If you had only one knife to bring to work

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lsboogy
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If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:38 am

I'm about 1/3 of the way through prep for the day and am maybe lamenting bringing only a 210 for the day - doing cauliflower with a short knife is no fun (I'm using my 210 GT again today). Since this is a second job and I am just learning (don't get paid, just work a bit in a pro kitchen to learn how to do things), I'm trying to learn how to use my knives better and am finding out the need for more than one. My chef (old friend) just uses a 240 knife, but he does not do the majority of the brutal work - he directs a crew of 3-6.

Should I find out the menus and adjust what I bring? I'm trying to get a small kit and don't want to bring knives that a particular individual (who is a hack IMHO - he chipped one of my knives badly a few weeks ago) will use. Is it common that the line knives are used by anyone at a station or does everyone generally carry their own knives. My first times in this environment are a trying experience - what do the real line cooks do - does everyone use a knife that is in front of them or do you have personal blades, or maybe a mix? What do real line cooks bring with them to work - some of the other folk here bring a few but just leave a beater out, one of them just brings one knife that others won't use for anything (a Dexter Russell that he bought years ago and "sharpens" on a steel - won't cut anything for sh**). What do real line cooks use? I'm an outsider here and get bad feedback from the paid staff - but Rick is in charge and says he would rather have me than most of the people that work with me. Maybe because he does not pay me, but I think I am better than half his crew

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

Post by salemj » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:11 am

I've never worked as a cook in a professional setting.

However, I'd start with the duties. Most kitchens have a set menu, which means set duties each day of the week. If you know those duties, then you know what size and type of knife is going to work best on any given day. I'd think that three knives or so usually does the trick for most in terms of gyuto, so I'd pick the three knives that you'd think would cover those responsibilities from day to day.

In reading the forum over the years, it is obvious there is no standard of knife practice "in professional kitchens." Many chefs have comments on all sorts of extremes. My sense has always been that "knowing the environment" is the key, and that one "cannot change the environment." If you know the knives are at risk and the coworkers cannot be trusted, don't attempt to change these habits and only choose things that you know will be ok on day 51 of the job (not on day 1, or 5, or 10, but 51: the point of you falling into routine and the point of them thinking you're not paying attention).

I look a lot into kitchens. I think there is a reason I see tons of shared monosteel at 56 HRC in small, generic, tight kitchens, and more monosteel and the occasional san mai at 59-61 HRC in kitchens with personal stations and no shared mag racks. It is extreme rare for me to ever see nicer knives that those ones except in very nice places where it is clear that the kitchen is run with extreme discipline and oversight and is clean as a whistle. If it were me, I'd avoid any Wa handles, I'd stick with an excellent, thin, durable monosteel, and I'd focus my energy on developing my technique rather than thinking about my knives. You have hundreds of knives, but perhaps you should treat yourself and by the Misono 440 240mm on sale right now. It is about as perfect as you can get for an environment like you describe as a "risk," otherwise stick to Victorinox or disposable and share away.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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

Post by Wjhunt » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:37 am

I am really looking forward to reading the advice of the pro chefs. This should really be an interesting topic. I have asked chefs that I meet this question and MAC pro, Misono UX10, or a German knife is generally the answer for those working in an upscale restaurant. I have spoiled myself with a few awesome knives from CKTG but I’m sure those Dexter Russell knives have their place.

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

Post by lsboogy » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:18 pm

I'm happy with my Richmond GT (210mm stainless knife that I'm not afraid to let others use) - seems like a great knife for prep and line work. Maybe I need to get a second knife (240 or bigger) for work in same environment. The board I work on for line prep is only 16" deep, so the line stuff is going to be done with a 210 (the GT is great in that application - best knife of all that work with me - love the thing in application), I'm just wondering what other sous/line folk use on a regular basis. I'll bring a 240 (have lots of options) if need be, but we have a good number of real chefs on this site that I am looking to learn from. I'm understanding why line knives are generally monosteel (my GT is not a beater, but a very nice knife) stainless, but rather wondering what real cooks bring to work. Home cooking is fun, but a pro kitchen makes what I do at home seem slow with little excitement. Gotta go back for line work - hope to hear from a couple of real line cooks

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

Post by Cutuu » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:55 pm

I'll keep it simple use what you want. Honestly I've used some really "nice" knives in pro kitchen. I'm not talking rare honyakis but many $300-500 knives. Don't let other people use your stuff, set the tone. People will tell you it's not possible, I disagree. You do have to be forward and aggressive at times. But people will get the message your knives are not the ones to be messed with. I've done this in big kitchens even as a lonely line cook. The chefs knew the care I put into my knives and wouldn't even pick them up without me allowing them too. I don't walk away and leave them out for prolonged periods, either. It can be done, I know people will disagree. But I don't care, it can be done. Otherwise, you will constantly be worried and chained to using knives you think as lesser or beater knives. Why have a bunch of bad ass tools and never use them when they shine the most. I've been on hieduis from pro kitchen for a bit. But I should be back this month. As a home cook I feel like I have an overwhelming amount of firepower just sitting around. When I was cooking pro, my knives got alot of action and it felt valid to have them.

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

Post by Cutuu » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:02 pm

Also each kitchen is different and the amount of workspace you have can be the biggest determining factor to what I use. There's been times where I've rocked a 165 petty quite a bit, and other times where it never left my bag. You should look at the things you are doing and bring a bag that encompasses all the task you might do in a day, then you are ready for whatever. Also things like do you have the space to store a bag comfortablly, safely can dictate what you bring. Your kit is a very personal thing imo, and one of the fun things about working in a pro environment. It's sort of like a unique individual or personality.

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

Post by Kalaeb » Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Cleaver hands down. Back when I worked in kitchens it would get through am prep easy. Makes a great line knife and is about as versatile as it comes.

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

Post by lsboogy » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:08 pm

I think I'm getting some good advice. I've done about 8 shifts as a line cook at an old friends catering business - I thought I could get by with a roll of nice (not treasures, but nice knives) and learned that the line I work on has no care for knives and I had an old knife chipped up pretty good - lost a half mm fixing it - never again let that person use something I brought back from halfway around the world. It's a balance - I'll bring my GT (and get another one if need be - I am quickly learning to love the thing) and a couple others next weekend for prep, and just leave the GT out on the line. I did a lot of saucing today - had a great afternoon prepping some great lamb for dinner at 3 places. I envy everyone who went to culinary school. Maybe I will do the Julia when I retire

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

Post by dAviD » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:57 pm

Kalaeb wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:25 pm
Cleaver hands down. Back when I worked in kitchens it would get through am prep easy. Makes a great line knife and is about as versatile as it comes.

True. Most other cooks won't touch a cleaver.
Tip? It's got one unless you have a horrible technique.
But mostly a cheaper CCK is gonna kill on most line work.

I say this after paying for the MOST expensive 240mm knife I've ever owned. Lol.

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

Post by jmcnelly85 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:28 am

I’m not the “don’t touch my knife” guy; however, I’m selective of who can use what. In my eyes, the possibility of anything happening by anyone in a moment of chaos will always be possible. I regularly use nice knives in a pro kitchen, but I use beaters on the line. If someone has good skills and clean habits and asks, I have no problem letting them use my anything as long as it comes back clean and dry. If someone sucks and needs to use something, they can use my wusthof while I pressure them where their knives are. Nothing special and irreplaceable belongs on the line, don’t be surprised when anything happens.

jmcnelly85
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by jmcnelly85 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:29 am

I’m not the “don’t touch my knife” guy; however, I’m selective of who can use what. In my eyes, the possibility of anything happening by anyone in a moment of chaos will always be possible. I regularly use nice knives in a pro kitchen, but I use beaters on the line. If someone has good skills and clean habits and asks, I have no problem letting them use my anything as long as it comes back clean and dry. If someone sucks and needs to use something, they can use my wusthof while I pressure them where their knives are. Nothing special and irreplaceable belongs on the line, don’t be surprised when anything happens.

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

Post by OgerBash » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:14 am

I use a cleaver and a honosuki as my two knives when I'm in a kitchen with people I can't trust around my knives. The cleaver still a people from using my knife for stupid things (ie opening cans). The honosuki I made a sheath that I tie through my apron string. So it is not left out on a board for others to "borrow". Luckily I've trained everyone at the place I help prep at. Most have improved their knife technique and own their own nicer knives now. So I don't mind bringing in some of my own to use and let them try. Plus if a new guys come in they get sent to me to learn knife skills and everyone else watches them like a hawk around the knives until.they prove themselves.

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

Post by Cutuu » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:03 pm

jmcnelly85 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:28 am
I’m not the “don’t touch my knife” guy; however, I’m selective of who can use what. In my eyes, the possibility of anything happening by anyone in a moment of chaos will always be possible. I regularly use nice knives in a pro kitchen, but I use beaters on the line. If someone has good skills and clean habits and asks, I have no problem letting them use my anything as long as it comes back clean and dry. If someone sucks and needs to use something, they can use my wusthof while I pressure them where their knives are. Nothing special and irreplaceable belongs on the line, don’t be surprised when anything happens.
Yeah, in reality that's my basic philosphy. The line is different than designated prep. But I set the tone that you are not just going to walk over and grab my knife like it's yours in prep area. I got no problems letting some one who knows how to treat my knife, use it. My basic point is I don't hide away all my knives in fear, they r too be used.

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

Post by kirkystyle » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:17 pm

Yeah my only knife in the kitchen is large CCK stainless cleaver. I have takeda bunka just to Change it up every once in awhile. But I can do everything with my cleaver, it's been that way for the past 7 years. I sold all my gyutos , every time I used one I found it completely impractical compared to my cleaver 🤗

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

Post by lsboogy » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:34 pm

You need to remember that I'm the bottom dog in the kitchen right now. No formal training (everyone else went to at least culinary school and they work there 60 hours a week. I show up on Saturdays to learn - they all know I don't get paid and they all order me around like crazy. My first line experience is that they all have a cheap line knife and use whatever one is closest - most of them wipe them down and keep things pretty clean but I don't have the say like he rest of the crew. I get all the onions, and most of the chickens when I'm there. My prep skills are improving rapidly, but line work for me is just trying to keep up. Maybe after I've done some more time I will be out of the doghouse. Some of the others are great to work with, but there are a couple of more senior people who think I'm just there on a whim.

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

Post by salemj » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:39 pm

lsboogy wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:34 pm
You need to remember that I'm the bottom dog in the kitchen right now. No formal training (everyone else went to at least culinary school and they work there 60 hours a week. I show up on Saturdays to learn - they all know I don't get paid and they all order me around like crazy. My first line experience is that they all have a cheap line knife and use whatever one is closest - most of them wipe them down and keep things pretty clean but I don't have the say like he rest of the crew. I get all the onions, and most of the chickens when I'm there. My prep skills are improving rapidly, but line work for me is just trying to keep up. Maybe after I've done some more time I will be out of the doghouse. Some of the others are great to work with, but there are a couple of more senior people who think I'm just there on a whim.
Not sure what this means. Are you saying that a cleaver is a bad recommendation and you'd appreciate others?
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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

Post by Dan_Crubenew » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:01 pm

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/katkgy24.html

No surprise that I would put this one up for consideration. I can't really say any more than has been said in the past about this TKC clone. As a pro who has used a TKC for 10+ years in a variety of kitchens and for everything ; Yes, they can do it all and are a "one and done knife"

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kobl2gy24.html

I had an old AEB-l Artifex back in the day. I bought it as a "house knife" and left it at the place when I left. If the above is anything like it, it will serve well in a pro kitchen.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy27.html

I bought one of these as a house knife before too. Surprisingly good, you may find it a bit thin at the edge or too big though.

Cheap line knives definitely have their place though, I don't like to use them ALL the time, but sometimes you can't beat a house knife for those things you would never do to a knife you owned, haha.

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

Post by lsboogy » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:29 am

Hi Dan -

I bought a Richmond GT (AUS8) knife because there is one person in the kitchen who has the knife skills of a kid and chipped a Kohetsu HAP40 knife pretty bad. I've been helping a real chef bud who finds it hard to get enough folk in his kitchen, I figure I'm gonna run a homeless kitchen when I retire and want to learn skills in a pro kitchen (Rick helps me at homeless places when he can, so I told him I would help him if he would allow me to learn - no charge). The sous folk do prep (maybe ill bring in a bigger knife or two for prep) and then run the line. I bought the GT because I wanted a decent line knife (narrow poly board on a long counter with 4-6 people bouncing around) - I know why they are called line knives now. This line just grabs whatever knife is in front of them, and I guess that's the way this kitchen runs. The GT is great, but a 210 is not my ideal knife for heads of cauliflower or whole salmon (this Saturday is salmon- last had lots of cauliflower) - so I'm gonna bring in another knife for prep. I was hoping that I could get by with just the one knife, but I'm learning.

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

Post by lsboogy » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:15 pm

I spent another shift at the kitchen on Saturday - I know why you guys bring multiple knives to work. I did learn that I can stash my prep knife in my bag, and use my line knife for line work. I'm not the chef, just the help, so I need to have perspective. I brought my trusty Ultimatum for prep - I'll bring a paring knife with me next week as I have some mushroom duty coming my way.

If you are a home cook and want to learn the difference between a pro kitchen and yours, I highly suggest finding a gig like I have - I learn more every time I show than you could believe. I'm getting a $50K education in trade for a day a week. My knife skills are markedly improving, and I'm learning about timing and saucing at the same time from people with skills far above mine

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

Post by nakneker » Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:08 pm

lsboogy wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:29 am
Hi Dan -

I bought a Richmond GT (AUS8) knife because there is one person in the kitchen who has the knife skills of a kid and chipped a Kohetsu HAP40 knife pretty bad. I've been helping a real chef bud who finds it hard to get enough folk in his kitchen, I figure I'm gonna run a homeless kitchen when I retire and want to learn skills in a pro kitchen (Rick helps me at homeless places when he can, so I told him I would help him if he would allow me to learn - no charge). The sous folk do prep (maybe ill bring in a bigger knife or two for prep) and then run the line. I bought the GT because I wanted a decent line knife (narrow poly board on a long counter with 4-6 people bouncing around) - I know why they are called line knives now. This line just grabs whatever knife is in front of them, and I guess that's the way this kitchen runs. The GT is great, but a 210 is not my ideal knife for heads of cauliflower or whole salmon (this Saturday is salmon- last had lots of cauliflower) - so I'm gonna bring in another knife for prep. I was hoping that I could get by with just the one knife, but I'm learning.
I love your enthusiasm and willingness, karma points go to you!
“The goal is to die with memories, not dreams.”

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