After several years of expertise as a chef, the art of sharpening knives on Japanese waterstones is no longer a secret for Olivier. Many chefs and cooks trust him to take care of their precious knives.
Each knife is meticulously inspected between the different stages of sharpening. Subsequently, the knife is tested to ensure that it is ready to be handed over to its owner. Otherwise, he will have to go back to the first stone and start the process again until he reaches the high standards of the company.
Sharpening is essential to keep your knife in good condition. That’s why Stay Sharp recommends that you maintain your water stone knives at a minimum of six months. If you are a cook, this interval can be easily halved.
Stay Sharp is aware of how important your knives are to you. It is therefore essential to return them to you as quickly as possible. Stay Sharp is therefore committed to carrying out the work within 24 hours to 72 working hours.
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It is depending on the length of the knife in millimeter. In cases of breakage, broken spikes or re-postage, an on-site assessment will be made to assess the damage and estimate the costs.
Never use your knife on a bone or shell and keep away from the dishwasher and frozen products. It is important never to attempt to twist the blade.
Ideally always use the knife on a wooden board.
It is important to maintain your knife by cleaning it and drying it immediately after each use.
In some cases, black spots may appear on the blades; they are natural and desirable. It is called patina, it will protect your knife from rust and oxidation.
It is essential to sharpen your Japanese knife on water stones. Depending on how often you use it, Stay Sharp recommends maintenance at least 6 months. If you are a cook, this interval may be halved.
It is the Japanese version of the Western classical chef knife. It can be used with a variety of different techniques to perform a wide range of tasks and is suitable for cutting the vast majority of meats, fish, fruits and vegetables. The Gyuto is the knife you need in your kitchen.
With its rounded tip, the Santoku is a versatile knife that is well suited to cutting meat, fish or vegetables. That’s why its name literally means “three purposes.” I recommend Santoku to people who want to learn Japanese knives and/or perform close maneuvers.
A mainstay of Western professional kitchens, the Petty is a small general-purpose knife used to peel, shape and cut small foods. The compact size and relatively narrow blade give the knife a very handy and controllable rendering. It is ideal for making precise cuts. Some beginners find that small knives are less intimidating than their big brother the Gyuto for example.
It is specially designed to bone poultry, but many people have discovered that the knife is also capable of cutting fish fillets and performing many other tasks. The Honesuki has a particular profile, triangular that requires a very specific technique. It should not be used to split poultry or to cut their bones. For these tasks, I recommend the deba.
The Honesuki’s inverted tip design increases the strength of the tip while allowing it to easily pierce the skin and make precise cuts in tight spaces such as joints. It is also narrow enough to be able to spin quickly when cutting around and along the bone. The knife is also able to cut connective tissue and grease.
The Bunka resembles Santoku with its wider blade, but is a little better suited to cutting vegetables, while the triangle-shaped tip is particularly useful for cutting fish and meat. The main difference between santoku and bunka bocho lies in the shape of the tip of the blade, the Bunka Bocho having an inverted end rather than a curved end of the Kamagata ”bird’s beak’.” Apart from this minor difference, the Bunka Huch shares the same pros and cons as the Sanatoku, mentioned above.
It is a hybrid design combining the characteristics of the Japanese Usuba and Yanagiba. Usuba is a dedicated vegetable knife, while Yanagiba is used to slice raw fish for sushi. Therefore, the Kiritsuke is designed as a general purpose knife for the preparation of traditional Japanese cuisine. Many Kiritsuke-style knives retain the unique bevel design of the Usuba and Yanagiba. Users therefore need to know what the use and maintenance of knives at a single angle entails.
A number of manufacturers are now producing dual-angle kiritsukes, often called kiritsuke gyuto, for Western users who appreciate the striking aesthetics of the profile but need the added versatility of a two-angle profile. The inverted ‘tanto’ profile of the kiritsuke makes the tip very agile but also delicate, while the flat profile lends itself well to the cut.
The Nakiri is a knife with a thin blade profile and popular throughout Japan. It is mainly used to slice and effectively chop vegetables, fruits or herbs, thus becoming a popular knife among vegetarians. Although it is often mistaken for a small Chinese cleaver, the Nakiri is too thin and too light to be compared to a cleaver and certainly should not be used to cut bones or very hard materials.
Like the Santoku, the Nakiri usually has a slightly higher blade than a Gyuto or Petty of similar size. This gives a little more space to the fingers when you cut directly over a cutting board. It has a good blade surface for your free hand to guide the blade during cutting technique like the ‘Push Cut’.
The long, narrow and graceful blade of the Sujihiki allows meat or fish to be cut with a single gesture, from the heel to the tip.
The narrow blade and relatively sharp edge angle of the Sujihiki are characteristics that greatly reduce the effort required to cut the ingredients. The combination of cutting technique, sharp angle of blade and edge reduces cellular damage to the cutting surface. This is especially important for dishes where fish is eaten raw, as it helps preserve the original flavour and texture of the fish.
If you often find yourself cutting fillets or finely slicing fish or meat, Sujihiki is the perfect knife for you. However, if you only work with fish or are passionate about making sushi or sashimi, try a Yanagiba, the traditional Japanese knife with its unique design is designed specifically for this purpose. In fact, Sujihiki is often considered the western equivalent of Yanagiba because their uses are similar.
It is mainly used to slice boneless fish fillets for sashimi and sushi dishes, but they can also be used to cut small to medium sized fish fillets. The Yanagiba’s narrow blade and relatively sharp angle are characteristics that greatly reduce the effort required to cut ingredients. As with the Sujihiki, the long blade allows the fish to be cut in a single movement from heel to tip.
The combination of cutting technique, sharp angle of blade and edge reduces cellular damage to the cutting surface. This is especially important for dishes where fish is eaten raw, as it helps preserve the original flavour and texture of the fish.
Yanagiba roughly translates into English as “willow-leaf blade”, a comparison that perfectly describes the long, thin leaf-shaped blade of the knife. Similarly, the knife is sometimes also called Shobu, because the blade resembles the spear-shaped leaves of the iris.
There are a variety of regional and task-specific variants of the Yanagiba, including Fuguhiki, Kiritsuke Yanagiba, Takohiki and Sakimaru Takohiki. However, leaf-shaped Yanagiba, native to the Kansai region of Japan, is the most commonly used.
Deba, also known as Hon-deba (real Deba), is traditionally used to clean and netting whole fish, but is also commonly used to bone poultry and other meats with small bones. The large weight of the Deba is desirable because, with sufficient care, the heel section is robust enough to be used to cut or slice bones found in small and medium-sized fish and poultry.
Deba is commonly used to cut fish heads in half and when used with proper techniques, they can be used safely to remove and split crab legs for example. However, the Deba is not recommended for cutting large bones, and care should be taken, as with all knives, not to subject the edge of the blade to lateral forces that can lead to cracks.
The Deba column thins throughout, which means that it is also possible to have a tip thin and sensitive enough for the user to feel whether or not it touches the bones. This is an ideal feature for a knife used for threading. The Deba’s tapered blade and strong handle create a balance point centered on the heel of the blade, giving the knife a much more agile feel than you’d expect.
Because Japanese cuisine uses many sizes and species of fish and seafood, the Deba is available in many types and sizes. Several varieties of Deba, including Mioroshi Deba (literally, Deba filterer), Ai-deba, and Aji-kiri, or Ko-deba (literally small Deba)
Usuba is ideal for cutting raw vegetables and fruits, as the thin, sharp blade produces very little damage to food cells, minimizing discoloration and taste change often caused by oxidation. The versatile central section of the blade can be used to cut vegetables into thin slices and also to perform the specialized Katsuramuki technique (rotating coat).
The relatively tall and long blade of Usuba is ideal for attacking large ingredients, such as cabbage, but is not recommended for cutting hard-skinned or hard-core vegetables or fruits as they could damage the blade. This large area is also very useful when you use the joins of your free hand to guide the blade when cutting. This technique is useful if you want to cut vegetables consistently to a given thickness.
The Kama Usuba has a kamagata blade tip (in the shape of a bird’s beak). It is native to the Kansai region (saka) in Japan. It is often preferred to the square-end Usuba of the Kanto region (Tokyo), as its curved tip is more versatile and is particularly useful for Kazari-giri Decorative Cup) and precision cutting. It works exactly like the square-end Usuba and is available in the same range of sizes.
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