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What is the Ideal Gyuto Knife?

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The Gyuto kitchen knife is a western-style knife with a Japanese provenance that has nicely adapted to the western cooking tradition. It is probably more popular in the west than in Japan where the Santoku or Wa-Gyuto kitchen knives are the multipurpose kitchen workhorse. In Western kitchens, however, the Gyuto knife is a popular knife that is loved by both chefs and home cooks. It is almost indistinguishable from the Western chef’s knives. As a general-purpose kitchen knife, the Gyuto can be used by just about anyone and not just professionals and chefs. 

In Japanese, it translates to “cow blade”. However, like other all-purpose western chef’s knives, the Gyuto is thinner and has a taller heel. Being a Japanese kitchen knife, you can also find them in a vast array of beautiful finishes. Depending on the individual forges, the craftsmanship and finishing can be out of this world. Every chef agrees that they have superb lacquerware. The lengths can range from 180mm to 300mm. They are flatter at the heels but they have a curved blade or a belly with the curve beginning from midsection towards its pointed tip. This multi-use kitchen knife can easily be used for rocking motions as well as with tap-chopping or push-cutting. You can also use them with various ingredients including meat, vegetables, fish and herbs. On the other hand, they tend to be costlier than the Santoku knives.

So what makes an ideal Gyuto kitchen knife? What should you look for when shopping for a Gyuto knife for your needs? 

The ideal Gyuto kitchen knife is one that suits not only your size but also your space, budget, grip style and the preferred steel style, be it stainless steel and carbon steel. Steel type will affect many other factors such as the amount of care and maintenance that the knife will need, the ease of sharpening the knife, edge retention and even the aesthetic quality of the knife. Carbon steel is generally a more colourful steel type for a Japanese kitchen knife. 

The prices of Gyuto knives vary widely depending on the quality, manufacturer and the types of finishes. Some Gyuto knives are keepsakes and something of a luxury cutlery item; the kind of cutlery that you could use for decades and pass down to your kid’s thanks to their ethereal quality and superb craftsmanship.

 At the higher end of the spectrum, they can cost a few hundred dollars. On the lower side, they can go for as cheap as $40. When shopping for the ideal Gyuto knife for your needs, you should ultimately go for ones that give you the best value for money. Perhaps, before you splurge on the high-end Gyuto kitchen knives, it is prudent to start with a low-cost and budget-friendly Gyuto knife to determine what works for you and suits your needs before you graduate to a high-end Gyuto kitchen knife that would probably punch a sizeable hole in your pocket.  

Gyuto kitchen knives are traditionally hand-forged using high-carbon steel. This quality means that these knives can cost a fortune. Although Gyuto knives are beautiful, you will need a little training to familiarize yourself with the high-maintenance care routine required to keep these knives in pristine shape. Unlike the single-bevel Japanese kitchen knives, the double-bevel Gyuto knives are fairly easy to master. 

Before you purchase a Gyuto kitchen knife, it is advisable to get a feel of their qualities. You need a knife that you will be comfortable with. It should be long or short enough to fit your kitchen space and it must also have the right size to enable you to comfortably wield it. With a budget-friendly Gyuto knife, you can spend enough time mastering the various handling and chopping techniques without risking damaging an otherwise expensive kitchen knife.  

The Gyuto kitchen knife is so versatile that it will pretty much handle 90% of your food preparation. You can put it to both at-home uses as well as for commercial uses. A curved blade enables you to use the knife in a rocking motion and the pointed tip of the Gyptu kitchen knife is useful for navigating the knife in very tight spaces. 

The Benefits of the Gyuto Knife:

  • It is an allrounder and will handle 90% of your food preparation. The Gyuto is just the Japanese variant of the western chef’s knife and is popular in most western kitchens. 
  • Sharpness: It is extremely sharp and easily slides through any food be it meat, fish and vegetables. 
  • Pointed tip to make precision or delicate cuts and to get to the hard to reach places
  • Gyuto kitchen knives deliver very clean cuts so you won’t have to worry about pieces of the food still sticking together by the threads. 
  • Curved blade or a belly for rocking motions that enable you to cut without too much energy

To choose the ideal Gyuto knife, you must be cognisant of the blade length. Gyuto knives can be as long as 360mm. When choosing these multipurpose kitchen knives, you should factor in the size of the product that you are planning to slice or chop up, the amount of space at your disposal in the kitchen as well as whether you can actually wield it comfortably. However, the most recommended size for Gyuto kitchen knives usually 240mm. 

Here are some of the factors to look out for when shopping for your ideal Gyuto kitchen knife: -

The Grip

If you get a chance to hold the knife before making a purchase, determine how the grip feels in your hands when you are holding the knife. Does it feel too thick or too thin to hold? Do you feel like your fingers are awkwardly bumping into one another when you are holding the knife’s handle? Does the handle feel so big that you feel like your fingers are “lost” in it? The grip has a lot do with the efficacy of the cutting action so you must always ensure the handle gives you the most comfortable grip. 

The Weight

Are you looking for a lighter or a heavier blade? For relative comfort, you need a knife that you can hold in your hands for a couple of minutes without getting exhausted. Heaviness can be a good quality in a knife but some chefs prefer lighter knives that they can juggle through various kitchen tasks without grappling with exhaustion.

Material

You can go for stainless steel or the Japanese Hagane or carbon steel. The Hagane steel requires a lot more maintenance and care but it has superior edge retention.

Craftsmanship

The craftsmanship with which the knife was made depends on the individual manufacturer or forge. If the craftsmanship and finishes are out of this world, expect to pay a little fortune for your one-of-a-kind Gyuto knife. 

Top Questions to Ask When Planning to Buy a Gyuto Knife

The type of Gyuto knife to purchase will boil down to your individual preferences. Here are some additional questions to ask yourself to help you figure your ideal Gyuto knife. 

  • Is your kitchen space limited? 
  • Do you have small hands?
  • Are you planning to acquire a longer kitchen knife?
  • Are you looking for a kitchen knife that oozes some Japanese vibe?
  • Do you prefer any particular handle style? 
  • Are you looking for any particular finishes for your Gyuto kitchen knife?
  • Do you have a longer Japanese kitchen knife in your collection? 
  • Would you want a Gyuto knife with engravings? The aesthetics might have little to do with the knife’s functionality but a beautiful and cool-looking knife is a joy to work with.
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