Object Of Desire: The Togiharu Hammered Damascus Gyutou Knife

Food & Drink

The Togiharu Hammered Texture Damascus Gyutou is the perfect “gateway drug” into the world of exquisite Japanese knives.

Korin

Like many Americans, I grew up under the impression that if you loved to cook and wanted good knives for the kitchen, the ones to buy were German models from a handful of famous brands carried at the big department stores and top kitchenware specialists. Over the years, I amassed a substantial collection of these blades.

Then I went to Japan.

I got my first Japanese steel more than a decade ago and immediately began to wonder why we bother cooking with anything else. The knife was so much sharper, more elegant and simply better in every way that I eventually stopped using my block full of German knives.

I have returned to Japan half a dozen times since, and on each trip I’ve brought back at least one knife from Tokyo’s amazing restaurant supply district. I’ve turned culinary loving friends on to them and given them as holiday gifts.

Japanese knives come in a dizzying array of styles, steel compositions and intended uses, but the biggest thing that sets them apart is that they are beveled differently, often on just one side, to a thinner, sharper, more razor-like edge, while traditional Western knives are beveled on both sides to a thicker, and ultimately duller, edge that in profile looks like a V. Because of this, some styles of Japanese knives require buying different models depending on whether you are right- or left-handed.

The gyutou is ideal for skilled chefs or home cooks.

Korin

As fun as it is to go shopping for knives in Tokyo, you do not have to cross the Pacific to get a good blade. They do not come cheap, however, and a good one can easily set you back more than two or three hundred dollars for a single knife. New York’s Korin is a Japanese cutlery specialty store that has arguably the best selection in the country, and I’ve bought knives there and recommend the Togiharu brand, one of many they carry, as the best combination of excellent quality and reasonable price. Each is hand-finished and hand-sharpened, not mass-produced, and they are stain-resistant VG-10 steel, easier to maintain for the home cook than some of these knives, while keeping a sharper edge longer.

Among the many Japanese shapes and styles, I suggest starting with a gyutou, the versatile equivalent of a Western chef’s knife. This do-it-all shape can be used for cutting meat, fish and vegetables, perfect for most recipes from most cuisines. Because of the price, quality, shape and style, the Togiharu Hammered Texture Damascus Gyutou is a perennial bestseller at Korin. The “tsuchi-me,” or hand-hammered texture, is purely decorative, but it will impress curious dinner guests, while this is one of the models that can be used by both right- and left-handed cooks.

This story was written in collaboration with Forbes Finds. Forbes Finds covers products we think you’ll love. Featured products are independently selected and linked to for your convenience. If you buy something using a link on this page, Forbes may receive a small share of that sale.

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