MAINTENANCE

Never use your knife on a bone or on a shell and keep away from the dishwasher and frozen products. It is important never to try to bend the blade.

 

Ideally always use the knife on a wooden board.

 

It is important to maintain your knife by cleaning and drying it immediately after each use.

 

In some cases, black spots may appear on the blade; they are natural and desirable. It is called patina, it will protect your knife against rust and oxidation.

 

It is essential to sharpen your Japanese knife on water stones. Depending on your frequency of use, Stay Sharp recommends a minimum maintenance of 6 months. If you are a cook, this interval can be halved.

 

 

THE GYUTO

It is the Japanese version of the classic western chef's 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.

 

 

THE SANTOKU


With its rounded tip, the Santoku is a versatile knife that is well suited for cutting meat, fish or vegetables. This is why its name, which literally means "for three purposes". I recommend Santoku to people who want to learn Japanese knives and / or perform close-up maneuvers.

 

THE PETTY

 


A mainstay of professional Western kitchens, the Petty is a small, general-purpose knife used to peel, shape and cut small foods. The compact format and the relatively narrow blade give a very handy and controllable knife, ideal for making precise cuts. Some beginners find that small knives are less intimidating than their big brother, the Gyuto, for example.

 

THE HONESUKI

 


It is specially designed for boning 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, triangular profile which 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 reverse tanto design increases the resistance 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 turn quickly when cutting around and along the bone. The knife is also capable of cutting connective tissue and fat.

 

THE BUNKA

 


The Bunka resembles Santoku with its wider blade, however it is a little better suited for cutting vegetables, while the triangle-shaped tip is particularly useful for cutting fish and meat. The main difference between the Santoku and the 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 "in the shape of a bird's beak". Aside from this minor difference, the Bunka Hōchō shares the same advantages and disadvantages as the Sanatoku, discussed above.

 

THE NAKIRI

 


The Nakiri is a knife with a thin blade profile and popular throughout Japan. It is mainly used to effectively slice and chop vegetables, fruits or herbs, becoming a popular knife among vegetarians. Although it is often confused with a small Chinese cleaver, Nakiri is too thin and too light to compare to a cleaver and should certainly not be used to cut bones or very hard materials.

 

Like the Santoku, the Nakiri generally has a blade slightly higher than a Gyuto or Petty of similar size. This gives the fingers a little more space when you cut directly above a cutting board. It has a good blade surface for your free hand to guide the blade during cutting techniques such as '' Push Cut ''.

 

 

THE SUJIHIKI

 

The long, narrow and graceful blade of the Sujihiki allows you to cut meat or fish in a single movement, from heel to toe.

 

Sujihiki's narrow blade and relatively sharp edge angle are features that significantly reduce the effort required to cut ingredients. The combination of the cutting technique, the acute angle of the blade and the cutting edge reduces cellular damage to the cutting surface. This is especially important for dishes where the fish is eaten raw, as it helps preserve the original flavor and texture of the fish.

 

If you find yourself often cutting fillets or thinly slicing fish or meat, Sujihiki is the perfect knife for you. However, if you work only with fish or are passionate about making sushi or sashimi, try a Yanagiba, the traditional Japanese knife with a unique design is designed precisely for this purpose. In fact, Sujihiki is often considered the western equivalent of Yanagiba because their uses are similar.

 

 

THE YANAGIBA

 

They are 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 and are often used to skin fish. The Yanagiba's narrow blade and relatively sharp angle are features that greatly reduce the effort required to cut the ingredients. As with Sujihiki, the long blade allows you to cut the fish in one movement from heel to tip.

 

The combination of the cutting technique, the acute angle of the blade and the cutting edge reduces cellular damage to the cutting surface. This is especially important for dishes where the fish is eaten raw, as it helps preserve the original flavor and texture of the fish.

 

Yanagiba roughly translates into English as "willow-leaf blade", a comparison which perfectly describes the long and thin blade of the leaf-shaped knife. Likewise, the knife is sometimes also called Shobu, because the blade resembles the lance-shaped leaves of the iris.

 

There are a variety of regional and task-specific Yanagiba variants, including Fuguhiki, Kiritsuke Yanagiba, Takohiki, and Sakimaru Takohiki. However, the leaf-shaped Yanagiba, native to the Kansai (Ōsaka) region of Japan, is the most commonly used.

 

THE DEBA

 

Deba, also called Hon-deba (real Deba), is traditionally used to clean and net whole fish, but it is also commonly used for boning poultry and other meats with small bones. The significant weight of the Deba is desirable because, with sufficient care, the heel section is robust enough to be used to cut or slice the bones found in small and medium-sized fish and poultry.

 

Deba are commonly used to cut fish heads in half and when used with the proper techniques, they can be safely used 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 which can cause cracks.

 

The Deba's column thins out over its entire length, which means that it is also possible to have a tip that is thin enough and sensitive enough for the user to feel whether it touches the bones or not. This is an ideal characteristic for a knife used for threading. The Deba's tapered blade and sturdy handle create a point of balance centered on the heel of the blade, making this knife feel much more nimble than you would 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 filter), Ai-deba, and Aji-kiri, or Ko-deba (literally small Deba)

 

 

THE USUBA

 

The Usuba is ideal for cutting vegetables and fruits served raw, because the thin, sharp blade produces very little damage to food cells, which minimizes discoloration and the change in taste 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 (rotary peeling).

 

The Usuba's relatively tall, long blade is great for tackling large ingredients, such as cabbage, but it is not recommended for cutting hard-skinned or hard-core vegetables or fruits as they may damage the blade. This large area is also very useful when you use the knuckles with 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 KAMAGATA USUBA

 

The Kama Usuba has a Kamagata blade tip (in the shape of a bird's beak). He is from the Kansai (saka) region of Japan. It is often preferred to the square end Usuba of the Kanto region (Tokyo), because its curved tip is more versatile and is particularly useful for Kazari-giri Decorative cutting) and precision cutting. It works exactly like the Usuba with square end and is available in the same range of sizes.

 

 

THE KIRITSUKE

 

Kiritsuke knives are a hybrid design combining the characteristics of Japanese usuba and yanagiba. Usuba are dedicated vegetable knives, while yanagiba are used to slice raw fish for sushi. Therefore, the kiritsuke is intended as a general purpose knife for the preparation of traditional Japanese cuisine. Many kiritsuke knives retain the unique bevel design of the usuba and yanagiba. Users therefore need to know what the use and maintenance of single angle knives entails.

 

A number of manufacturers are now producing double angle kiritsuke, often called gyuto kiritsuke, for Western users who appreciate the striking profile aesthetics but need the additional versatility of a profile with two angles. The inverted 'tanto' profile of the kiritsuke makes the tip very agile but also delicate, while the flat profile lends itself well to cutting.

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