With the arrival of the little one this year, Calgary Foodies is shifting gears. Yes, we will still be posting restaurant reviews, but we will also be returning to what gained us most of our notoriety to begin with – a focus on cool kitchen gadgets, even cooler kitchen tricks, and how to cook like a pro without being one. Therefore, it is no surprise that our first post is on the coolest things we have in our kitchen – our knives! Make sure to check out the Suisin at Knifewear. It is a cool starter Japanese knife that you can get for around $100 and literally shave with. Enjoy.

Inside our Killer Knife Collection

In our kitchen we have six primary knives (although we could get away with just two of them), and two sharpeners. From left to right they are as follows.  (Click image to enlarge)

Photo 2013-01-02 6 32 22 PMThe Cutco knives are two of our favorites, although we could do without either if we had to. We keep the Chef’s knife as a second one because when you have to cooks in the kitchen, you need two Chef’s knives. For the money the Henckels (at least the one we use… see below) is a way better value and will stay sharp for just as long if not longer. The Cutco Spreader/Sandwhich knife is the ultimate utility knife, you can use it to spread butter on toast like no butter knife ever could, and then follow up with the perfect slice using the spreader’s Double D serrated edge. I also love the bright orange handled Cutco hunting knife. I will spare you the details, but when it comes to butchering an animal, all of the hunters who begin by mocking me for using a serrated edge end up jealous after they see this knife go to work. Lets just say half the effort, twice as fast, without having to resharpen every fifteen minutes.

Photo 2013-01-02 6 32 34 PMOur Henkels Twin Masters were all purchased at Hendrix Equipment and cost a fraction of what it would normally cost for a Henkels Twin quality knife. At around $35 a piece, the price discrepancy is the result of these being commercial quality knives, hence the yellow plastic handles. Those handles are about the only difference between these and the knives you would pay $100+ for at a department store. We use the fillet knife almost universally as a pairing knife. The Chef’s knife is the most widely used knife in our kitchen, and the butcher knife is used for breaking down large cuts of meat (Costco Strip Loins) and chickens etc. The Steel is the best all purpose sharpening tool I have ever used, however I do have one steel that is even better, but it is reserved for use on my most special knife because it is capable of sharpening to a razor quality edge.

Photo 2013-01-02 6 45 24 PM Our Suisin is our favorite knife. Knifewear describes these knives in the following way, “These knives are made of unique INOX high carbon steel featuring chromium and molybdenum which is stainless and great for edge retention. Suisin knives are known for their extreme thinness which translates to extreme sharpness.” The reason we love this knife so much is that you can literally shave with it! It is that sharp! It is perfect for filleting fish, or slicing meats – raw or cooked. The ceramic steel keeps it super sharp, although I do take it in once a year for a professional sharpening.

Photo 2013-01-02 6 45 24 PMIf I had to pick just two of these knives to get me by, I would pick the Henckels Chef’s knife and the Suisin, I could do virtually everything in the kitchen with just these two knives. I would throw in the ceramic sharpener to keep the edges sharp. These two knives, for a total cost of $150 would, would be enough to last me 50 years and tens of thousands of meals.

The Henckels would act as the work horse of the kitchen, slicing and dicing, butchering meat, and doing most of the heavy lifting. The Suisin would do the finesse work – the slicing, the carving, and the peeling. I could use it to slice deli meat to the perfect thinness and then turn around and shave truffles and garlic. Speaking of peeling, there is one other knife we could not live without and that is not pictured. It is the J.A. Henckels Twin Pure Peeler. It is by far the best vegetable peeler we have ever used, in fact we almost lost it over the holidays when my father got his hands on it while peeling potatoes for Christmas dinner. It is that good, and makes peeling a breeze.

If you are at all in the market for a new set of knives, we highly recommend that you visit Hendrix to get your collection started. Begin with a couple of great work horses, and then move up to some of the finer and more expensive knives that you can find at Knifewear. In our minds, there is no reason to spend $100+ dollars on a top of the line Henckels or Cutco knife when you can start with the same quality at a fraction of the price. Don’t get me wrong, we like our Cutcos, but they are a luxury not a necessity. Japanese knives on the other hand are worth paying for. They are mostly hand made and sharper than any commercial knife you will find in North America. If you are going to spend money on a knife, go Japanese. You will never go back. 🙂