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 »

My Richmond GT will be my line knife for many years. I like it - cheap (I think I paid $80 for it) and takes a decent edge. I don't worry about the thing, and I will probably get a CHII petty - line knives are different than other knives, mine gets used by others every day I'm working - other knives are just used by me. I think that's one of the biggest things I have learned working in a high volume environment - prep is one thing, line work is going as fast as you can - whatever is close is what you grab.

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

Post by lsboogy »

I'm back at it today - we are short again (this appears to be the norm in most places). Two cooks called in sick today, so I've been through the grinder this morning. Lucky I showed up an hour early- (had breakfast at 6:30 today - dog decided there was something going on in the back yard at 5:45, squirrels were making a racket but the home defense was on. I called Rick at 7:45 and he told me that I was going to be doing a bunch of stuff on my own and to get in early if I could. A few days ago, he also asked if I would be comfortable turning mushrooms for 75 people (3 or 4 each) and I spent last night doing a few store cartons of them - brought in an old Sabatier Nogent paring knife today for the purpose, I'll be doing them starting about 4 today - steaks with mushrooms for about half the folk at a wedding tonight.
Spent the morning in the grinder with onions, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, some chilis, and then got busy with some bones for beef stock (roasted them off and then started the stock - it's cooking right now - smells wonderful). I'll be breaking down chickens in a bit with a Kurosaki honesuke AS laser (thanks Mark) that I am becoming a beast with - minute or so per chicken - have 32 to do in a bit - I get the thighs, wings, and legs for homeless cooking - plus Rick is gonna help me at the shelter tomorrow - Garlic chicken is going through my brain right now.
I brought in a couple of my Kohetsu blades today (Bensbites did great handles for me) - and my knife skills are starting to show. 210, 240 and 270 blades did most of the dispatch this morning - I stropped them well last night and they are just plain great knives on the boards - mild thinning (thanks Chris) makes the product just fall apart and I am doing very even slices on everything it seems. I did bring my Dauvua 210 with me for a line knife today - it's screaming sharp and I figured I'd give if a whirl at line duty today - I wonder how many others use them as line knives - dirt cheap for such a nice little knife. Getting motioned back now - time to do some herb work. Busy day but I'm having a good time - starting to feel like I know what I'm doing.

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

Post by Organized »

If I could only bring one knife it would be a Mac pro or blazen 240 gyuto. I own several honyakis plus plenty of other things but these 2 knives make the most sense for general line duties to me. There’s plenty of other stuff that might share similar features as these 2 but Blazens nice polishing and finishing, great retention and middle of the road thickness paired with fantastic grind makes it a suitable all arounder.
Mac can still be had for $180 and sharpens easy enough, it’s thin enough(super easy to thin more if you want to) and comfortable handle makes it suitable as well.

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

Post by lsboogy »

Organized wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:35 pm
If I could only bring one knife it would be a Mac pro or blazen 240 gyuto. I own several honyakis plus plenty of other things but these 2 knives make the most sense for general line duties to me. There’s plenty of other stuff that might share similar features as these 2 but Blazens nice polishing and finishing, great retention and middle of the road thickness paired with fantastic grind makes it a suitable all arounder.
Mac can still be had for $180 and sharpens easy enough, it’s thin enough(super easy to thin more if you want to) and comfortable handle makes it suitable as well.
One of the things I have learned from my time in kitchens (we did homeless shelter lunch of garlic chicken, pasta with oil and chilis, and mixed veg today - well received and only 42 people - super easy now) is that you need several knives to do things depending on what ingredients and how fast you need to work.
A home kitchen or small restaurant cook could probably get by with a knife or two, but cooking for large crowds means speed is essential. A big knife goes through prep much quicker (doing several bunches of green onions at a time save time) so I am trending towards my 270's for prep - still use a 240 as a basic knife, but a 240 will cut 4-5 bunches of green onions, and a 270 does 6 with ease. Butchery is simply a matter of experience, and a Honesuki or Garatsuki does the job on poultry or beef/lamb, and a big gyuto does just fine on fish.
Line work is on short boards (maybe 14" deep) so a shorter knife is a necessity, and line work in the kitchen I work in means everyone uses whatever tools are closest, so I don't leave my gems out for folk with poor knife skills (many cooks with good presentation skills are hacks with knives, had damage done to some of my knives by these kind of folk)) - but they certainly show me tricks with plating that make food elegant. I use knives that seem to match what I will be cutting for prep, and bring a shorter line knife that I don't worry about for line work. My line knife (maybe now knives with the Daovua) is subject to twisting cuts on boards, cutting on plates, and banging against spoons and bones - maybe a kitchen with fewer cooks (or being alone) is different, but I'm starting to appreciate different uses of knives. I don't think I will ever try to bring a single knife unless I'm in charge of the kitchen, and only feeding smaller groups - I could probably get by cooking for 40-50 with a single knife, but with groups of 200 (mid August we have a 750 person convention lunch) or more, speed in the kitchen is paramount - and the slices need to be even for proper cooking.
Steerability is where I'm at now - I can put a great edge on a knife (sharpening) and keep,it (stopping), but when you need to do boxes of veg quick and even, the right knife is essential - I am finding there is no way I could do my "job" using a single knife, and that even different ingredients require different knives when you have to deliver hundred of like plates of food.

I'm going to put out a shout to Carter Hopkins - I finally started getting the hang of even cutting driving a couple of his knives - they go where you think they will - my 52100 blade takes and holds a great edge, and just plain drops through stuff where you point it. Good as anything in my map cases full of knives - finally got the hang of 1 or 2mm thick slices, fine julienned carrots, and beautiful thin onion slices using his knives. Maybe it's just psychological, but it was the first time I looked at three 5 quart bins of zucchini that were really even in thickness - when you are doing 6 large sauté pans of veg at a time, even slices make everything cook at the same rate - I'm beginning to feel like and look like I know what I'm doing.

I'm scheduled to help with the 750+ person lunch already (vacation from work) - have to be in that day at 5:30, but I'm going to bring it - Rick says I will be doing boxes of veg in half dozen for better quantities - and I might get to be on sauce making duty as well.

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

Post by Moonshine_Radillac »

I work everyday in a farm to table kitchen, we all have our blades and don't touch another's without permission. I mostly use a 210 for everything but pull out my cck cleaver for lots of vegetables. It goes further with our own peelers, spoons, spatulas also. Don't let anyone just grab your knife, it's respect.

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

Post by Kalaeb »

Moonshine_Radillac wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:17 am
I work everyday in a farm to table kitchen, we all have our blades and don't touch another's without permission. I mostly use a 210 for everything but pull out my cck cleaver for lots of vegetables. It goes further with our own peelers, spoons, spatulas also. Don't let anyone just grab your knife, it's respect.
CCK is a veggie prep dream. Only way to go.

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

Post by lsboogy »

The kitchen I work in usually has 5-7 cooks, and I'm on the bottom of the totem pole. I have no formal training, so I volunteer at a friend's place to learn how to pull off my retirement dream. Prep knives are personal, and no one else uses mine without permission.

But the line in this kitchen can get quite busy given its a catering house so plating is just an all out go go go. We did trout for 72 on Saturday, along with tuna and tenderloins for another 100. I got to work most of the trout plates, so there were only 3 of us total working that line - but there are three knives on the boards and everyone just grabs the closest one in Ricks zoo of a kitchen (that's what he calls it when we have food that needs to get plated for tables of 12 with 4 wait staff running the plates out) - and being the low man on the totem pole I just do what others tell me.

One interesting note I had last Saturday was offering to show what a Montana trout fisherman can do cleaning them. They were delivered live, and I used my little benchmade pocket knife - whack Em, slit the chin, slit the belly, and pull out the gills and guts - maybe 10 or 15 seconds a fish. First time I've used a pocket knife in this kitchen for food - still my favorite way to clean them - good rinse and they go in the pile.

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

Post by Rob L »

Anryu blue hammered gyuto 240 mm.
My collection is not big by any means. I do find myself grabbing this knife over others lately at work. These days if I had to bring just one that would be it. Although everyone knows not to touch my knives at work, I still don’t trust em! :) A lot of the times i’ll have a stainless knife on my station for those reasons as well. Most of the time its a wusthof 12 inch pro. I get them for 12 bucks at the outlet store nearby. So if anyone drops it or whatever, I could care less!

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

Post by Cutuu »

Cck small stainless cleaver

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

Post by lsboogy »

I brought my Kohetsu AS240 and CHII blades today. Just finished 2 boxes of onions (1 fine slice, one medium dice), 2 boxes zucchini (diagonal cut - 2mm) and a box of broccoli (just flowerettes) and am on break for lunch. The Kohetsu did all the onions, but the Carter Hopkins did all the rest - wonderful knives. Just have trout to do later this afternoon - after lunch I'm starting to learn more saucing skills. The trout are being delivered live at 3, I figure it will take me about 20 minutes to do all 60 of them - going to try using a paring knife to do them today - the kitchen is always amazed at how fast I clean them. Going to teach a guy today - he's not a fisherman, so he has only done them professionally and he just plain is slow. I'm getting really good at onions

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

Post by lsboogy »

Bringing this thread back to life. Tales of a chef wannabe

I brought just 3 knives to "work" yesterday - kohetsu 270 with custom handle (thanks Ben), 240 CHII and Richmond GT line knife. We made zucchini carrot onion (sauted in medium pans - 12 servings) - I did all the prep work whil the real cooks made sauces and sundries for a 160 person dinner, then cut up salmon for 92 (had one of the overage for dinner last night). Rick always buys whole salmon so I deal with full butchery of the things.

The 270 Kohetsu is just a dream to break down whole salmon - large enough to go through 10-14lb salmon and watch both sides of the knife. I'm getting to the point where I can do a whole salmon to 12 oz portions in under 5 minutes - did 8 yesterday - skinning and getting grey stuff out (blood line along the side of the fish) - clean board means no scales in customer food. Plus, I was given the tartare from the spines - had a great breakfast this morning - eggs with salmon for two - Jen was happy.
Can never say enough about my CHII blade - thing flys through veg - my 1mm cuts are getting much better - shows when cooking large amount of veg - even cooking time is paramount for large dinners

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

Post by jbart65 »

This has been a fun thread to follow, isboogy.
Jeffry B

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

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jbart65 wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:52 am
This has been a fun thread to follow, isboogy.
Thanks Jeff

I think the biggest thing I am learning is just how hard cooks work. I am learning how to get food to the table and how much timing is involved with it. I'm now really getting to be good at cutting onions - I cut the top off a whole box at a time, halve them, pull off the skin and then cut them into final stuff. I no longer think about how big a pile of stuff I have in front of me, I'm learning to just crank through it. I'm also learning about knife size - I rarely use anything smaller than a 240 and am using 270's more and more. And I've learned about line work - 6 people trying to cram into a space for 4 and knives flying all over the place.

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

Post by cliff »

Thanks so much for this thread -- it's an inspiration. I almost never cook for more than five to ten people, but when I'm prepping for a group I almost invariably reach for a 270 these days.

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

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One of the longest days I've ever had in a kitchen yesterday. 2 cooks sick and 2 large functions, so I had to step,up a little bit (lotta bit in reality). Glad I talked to Rick before I headed out yesterday - was not planning on breaking down ducks but grabbed my favorite honesuki as well as three gyutos. Menus included steak Diane and garlic chicken for banker thing at the mansion, and duck and halibut for a catered gig.
Day started with breaking down ducks, confit for the legs and raspberry mustard glaze (roasted on) for the breasts. Quick work and into refrigerator - ready for the late afternoon. Then I started a beef stock - roasted off some bones and got stock going on stove. Minced half a box of shallots for the sauce, and then settled in on onions, zucchini, carrots and some very nice chard. Once the broth was good I took a few saucepans and made lots of Demi glace for the steak Diane sauce. Very tired by my break at 1:30, and was glad I brought very light knives
After my short lunch, I trimmed up 5 tenderloins (honesuki again - and Rick gave me the chains - going to make some stroganoff late today) and then started making the sauces and assembling the confit for roasting.
Highlight of my day - was given a black chef coat complete with logo, and a tall hat - I was going to be doing the cognac flaming for the steak Diane - first time in public for me doing anything here - I've always been just a prep/line cook wannabe and I got to actually flambé stuff in front of customers last evening. We did make it to Guitar Society last night, but I dozed off on the way home - thanks Jen for understanding - I'll make you some fabulous stroganoff for dinner tonight. My new chef jacket is hanging on the kitchen wall, and I will wear it making dinner tonight.

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

Post by bruin »

^^always cool to see someone taking pride in their work and enjoy learning new things. I’d take a green cook with a great attitude like yours over a veteran with a crap attitude any day.

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

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bruin wrote:
Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:18 pm
^^always cool to see someone taking pride in their work and enjoy learning new things. I’d take a green cook with a great attitude like yours over a veteran with a crap attitude any day.
Thanks bruin. That means a lot to me. I'm just trying to learn enough to run a homeless kitchen when I retire. Rick has helped me at shelters many times, and he looks like he is moving in slow motion but somehow he is going twice as fast as me (that is closing now) - I am learning by volunteering for him one day a week (sometimes more - I am taking the end of the month off at work and Rick has me scheduled for 4 of my days already). I love doing it and am now able to cut up onions as fast as any of the other cooks - and even though I smell like onions till I get a shower, it makes me happy and I feel like I am starting to learn how to cook in a busy setting. I'm still learning to make sauces (very hard for me to do more than two at a time and still keep everything correct right now, but that will come), and plating is becoming easier. Did a shelter lunch for 40 a couple weeks ago and it occurred to me that I was not worried about it at all - it just seems like things are starting to fall into place. And now I have a black jacket that shows what kitchen I work in - still have my white ones for most things, and my tall hat is kind of fun as well. And cooking for 2 or 6 is just plain a blast now. Life is good, can't wait for my new CHII blade - Carter used it this past weekend - it's nearly ready

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

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One weird Saturday - apparently cooks like overtime so I showed up and Rick had a full crew and two more coming in early afternoon. I just did my onions and broccoli (two boxes each), and then got to go take care of my mom for a chunk of the day.
Heading in right now- Rick has a full crew again today so I'll be done in a few hours today as well. His cooks need th money for the holidays, so I'm just going to go practice onions, carrots, and zucchini today. But I will be scheduled for full Friday, Saturday, and Monday coming up. Only have two knives today (same pair on Saturday) - Matsubara 210 (carrots - tall 210 just has a thing for match sticking) and CHII blade for soft veg - one box onions fine slice, one medium dice, zucchini is 1mm slices. I love knowing what's ahead of me when I head out, I'm beginning to figure out what knives work best for me on what product - feeling like I'm learning and finally being able to apply some things rather than just thinking about how nice a knife does with everything.
I'm learning to become a very good pull cutter on zucchini - very even slicing technique. Only took 100+ boxes to get it down. I love this stuff and will take at with me to shelter kitchen after I retire. I am starting to feel like I can keep up with the line cooks for prep work

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

Post by dAviD »

This.
20191225_143156.jpg
Of course everyone knows exactly how great Konosuke HD knives are but for me...for whatever reason I really prefer the 240mm Western style. Plus I get so busy it's nice not having to baby a complete carbon knife while getting hammered on. Eventually I'd love to find a short HD petty Western but they are few and far between and/or timing....it's always timing!

Really though they can get so thin....it is definitely not a old school line knife...still looking for the perfect one for that slot.

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

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My last day of work till mid January (Rick is taking a week off starting Thursday), and I am again hitting it hard early. Brought my CHII 52100 (onions, carrots, zucchini), honesuki (tenderloins, ducks), and a Kono HD2 (fruit, red snapper). Another two dinner night for this kitchen, I appreciate how hard a line cook works. Am finished with onions and carrots, and have 12 ducks broken down and carcasses in a couple pots for some sauce, and have the rest of the pieces in vacuum bags with extra fat and garlic for confit. It's becoming easier to plan space and product now - and I'm starting to b able to do birds pretty fast. Planning on doing the rest of the veg and then tenderloins when I get off break. Fruit is last up after the salmon and I have to make 3 sauces in between. Biggest thing I am learning now is to have a plan, make sure you have everything you need, and go. Cooks work very hard in a hot and sometime slippery environment, and if you don't have a plan, things get out of control in a hurry I'm cooking at Family place next weekend, and the idea of a 40 person lunch is now easy.
My knife choices are starting to narrow - knives that make it into the roll are narrowing - Kono, CHII, Ultimatum, and Kohetsu 240's seem to be my choices, Richmond laser AS honesuki, Matsubara 210, and Kikuichi and Kohetsu 270's, along with a line knife. I don't bring a steel, but do carry a strop and a 1K stone. And my onion ability is really starting to show. Learning sauces seems to be my next step - I am starting to get them assigned to me (at least the easy ones) right now. Gotta get back - I can drink two bottles of water every break and still not have to pee more than once - good workout for me

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