Top positive review
230 people found this helpful
A breath of fresh air.
on April 20, 2012
A little background. I've cooked professionally for the vast majority of my adult life.. so roughly 20 years now. A bit of a late bloomer, I'm just now going to culinary school at the age of 36. That said, I've been around the block a couple times and I know a quality product when I see one.
This knife is a bad ass. You know that guy that seems cool, but has that weird look in his eye and you're fairly sure he could end you if he really wanted to? Yeah, that's this knife. Compared to the knives that are provided by the vast majority of restaurants, well its like putting Butter Bean versus Jon "Bones" Jones. I've put this knife through its paces and here are my observations. Take it as you will.
(1)Beautiful. I get alot of "Ooohs" and "Aaahs" from people who haven't seen it before. "Oh my God" is a common phrase by people who hold it, and "Holy s*** I want one" is common by those who take a couple swipes with it.
(2)Sharp. Out of the box you can cut ripe tomatoes, apples, onions, etc extremely thin very, very easily. Thin enough that light passes through it. Can you shave arm hair with it? No. You cannot. You'll need to sharpen it yourself or have it sharpened professionally for that. Nevertheless its night and day what this knife can do when compared to your average professional kitchen knife.
(3)Comfortable. I've tried quite a few different lines from quite a few different knife companies and this knife ranks right up there in the top for me. I'm 6'2" 255 lbs, mediumish hands and I have plenty of room on this handle. Fits very well to my hand and is easy to maneuver. I didn't think I would like this rounded handle as much as I do the "D" shape of the Shun Classics, but I find I prefer the Premier weight/handle.
(4)Weight. I've used German-style knives pretty much my entire career and I was fairly certain I would hate this knife simply because it doesn't have the heft that a German brings to the table. I was wrong. I hate to admit it, but I was. The blade is so thin and so sharp that heft becomes nothing more than an unnecessary entity under most circumstances. Not only is the heft unnecessary in most cases, but this blade allows extremely precise cuts. On a lark, I wanted to see what it would do versus a plastic 3 1/2 oz souffle cup. It went all the way through it in a single pass without even the slightest crinkle in the cup. Quite literally hot knife through butter. Cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, etc are a freaking joke. Quite literally effortless.
(5)Durability. I'm putting this as a pro mostly because the steel holds an edge decently well under normal usage. Cutting vegetables, breads, deboned meats etc this knife will make you giggle with glee. It is not however designed for bones or for being a can opener. It is a precision tool. If you want something that will smash through product then you are probably looking for a higher end Henckel, Wustof or F.Dick knife. With a simple daily honing after use the blade will hold a close-to-factory edge. Sharp enough to shred paper, but not quite as sharp as when you pulled it out of the box (obviously).
(1)Price. If you're like most cooks, buying a knife at this price point is an investment. Its beautiful and performs extremely well, but you're always nervous its going to get dropped or misused by some idiot on the line that has no qualms about using items that aren't his/hers when you're not looking. Or it magically walking off. There are some pretty respectable SETS of knives that can be had for the price of this single knife.
(2)Blade height. Honestly, most of the time the blade will simply slice through things making this con inconsequential, but there are times where it is necessary to use the heel to cut through something and in this circumstance the blade isn't tall enough to accomplish the task without you smashing your knuckles into the product. There are only really one or two items in my current menu where this happens, but it absolutely makes me cringe when it does.
(3)Debris. While the handle is beautiful and very comfortable to the hand, it tends to collect pretty much anything it comes in contact with. The blade isn't much better. The "hammered" texture doesn't seem to have as much impact as one would think.
To say that I'm not in love with this knife would be a complete lie. It is easily the best knife I have ever owned and I would recommend the knife whole-heartedly. That said, the price point that this knife can be had at will make the vast majority of professional cooks cringe simply because of the environment that it is expected to survive in. Even as I write this review I am seriously considering buying a cheaper set that hopefully performs pretty close simply because the idea of this knife getting ruined makes my fists clench. Also, don't let water or acidic products sit on the blade for extended periods of time. Its kind of a no-brainer, but when you get used to abusing house knives, seeing the discoloration on this knife can make you a sad panda even though it wipes off pretty easy if caught in time.
UPDATE January 20, 2013: I've been using this knife for almost a year now. I have since purchased several other chef knives, including a $240 gyuto made with CPM-154 steel. I still keep coming back to my Shun. It is my go to knife for 90% of the stuff I do in the kitchen. I still have not experienced any of the chipping that some reviewers were complaining about, so it makes me assume they are mistreating this knife. For me, the Premier is the perfect balance of weight, utility, and beauty at a very competitive price. The blade is rigid(no flex) and while noticeably heavier than most gyutos and lasers, it is also noticeably lighter than German-style French knives. The VG-10 is about as good a steel as you're going to find at this price point. Good edge retention, but not superb. One of the best investments I have ever made.
UPDATE March 21, 2013: I figured I should mention my absolute favorite trait about this knife, and that is the finish and the geometry of the blade create a surface with virtually no drag. The combination create a performance trait that I have yet been able to replicate with another knife. It is particularly evident when doing your horizontal cuts for dicing an onion. With the grinds on other knives (Henckel/Miyabi products especially) they seem to create alot of drag and you almost have to rip the knife through the cut. The Premier is nearly effortless and it has caught some experienced cooks by surprise who had their hand on the back of the onion instead of on top where it belongs. Caution is warranted while you get used to this knife's characteristics.