A Shun chef's knife
I wouldn’t normally spend more than $100 on a knife, even a serious chef’s knife, but I think gift certificates are designed to allow people to purchase things they wouldn’t otherwise. Right? Anyone?
So this 8-inch chef’s knife by Shun was well over $100, but I had accumulated more than that in Sur La Table gift cards, and they were burning a hole in pocket. My knife guy, whose name I don’t know but who has sold me several knives over the last two years, told me that he’s started using his Shuns exclusively, eschewing the Wüsthofs he used to care for (and sell) so passionately. I imagine this guy to have an apartment full of knives that he buys at cost, spending his lonely nights sharpening and polishing them. And that’s exactly the kind of knife guy I can trust.
When I told him I had a gift card and I wanted to buy a great chef’s knife, he took down every 8-inch model he had: Global, Henckels, Wüsthof, and a few varieties of Shun (there are at least four, at various price points). I’m not as crazy about the look of these as everyone else seems to be, although they are beautiful. But this knife has such a good feel in my enormous hand. It’s solid, hefty, and balanced, and it doesn’t have any bells and whistles on the handle that force me to hold it a certain way. Simple handles seem to work best for giants such as myself, and after careful consideration and extended discussion with the knifemonger, I purchased the Shun.
It’s extremely sharp. Comically so. I asked him if it was very sharp out of the box, and he told me that it’s as sharp as it could ever be. You can practically cut through an onion with just the weight of the knife. I’m actually a little afraid of it. You should see how it dwarfs the other knives on my magnetic rack, even my big Global cleaver. And it’s comfortable. If all goes well between us, and I suspect it will, there may be more Shuns in my future. But only as gifts, because you’d have to be slightly crazy to spend this much on a knife for yourself without at least a special occasion to justify it.
Incidentally, I had a Cook’s Illustrated waiting in my mailbox today with an article on chef’s knives in it. My knife scores highly, but the winner is the insane $475 eight-inch beauty by Kramer, a master bladesmith in Washington. The obsession begins…