Kitchen 418

    Published on June 9th, 2009 | by Greg


    Pare Away with Kai Shun Knives

    A few months ago, we got our hands on the Kai Shun Ken Onion kitchen knife, and are happy to report that it still holds up as the best knife we’ve had a chance to test out in our kitchens. Impressive in both form and function, it has held up well despite daily use.

    But this article isn’t about that- it’s about two specialty knives from the same company, Kai Shun. One of them is the Ultimate Utility knife (their name), and seems custom-made for sourdough bread, the ‘real’ San Francisco treat. Another is the Perfect Paring knife (again, their name) and is available exclusively from Sur la Table.

    OK, so the names certainly set a high bar, as does as previous experience with Kai Shun blades. We’re happy to report that they both hold up under scrutiny, though we certainly weren’t as blown away as with the more general-purpose chef’s knife.

    The Ultimate Utility is 6 inches long, and also features that sexy Damascus look. But the handle isn’t as nice to look at, or hold, as some other knives. The serrated blade is certainly sharp enough, and we liked the curve, but didn’t like the blunt tip so much. Designed to serve as a spreader, it made for a little less all-around usefulness. Certainly, it’s a pretty great bread knife- and makes quick work out of tomatoes- but “utility” goes a bit far. Interestingly, there appears to be no perfectly standard definition, as Wikipedia brings up the far-more-utilitarian box cutter and other firms show a wide variety of styles and sizes bearing the name. At $100, it’s nicely priced… but steep for a bread knife.

    The Perfect Paring knife, on the other hand, is about $60, and despite it’s small size has grown to have a large part in our chopping. At 4 inches, it still lacks the “do everything” capability of the chef’s knife, but often serves as a smaller and nimbler version of the bigger cousin. The Damascus-clad steel isn’t as striking on a smaller surface, but the shape of the blade- curving inward and then out- is useful and attention-grabbing. Razor sharp, you can slice, dice, and core with ease. Gouging eyes out (of potatoes, of course) was never simpler, and a few flicks of the fingers can remove the stems from fruits and vegetables. It’s easier to use than a larger blade for most smaller tasks.

    As always, take good care of your knives, and they’ll take care of you- our breads are no longer destroyed upon slicing, and for that Boudin is sure to be happy.

    About the Author

    Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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