Tool of the Week: Shun Knives

Smack Writer, Editor, Mold Eater, Zip-Lock Wrangler

Shun Knives

Ask any chef and they’ll tell you that the one kitchen tool they can’t live without is a good knife.  The same is true in my home kitchen.  I cannot live without my stunning Shun knives, and I’ll tell you why they are a good investment for you too.

Japanese knives rank among the best in the word.  And yes, they come at a price.  My Shun Premier knives range from $100 to $200 individually, or start at $350 for a three-knife set – but they are well worth the price.  The first time you cut through a tomato or pepper like you’re cutting into warm butter, or make razor thin slices of meats or cheese without effort, you’ll swear you’ll never use another knife again.


The construction of the knife itself alone justifies the price.  When looking for a good knife you want a high quality steel or ceramic blade that is encased all the way through the handle of the knife, and a handle with a comfortable grip for optimal control.  Manufactured in the knife-making capital of Seki City, Shun’s knives are made from layered damascus steel with a striking, hand-hammered finish (known as “tsuchime” in Japanese), that reduces drag when cutting, keeping foods from sticking to the knife blade.  And don’t let the pretty pattern fool you.  Sandwiched between more than 30 layers of that Damascus steel, lies a thin hard core that creates the edge.  At Rockwell 61, it’s extremely hard, which gives it the ability to hold a 16-degree edge for a very long time.

As a female cook, I like the Shun for its light weight as well.  It does not feel heavy or clunky in my hand, and the handle has a nice grip which contours well to my slim hands.  For this reason, it may be more comfortable for you than some of the German knives on the market.

Still feeling overwhelmed by the idea of a big investment?  The good news is that you don’t need many knives.  If you are just starting out, look for a Chef’s knife in the 8”-10” range, a small utility knife in the 4”-6” range, and a serrated bread knife.  Add a good pair of kitchen shears, and you are good to go.  You can always add more knives to your collection as you desire.


Bottom line – try out several knives to get the best fit and weight for your hand and let the kitchen fun begin.  You’ll look forward to slicing and dicing with these premium blades, and that prep work will be surprisingly faster without the struggle of cutting using dull or wiggly blades.  While it is true that sharper blades typically mean less cuts to your own hands and fingers watch out!  My Shun knives are so beautifully sharp that I have nicked myself simply by accidentally grazing my finger on the back edge while chopping.  While I call that a sign of a good knife, we don’t want anyone in the emergency room!

Stay tuned next week for a review of the knife’s partner – a strong cutting board.

What a Tool!

The other tool of the week?  Johnny Manziel.  Manziel, who just completed rehab, has announced that he is letting go of his infamous money sign and dropping his “Johnny Football” persona.  While he is to be commended for these efforts, we’ll see what the new football season brings and whether he can really change his errant ways.  Perhaps refraining from throwing water bottles at the fans will be a good start.  Side note – frustration in the kitchen doesn’t end well either.  Always chop responsibly.