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You may not be aware of it but in the world of professional cooks and chefs there is a continuing debate as to which country makes better kitchen knives. This industry has long been dominated by European companies, most commonly German. However Japan is making a name for itself by manufacturing knives that have clear and distinct qualities over their European counterparts. So what actually makes a Japanese chef’s knife stands out among the rest? Are they really any better than knives made by the established and experienced Western companies?

Most chefs would say that Japanese knives have their own strengths and weaknesses but pretty much the choice depends on which one will feel ‘right’ in the cook’s hands.  And at the end of the day it will come down to personal preference because at the basic level Japanese, German, or French knives can all deliver the kind of excellent performance that seasoned cook’s require.  It’s about the quality of the knife, not the country of origin.

How Is A Japanese Chef’s Knife Different?

Japanese Chef's KnifeThere are unique and distinct attributes that distinguish Japanese knives over the others and those will be pointed out here. The method used to make Japanese knives is strongly rooted in Japan’s age old traditions and culture and is very much influenced by the techniques used in making the famous samurai sword. Thus a Japanese knife is known for its sharpness and efficiency.

However knives manufactured by Japanese makers differ on the main material used to make the blade. These knives are made using a harder but more lightweight steel with a very acute edge which makes them extremely sharp. On the other hand, those made by European manufacturers use a softer but stronger and heavier steel which makes the blade solid and tough. This makes them more durable and heavy duty. The edges of their blades are thicker but are easier to hone.  European  knives will never be as sharp as a Japanese one, but European knives will hold the sharp edge for far longer.

When it comes to the look and design of Japanese chef’s knives they are traditionally defined by a single-edged blade and rounded handles with no grip marks. The handle of Japanese knives are also smaller compared to Western knives like those made by German companies. These features make the knives more ideal for chopping, dicing, and slicing. However the latest innovations and developments in  Japanese knives are incorporating more Western like styles such as hand grips and double edged blades thus expanding their cutting capabilities.

For additional reading, check out The Japanese Santoku vs Chef knife.

Japanese Chef’s Knife Top Picks

There are many Japanese kitchen knives to choose from these days, however we believe that the following are the best of the best without going through the trouble of getting a custom made knife.

Global G-2 Chef Knife

Global Chef Knife G-2The Global G-2 chef knife is made using a combination of materials including chromium, molybdenum, vanadium and stainless steel making it strong, lightweight, sharp, stain resistant, and able to maintain its edge for a long period. The blade is hand crafted in Japan and ice tempered in order to allow the blade to keep its edge longer. Chef’s and cooks gave this knife positive reviews for having a special steep grind with a gradual curving edge that makes cutting easier and eliminates the tendency of food ingredients to stick to the blade’s surface.

Another excellent design from the Global chef knife is that the blade and the handle are all made from a single piece of steel. To provide balance, the handle is made hollow and filled with either sand or metal materials.  The handle is also smaller in size when compared to more traditional knives thus making the Global an ideal knife for people with smaller hands.

Shun Classic Knives

This is another great example of an outstanding Japanese knife that provides effortless slicing and dicing with a comfortable and solid hold. The blade of a Shun Classic knife is made extra strong through the use of stainless steel clad with as many as 16 layers of high carbon stainless steel.  This knife’s design displays the beautiful Japanese craftsmanship that has been around for thousands of years.

The Shun Santoku knife for instance is particularly designed to deliver excellent performance when dicing, slicing, mincing and chopping various ingredients. It has a D shape handle made from Pakkawood which fits securely in the user’s hand for a firm and solid hold. This means accidental slipping will be greatly avoided.

Shun classic knives may cost more when compared to other brands, but the excellent quality of this knife means this could very well be the last chef’s knife you ever purchase.  Maybe the beauty of the knife blinds us, but because of its high quality and durability, we like to think of the Shun classic as cost effective, especially when compared to cheap infomercial knives.  Just ask Alton Brown.  The Shun is his go to knife.

With the wide range of brands and designs available nowadays, finding that ideal knife that will make kitchen life less challenging is an important consideration for those who love to cook. One of the most highly regarded knives in the industry today is the Kershaw Shun Classic chef knife. What are the various features that make this kitchen knife a favorite of professional and amateur chefs alike?

Kershaw Shun Classic Chef Knife Review

Kershaw Shun Classic Chef KnifeThe Kershaw Shun Classic chef knife is part of the Shun professional series. This is a forged knife made from VG-10 “super steel” which is actually a combination of Carbon, Chromium, Cobalt, Manganese, Molybdenum, Silicon and Vanadium. Forged knives are always regarded highly because of their superb quality.  Kershaw knives are no different.

Added to that is the 16 layers of high-carbon stainless steel which clads the blade on each side. Such high-carbon stainless steel allows the knife to have the razor sharp finish Shun knives are famous for. In addition this design also ensures that the edge of the blade will remain stain and rust free.

Moreover, this knife is also recognizable by its distinctive Damascus look on the blade, a pattern resembling wood grain. Furthermore, it features a handle that offers excellent balance and comfort during the food preparation process. This is due to the fact that it is made of Pakkawood and that it has an offset steel bolster. The knife is also lightweight so it won’t put that much stress on your hands during its use. This is indeed a well crafted knife which is exceptionally sleek in design and one that will last for many years, a true testament to the excellent skills of Japanese knife makers.

As mentioned earlier, the Shun Classic knife is part of the excellent Shun professional series that have all the qualities discussed above.  But before you select one, always consider your primary needs so that you ensure that the knife you purchase is ideal for your kitchen as well as for your comfort.

Below are a number of excellent knives from the Shun series that you may find fitting for your kitchen tasks. These are short reviews to guide you in determining whether these products have the qualities and features that you are looking for.

Kershaw Shun Classic Chef Knife, 10-inch

One of the more notable knives in the Shun Series, this knife is razor sharp and has impeccable balance. The distinctive Pakkawood handle design combined with the lightweight Damascus blade makes this 10-in. Chef’s knife the ideal kitchen companion for a skillful chef as well for those users at home. The excellent blade forged from the VG-10 hardened Japanese steel cutting core, clad with 16 layers of high carbon stainless steel on each side, ensures a razor sharp edge that can easily slice through tougher cuts of meat and dense vegetables like sweet potatoes with ease. It also has a superb sharpness retention no matter how often this knife is used.

Shun Classic Utility Knife

Part of the Shun Classic line, this is a multipurpose utility knife that  features a narrow sloping blade 6 inches in length with a piercing tip. Its main advantage is the fact that it is compact in size making it easy to handle. This is also the reason why this knife is well liked by both the commercial and home users.

Like the other knives in the Shun series, this knife is forged from a VG-10 “super steel” core and clad with 16 layers of high-carbon stainless steel making its Damascus blade resistant to rust. In addition the blade also prevents morsels from sticking and avoids crushing or damaging foods. Other standard features include the Pakkawood handle that features a “D” shape design that makes the grip comfortable and the offset stainless-steel bolster that protects the knuckles.

Shun Classic Chef’s Knife

This 8-inch chef’s knife is a versatile kitchen tool that is very efficient in doing various cutting tasks like slicing, chopping, dicing, and others. Standard features include the forged, VG-10 stainless steel blade clad with 32 layers of high-carbon stainless steel which makes it rust resistant as well as razor sharp. The Kershaw Shun Classic chef knife has a patterned and layered surface of a Damascus blade and black laminated PakkaWood D-shaped handle that ensure easy grip as well as maximum comfort.

There are so many brands, and designs within brands, of kitchen knives.  How can you know which one is right for you?  In our overview review of the best kitchen knives, we discuss the top performers.  Any of the knives mentioned in that review would out perform the needs of any home chef.  However, there is one design of knife that stands out among the rest.  If you are a serious cook who seeks to have the finest quality knife available, we suggest that you consider the Shun Ken Onion chef’s knife.

The Shun Ken Onion Chef’s Knife

Read User Reviews of The Shun Ken Onion Knife And Compare Prices Here

Shun Ken Onion Chef's KnifeImmediately out of the box, the Shun Ken Onion chef knife grabs your attention with its innovative and modern design. Be careful!  This baby is razor sharp straight out of the box.

This versatile knife is manufactured by Kershaw, and was created by Ken Onion, one of the world’s top knife designers.  He is a mulit-awarded designer of inventive and original knives. What makes this knife popular among many cooks and chef’s whether at home or in professional kitchens is how comfortable they are to hold. This design features a Damascus blade characterized by a generous tip, curved cutting edge, and wide surface area designed to quickly and easily prep food with little effort. It has a specially contoured bolster that gives the knife excellent balance. The design of the handle further ensures comfort while working by releasing arm tension and allowing smoother movements..

This Shun Ken Onion Chef’s Knife is forged from a VG-10 stainless-steel which allows it to resists corrosion and rust as well as keep its sharp edge for a long, long time. It Pakkawood handle meanwhile is designed to have both strength and beauty with a deep, warm glow that displays a lovely line. However what makes the handle truly remarkable is that it is a well-balanced, highly maneuverable tool that feels just perfect in the hand without slipping or rubbing.

The Shun Ken Onion is available in different style and several blade sizes ranging from 4.5 inches to 14 inches.  Here we will discuss the most popular designs.

Shun Ken Onion Chef’s Knife Elite

Part of the outstanding Shun Elite collection, this eight-inch chef’s knife is distinctive with its curved black handle, another innovation from the award-winning custom knife designer. It is made of PakkaWood which is actually a combined hardwood-resin. It displays an inlaid traditional Japanese emblem and fine rings of copper and brass near the bolster. The design is truly ergonomic for the purpose of increasing control and at the same time reducing stress and strain on the hands during long periods of chopping, mincing, and slicing.

The Shun Elite knives collection is known for their incredible sharpness which is due to the use of a new powdered steel alloy known as SG-2. The SG-2 will create a smooth-as-silk knife edge, formed with a 16 degree angle that allows cooks and chefs to cut uniformly thin slices.

Another distinctive design that makes this knife captivating is the “hamon,” which is actually a flourish etched along the edge of the blade akin to samurai swords.

Initially, using this knife may feel awkward to those who are used to more traditional knives.  However, give the knife a chance and, as with most, you may never use another knife again.

Shun Ken Onion Santoku Knife

Part of the Shun Ken Onion Series knives, this style is also made from premium materials such as VG10 super-steel and PakkaWood. It also has the distinctive suminagashi blade pattern as the Shun Classic knives. What sets this Hollow Ground Santoku apart is the handle which is curved to settle into the natural contours of your hand. Meanwhile the blade’s belly is curved to reduce cutting fatigue as well as to give the knife excellent versatility.  This santoku knife has a wider bolster with a contour curved thumb and forefinger rests that significantly eases and diminish tension during the food prep.

Each style knife, whether the Ken Onion Chef’s Knife or Santoku knife, will be sure to satisfy.  The choice is simply up to the users preference.  Find the knife for you, click here.