The knife of your dreams, come to life
A bad knife is a cook’s worst nightmare. Whether you are a professional chef or an amateur home cook, a good chef’s knife is an essential. But what makes a good knife? You want to look at a few aspects, such as the weight of the knife, the sharpness of the blade, the type of steel being used, and the craftsmanship behind the knife. And one thing that is universally agreed upon within the cooking community is that Japanese crafted knives are some of the best cooking knives to use.
In comes Syosaku, a Japanese tableware firm specializing in producing Urushi glass plates and some of the best hand-forged kitchen knives you could possibly find. Syosaku’s owner, Toshi Sekiya, is one of the masterminds behind this tableware brand. The Syosaku knives are made by some of the best artisans from Sakai, Japan. If you aren’t familiar with Sakai, this port city in Japan has one of the longest histories of creating knives using the same techniques as forging samurai swords. Depending on the type of knife, it could take up to six months for the artisans to craft the finished product from scratch. Syosaku offers a variety of knives to select from. From paring knives all the way to their beautiful chef knives, each Syosaku knife is individually crafted and can be customized with items such as engraving the knives in Chinese characters.
We were lucky enough to receive one of the Syosaku knives to try for ourselves. We tried the most popular knife, the Syosaku Japanese Chef Knife Hammered Damascus VG-10 16 Layer Mahogany Handle. When the knife first arrived, we couldn’t help but notice how simple and chic the exterior looked. The box it came in was in a beautiful tan shade with Japanese kanji in the front. And at the bottom, it had a “Made In Japan” insignia. When we opened the box up, we were met with the knife of our dreams. At first sight, our eyes were drawn to the beautiful brown shade of the mahogany handle. And as our eyes moved up, we were met by the glistening sheen of the hammered Damascus steel knife. The marks on the steel looked beautiful, and the blade of the knife looked incredibly sharp. As we looked closer, we noticed a light engraving on the knife which added personalization to it. The nice thing about this knife is that it is made with Damascus steel. If you aren’t too familiar with the types of steel that can be used with kitchen knives, Damascus is a type of steel that combines the hardness of traditional carbon steel with the flexibility of stainless steel.
With this much anticipation for the knife, it was finally time to try it out. Upon lifting the knife for the first time, we immediately noticed how lightweight it was. Considering the size of the knife, the weight of it felt comparable to the weight of a small paring knife you could find in a KitchenAid bundle set. The knife itself is also so easy to handle which helps with difficult cutting techniques that require precision and accuracy. Our first test was using the knife to slice up a head of lettuce. What was incredibly surprising was how easily this knife sliced through all the layers of the lettuce, making it seem as if this vegetable was as thin as paper. As we separated each piece of lettuce, we noticed how the cut went right through. This is a true testament to how sharp this knife is. Typically when cutting vegetables with a dull knife, the cuts aren’t as clean and there are always a few pieces left connected at the very bottom. We then wanted to see how this knife could be used against meat. Typically with any type of meat, you want to score it. Scoring is the method of taking the tip of a knife and adding a crosshatch pattern to the meat. This allows the excess fat of the meat to drain and lets the marinades and seasonings absorb all throughout the meat. Whenever you try to score, it is important to never use a dull knife as it can both ruin the piece of meat as well as potentially lead to an injury. We took this Syosaku knife and inserted it roughly ⅛ deep into the meat. The way that the tip of the knife glided through the meat was incredible. There was never a need to pause and redo due to dullness.
Overall, the Syosaku knife is one of our favorite knives to have as a chef. The sharpness, hold, weight, and craftsmanship of this knife is unmatched. A good chef’s knife is a staple in any kitchen and it is worth it to spend a little more to get a knife that will last for years and years to come. Each knife can be custom ordered to cater to the cook’s preference. A variety of different wooden handles and handedness are available. And further customization can be added by having the knife engraved with a name in Chinese characters. As the knives range in price from $55 – $3,000, there is the perfect fit for every chef from home cooks to Michelin kitchens.