Features

Chefs reveal the knives they can’t work without

These professionals know the importance of good hardware. Check out what they’re packing

Photos by Patrick Mateo (Francis Lim and Saito Takeru), Javier Lobregat (Herve Clair), and Samantha Ong (Pat Go)

A chef’s tools are an extension of who they are. Knives, most especially, aid them in performing their task and is a very important part of their arsenal. A good knife allows the user to slice, cut, or chop with ease, delivering beautiful fillets of meat, delicate deboned fish, or vegetables sliced with surgical precision. We asked six different chefs what their favorite knives are and why they picked them over the rest.  

FRANCIS LIM, TIPPLE & SLAW

WHAT HE NEEDS: 

“I always need two chef’s knives—sizes seven and 10 inches. The first for just about anything, the latter for big cuts of meat or chopping a large volume of ingredients. I also need a paring knife. I use the basic one mostly to peel vegetable skins and for some areas of meat or fish.”

FAVORITE KNIFE:
Left to right: Wasabi chef’s knife and Global chef’s knife

“Shun chef’s knives. Cool kid ka kasi pag may Japanese knife ka but it turned out to be Western after all. But it’s actually a really good brand and it’s easy to maintain because they’re very basic knives. I also use Wasabi chef’s knives. Also, Henckels paring knives—these are what I got used to in culinary school. I also use Touchstone paring knives because their handles are always thick and so are the blades. I also like Global knives—very convenient because it’s one piece, so nothing breaks. I like one-piece knives better than ones with holsters, because although knives with holsters are pretty convenient when it comes to the grip, over time, they accumulate bacteria if you don’t take care of them properly.”

PRICE RANGE:

Shun – P5,000 to P8,000

Henckels – P1,000 to P2,500

Global – P5,800 to P7,1000

WHEN INVESTING IN A KNIFE, HOW MUCH SHOULD CHEFS SPEND?

I think P5,000 is the limit. Kasi it’s useless to invest in a knife that you don’t understand. Some people buy expensive knives thinking that they’re always better than cheaper ones.

WHAT’S A PRO TIP YOU CAN SHARE TO YOUNG CHEFS LOOKING TO BUY THEIR FIRST PROFESSIONAL KNIFE?

“Get something you’re comfortable with, not something that you just think looks cool. Get something that you can actually use. I mean, small knives can actually do big things. A bigger knife can also do things, but to a certain extent. There are a lot of sizes also that they should look into, not it being big doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re good knives. Everything has its purpose, so just really do your research.”

SAITO TAKERU, KAZUNORI

WHAT HE NEEDS:

“For me, it’s all about the feel and the weight.”

FAVORITE KNIFE:

“Yoshihiro Yanagi knife for cutting sashimi and the Deba knife for cutting fish. They’re thin blades which have been made in Osaka for more than a century. They’re a chef’s dream.”

Left to right: Yanagi knife, Deba knife
PRICE RANGE:

Yanagi – around P100,000 

Deba – around P50,000

MIKO CALO, METRONOME
WHAT SHE NEEDS:

“Something durable and that stays sharp for a long time.  I need my knives to be very sharp for turning and paring vegetables, for filleting fish, and for butchering.” 

FAVORITE KNIFE:

“I love my Masamoto chef’s knife and fillet. I’ve switched to Japanese  knives (with western handles) about eight years ago.” 

PRICE RANGE: 

P8,000 to P12,000

PATRICK GO, STALL #5 AT THE GRID

WHAT HE NEEDS:

“It needs to be solid steel from tip to handle; stainless; very sharp; good grip; and has good weight.”

FAVORITE KNIFE: 

“Henckels chef’s knife is great for general cutting and slicing. I also use their paring knife for cutting small pieces of food. The Masamoto Yanagiba is a sushi knife I like to use. It stays very sharp for a long time.” 

Left to right: Henckels chef’s knife and paring knife
Masamoto Yanagiba
WHAT’S A PRO TIP YOU CAN SHARE TO YOUNG CHEFS LOOKING TO BUY THEIR FIRST PROFESSIONAL KNIFE?

“For standard home or commercial use, I usually recommend Tramontina and Victorinox knives for their durability.”PRICE RANGE:

Henckels – P4,000 to P7,000

Masamoto – P7,000 – P10,000

HERVÉ  CLAIR, MIREIO AT RAFFLES
WHAT HE NEEDS

“For me, the quality of a knife is first. It has to be light and easy to handle. The handle has to be ergonomic; the blade can’t be too tough for easy sharpening but not too light so it can last a long time.”

FAVORITE KNIFE:

“Takayuki Damascus VG10. It’s light, really sharp, and easy to handle. It has this wave because the blade is made with folded steel. It also mixes two kinds of steel—one that’s strong and one that’s a little bit softer. This is helpful because if the steel is too soft it will break easily and if it’s too strong you cannot sharpen it. So it’s good to have that balance.”

PRICE RANGE:

Around $700

WHEN INVESTING IN A KNIFE, HOW MUCH SHOULD CHEFS SPEND?

“It depends on what you want to do with the knife—if you want to keep it for long or just use it occasionally. Me I spend between 500 to 700 dollars on each knife, but I keep it for long.”

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR KNIFE?

Every time I use my knife I sharpen it. It’s really about maintaining my knives’ sharpness, at least for me.”

The Takayuki Damascus mixes two kinds of steel
WHAT’S A PRO TIP YOU CAN SHARE TO YOUNG CHEFS LOOKING TO BUY THEIR FIRST PROFESSIONAL KNIFE? 

“Choose carefully, because knives are something that you should be able to use for a long time, ideally. One thing to consider is the tenderness of the steel. For instance, it can’t be too hard because it’ll be hard to sharpen the knife. Also, don’t buy knives with wooden handles because they’re generally forbidden in the kitchen. I do have knives with wooden handles, but they’re varnished. Another tip is to check online stores, you can find good knives there.”

AGUSTIN FIGUEROA, PARILLA LA CABRERA
WHAT HE NEEDS:

“Knives with smooth edges that produce a very smooth and clean cut. Whether you are cutting something hard or soft, there is no tearing or ripping. Knives used for peeling also need to have a smooth edge.”

FAVORITE KNIFE:

“Wusthof. I like these German knife because it delivers a nice cut and all the cutlery of this brand is made with surgical steel, which makes it good quality and durable. I’ve always favored Japanese knives, but after hearing about Wusthof and trying it out, I was really glad with them and decided to use them more.”

PRICE RANGE:

Around $100

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