8:39 am

I enjoy reading your posts Isboogy. Fun to watch you deal with what sounds like a very fast paced environment. Keep them coming.
“The goal is to die with memories, not dreams.”

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sun May 05, 2019 2:33 pm

nakneker wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 8:39 am
I enjoy reading your posts Isboogy. Fun to watch you deal with what sounds like a very fast paced environment. Keep them coming.
The difference between a pro environment and a home kitchen is big. I never thought about the volume of prep work until I started working in Rick's kitchen. I measure stuff in boxes rather than items for the most part when there - and knives are used in a different way in a pro environment than a home one - you need a knife with a great edge that lasts, and I'm finding that what I call "steerability" to be important - I took my Masamotos in, and they are great knives, but I can do a better job with my Ultimatum - personal, but I have great confidence with a few of my blades now. I think it's personal, how a knife cuts, so don't take my opinions as such, rather find what is right for you.

If I had only a short list of knives, I would pick a couple of Richmonds (ultimatum after thinning, and a Kurosaki Honesuki) for prep, and a GT line knife. Mark really knows what a pro line needs - home cooks are different than line folk - the volume of product is insane on a pro line. I'm moving my CHII 52100 bade in the rotation - best hard veg knife I've ever used - I love the challenge of a pro environment - everyone should go try it if you have the chance - kind off like cooking for 100 relatives with 20 minutes notice

I don't get paid money, but am having an education that is unlike anything available to most. If you want to learn to cook for masses, find a chef and ask to do what I am doing. The 24 person Christmas Eve dinner will look easy - nothing like a pro environment to learn in. I'm blessed to get the chance

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sat May 18, 2019 10:15 pm

Another day where we we short staffed and I spent most of the day with a knife in my hand. I brought my line knife, and a couple 240 gyutos (Ultimatum and a Konsuke HD2) - alone with a petty that one of the other cooks gave me this morning. It's a nice little Fujisawa carbon blade (I have to give it to someone else when I get a new petty - his rules, he was given it a while ago and got a new Kono petty) that I used extensively on broccoli and cauliflower this morning. I did the onions and carrots with the ultimatum and kono - and even though the profile is not what I am used to, I am gaining an appreciation for Konosuke knives. It feels like I am playing when I use the thing
I did a bunch orpf red snappers for one dinner site, and then did the chickens for another. I got a lesson from one of the other cooks in skinning fish today - instead of tying to start right at the tail, go to a few inches in fron and slide the knife under the skin and then cut back to the tail - grab the skin under the tail with a cloth and the whole thing just comes apart if you pull the skin instead of using the knife. Did the chickens with a garatsuki (Slightly longer and slimmer version of a honesuki ) - boned the thighs and did airline breasts.
Using a petty on veg turns out to be a nice change - not as easy to get the stems cut off, but probably quicker in getting the flowerettes off. I did a couple of carrots with the petty, but shifted back to the bigger knives quickly - just not enough blade so my hand was coming up to far doing diagonals (I rock for diagonals still - most of the other cooks do the straight on push cut - I have more variance in thickness with my push cuts on carrots, so I still rock - maybe I need to practice a bit more). As we move into summer, the menus will get lighter and more thin cutting of veg will come to play - I'm already going to get a couple large bags of carrots and do some juliennes this week. I guess this is common, I do the same at home, but as you get into thinner prices, you no longer cut them early in the day, but after th proteins (they live on ice well for several hours - veg thin cut dries out).
I'm shot from my day, but I'm not a server or a cleaner, so I get to go home after dinner is served.

dam0w
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by dam0w » Wed May 29, 2019 11:44 pm

My 170mm Kohetsu bunka :D atleast at my current jobs, I can finish all my tasks with that blade, such a great workhorse
always follow your nose

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Drewski
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by Drewski » Thu May 30, 2019 2:22 pm

dam0w wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:44 pm
My 170mm Kohetsu bunka :D atleast at my current jobs, I can finish all my tasks with that blade, such a great workhorse
AS wa or yo? HAP40 wa or yo? SLD? Nashiji B2? VG-10 Damascus? Shinano B2? So many Kohetsus bunkas...

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Thu May 30, 2019 9:50 pm

For what product? And how much? Two boxes of onions sliced fine are different than a bag diced. Gotta take into account what a knife is used for.

dam0w
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by dam0w » Thu May 30, 2019 10:00 pm

Drewski wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 2:22 pm
dam0w wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:44 pm
My 170mm Kohetsu bunka :D atleast at my current jobs, I can finish all my tasks with that blade, such a great workhorse
AS wa or yo? HAP40 wa or yo? SLD? Nashiji B2? VG-10 Damascus? Shinano B2? So many Kohetsus bunkas...
The AS Wa
always follow your nose

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Fri May 31, 2019 1:10 pm

I'm still looking for a petty, but for the most part I am moving into larger blades. I might change my Xmas blade to a 270 Carter Hopkins instead of a 240. I've seen chefs who use 210's as a basic knife, but I'm a cook in a high volume environment at my second job. I get stuck doing veg prep (love doing it, so stuck may not be the right word) - and am learning to love longer blades that go where they are pointed - it's not something that is covered here much. My Carter drives through carrots and hard veg perfectly - most lasers wander

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joanjet
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by joanjet » Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:30 pm

lsboogy wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:10 pm
I'm still looking for a petty, but for the most part I am moving into larger blades. I might change my Xmas blade to a 270 Carter Hopkins instead of a 240. I've seen chefs who use 210's as a basic knife, but I'm a cook in a high volume environment at my second job. I get stuck doing veg prep (love doing it, so stuck may not be the right word) - and am learning to love longer blades that go where they are pointed - it's not something that is covered here much. My Carter drives through carrots and hard veg perfectly - most lasers wander
If you want a good combination of control, sharpness, and toothiness, consider checking out the gengetsu line on japanese knife imports. It makes for good very tip work and the profile makes it usable in certain applications where my Takeda doesn't work as well.

Although they only get up to 240mm, I never found many tasks where I needed the extra length.

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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by jmcnelly85 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:52 am

Mid-level stainless beater petty knives seem more common in restaurants than high end petty knives. I use an old aebl artifex and have probably seen more Mac utility knives than anything else. If your looking for a petty I’d start there and wait to see if you need to upgrade.

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