I have this book:http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Knife-Skills-Essential-Important/dp/1584796677/
It is for knife skills.
I noticed Jacques Pépin pulls out at least:
- A French chef's knife
- A cheap Santoku
- A Deba (Japanese chef's knife)
- A sashimi knife
I may have seen a Nakiri or Usuba in there but I only got a glimpse for a few frames and I think it may have been the sashimi knife.There are no resources available on kitchen knife technique with the santoku as a primary.
Odd, since Westerners have become fascinated with the santoku over the French and German chef's knives. It's either a fad or a shift, but I see a lot of chatter about "Should I try a santoku?" "Get a cheap one, you'll love it or hate it." "I never use my chef's knife anymore!" going on. I don't know why, because there are a lot of technical differences in technique, and attempting to directly apply French/German chef's knife technique to the santoku will quickly make you hate it.
The one difference I see cited is you use more of an up and down chopping motion, as the knife doesn't rock. Watching Pépin, I can see that he uses a sliding motion. A santoku does not rock much--some have an exaggerated curve, most are mainly flat except at the tip, and many cheap American santoku are simply flat with a sheepsfoot tip. Pépin rapidly slices mint, mushrooms, and the like not by using a simple up and down chopping motion (as has been expressed on online resources), but by using this motion with a slight draw forward
, slice slice slice instead of just smash smash smash with your hopefully-sharp-enough blade.
Even a razor sharp blade will simply compress skin if pressed (I should know, I play with blades sharp enough to explode a hair at a touch) until enough force is added; but if barely touching and drawn they will slice completely through the skin. Moving the blade with a slight draw was not a technique I'd seen before--and this is exactly what I'm looking for.
Pépin is amusing, by the way. He somehow does rock the santoku when he really wants to--notably to chop up garlic, which is some kind of miracle (watch him do it once or twice, the knife becomes a blur for a few seconds and then you have finely chopped garlic). Often he just uses a Deba or French chef's knife for that, but truth be told the man has every kind of knife and will simply grab one if he doesn't need something particular--sashimi knife when fish shows up sure, but then any kind of generic chef's knife for something that requires a chef's knife.
Ah well, ramble ramble ramble. I've been touching up my knife skills lately. It's fun to be able to just zip through some food in a few seconds. Chop chop chop chop chop I've got a chiffonette of mint leaves ready in two seconds, throw some honey on the greek yogurt and a few walnuts and lemon zest and toss the mint on there, I has yogurt!