Knife talk

Comical? Wow.

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Hi Ray,
If we are refering to the video that Justcharlie posted then I would find it hard to have control of a knife while sitting and chopping. I have more freedom and would be more relaxed standing up.
Perhaps that would explain his grasp?


Don’t take it personally. It’s just a discussion about knives on an online food board :wink:

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I didn’t say anything about using a dull knife.

A run-of-the-mill knife reasonably sharp at the start of prepping a meal at home is highly likely to stay sharp through the whole, rather short, process.

A prep chef working for a big NYC caterer like Sonnier & Castle (RHC), might be a slightly different story.


Ray, your general philosophy is unfortunately the current that runs through all these equipment threads no matter the forum.

I used to think it was just you, but it’s not, so take solace in that.

It’d be really great if one could buy their way to culinary artistry, Michelin stars, and the whole bit. If that were the case, I’d have a knife collection that would put yours to shame.

Any chef, home or otherwise, who thinks it’s the equipment holding him or her back is just making excuses.


I am not sure that captures Ray. He seems to enjoy new things, experimenting with them, and linking it all with his ideas about markets, emphasizing the PRC, and his perceptions of fusion. I think some of us, myself included, enjoy collecting stuff. Some of us spend a lot on collecting, and some of us keep it more reasonable. If I had not picked up my stuff in earlier times at reasonable prices, I would probably have Cuisinart or Made In pans and Victorinox or Dexter knives. Even though my old Sabs are pretty snazzy, I have never been close to dropping $100 on a knife, but I could be sorely tempted for morels, a great load of veal or skate, or a great bottle of wine. Sadly, I always get to Central Market after the morels have sold out. I think this board is more all over the map than CH was. You are among my favorite posters. You have the endearing knowledgeable snark Tony Bourdain had.

Back on Mercer knives, Ray’s stance confuses me. He like MIC, he likes good deals, and I believe he has recommended Alibaba. Mercers sound as if they would be his trifecta, but he also finds the process very personal and requiring tryouts with carrots, which to me just proves “Yep, it is a sharp knife.”


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This is a radio show interview. The show may have provided the knife, the cutting board and the onions to him (as opposed he bought everything with him)… I cannot say for everything, but Mario seems at least knowledgeable enough to teach culinary students to cut onions, and he has been teaching. How did it get so personal about teaching “you”? It isn’t like he drove over to your house and barged into your kitchen and started teaching you how to cut an onion. In that case, sure, what right does he has to force-teaching you, but that is not the case here. He gave an interview. That’s all. You either like his approach or you don’t. He is on a radio show, invited by the host Ray D’Acy. Did Mario do something to you?

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Hi Ray, great post, lots to digest… :slight_smile:

Ray, he used to be a 3 star Michelin chef… :slight_smile: One of the best chefs to ever come out of the UK. I’m pretty sure he has spent his time “exploring the possibilities” of knives.

Again, he is a 3 star Michelin chef (or rather, used to be, before he decided to forego the whole Michelin circus).

Seemed like a perfectly fine tool for the job. I think Charlie mentioned that it looked like a Victorinox? I also would like to point that a lot of others would characterise your aliexpress and Shun knives as beater knives. In the other thread you can see Marco using a Mac Pro gyuto.

I’m a home cook as well, and Marco gives me a perfect example of how things should/could be - it’s not the tool that’s important but the cook. He reminds me of my mum, an excellent home cook, always using cheap knives but also always sharpening them the moment they become dull.

He is using a form of a pinch grip here. Having a bolster is irrelevant in being able to use a pinch grip by the way, as you’re holding the knife by the neck so to speak.

The cutting style one uses depends amongst other things on whether there is a belly or not. In Marco’s case, with the belly on the knife, he is rocking indeed. Because he cannot easily push cut with that profile.

In the end it doesn’t really matter, a cook should do what works for him. There is no right or wrong. Yes, a nakiri is a great knife for vegetables, but as long as the tool works for someone, that should be perfectly acceptable.


An interesting question occurred to me. Just what is a “beater” knife? Is it a knife you just never liked in the kitchen, so you grab it to open cans? Is it a knife that was extremely inexpensive compared to your other knives or aspirations? Is it no name or a name you look down upon, or perhaps a knife whose provenance offends you? I maintain there are neglected knives and broken knives that cannot be repaired. If it can still be sharpened, it is not a beater. You may still dislike it, but if is truly sharp, someone would love to have it.


I was going to reply with my Tojiro DP Chef’s knife as my beater knife, and then I realize I use the term “beater knife” different than others. I don’t think I have a beater knife within my reach. I can find some beater knives in storage.

My previous definition just means a main knife which I do not mind in taking some tougher task, but I do not think that is the right definition.

It’s what you’d consider a beater knife, your own definition of a knife you wouldn’t mind abusing. It doesn’t have to be derogatory. My beater knife is my old Thai Kiwi but it’s a knife I love and used extensively at some point as my only serious knife.

Usually it’s the knife you upgrade from but are not willing to sell or throw away.


Yes, but I also think it is a normal knife which I don’t mind taking some abuses – but it is not its sole purpose as such. For example, if I take out a thick cleaver and throw bones at it… I won’t call the cleaver a beater knife because in my mind, it is doing what it is designed for and everyone would use it as such. I like to think of a beater knife is still a normal main knife but the one I do not mean taking some abuses and maybe getting it dull faster. In this sense, it is my Tojiro DP. I do have other knives like Dexter and no name knives which can serve as beater knives, but they are in storage. So in practice, my Tojiro is my beater knife.

Yours is a Kiwi?


I guess I don’t have a beater. Bummer. I like the definition you and @damiano use.


Hi Olunia,

You might be right, but I doubt he cares.

He’s a chef, a recognized authority, who presents an insight into cooking. He’s not trying to teach technique–maybe show off a bit.

Charlie’s point is that the knife is no more than a tool: intelligence about cooking is the most important thing. How he holds the knife doesn’t really matter.

And he’s right–as a Chef.

I’/m just a home cook–doing “home cook” things. I appreciate the pros when I go to restaurants, but find them a bit out of touch in the home.

We enjoy using sandwich knives, and beautiful knives that we hardly ever have to sharpen–and we take our time–sometimes fail.

We both have fun–but a different fun.

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What is your definition of a beater knife? Just curious. Many thanks.

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You praised that Au Sabot on Chowhound so …I got one :woman_shrugging:t3:Lol thanks, Tim.

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It got me thinking. It is a philosophic question and answer - and I didn’t catch it. If you only have one knife, then you do not have a beater knife. :wink: A beater knife only exists if there is at least another knife which we try to protect from abuses. If there is only one man in this world, then he is neither tall nor short.



Hoping you like it. I bake my own bread and have avocado toast most mornings. It is fun to use it.

Hi damiano,

As a recognized chef, he’s an expert in the restaurant world, but in no way is he an expert in home cooking worldwide: it’s a different kind of skill–and a different kind of fun.

As a European, aspiring to cook similar dishes at home, he may be a great model–but to me, he’s almost comical–if all we’re considering is how to cut up an onion.

I could pull up hundreds of videos showing alternative ways to cut up onions–some really great: some not so much.

He needs to stick to being a chef.