I'm in the market for a knife. Now, a few years ago, this would have been easy. I would have bought a Wusthof knife. Wusthoff and Henckels were the original high-end knives available in the US. My Grammy had Henckels, my Mom had Wusthof, and that was that. You had one or the other. I mean, you could be retarded and buy a Cutco knife, but why the hell would you do that?
Compliments of Food Network, I think, the American consumer has become increasingly gourmet; increasingly discerning. This means the market for cooking equipment has exploded. So along with Wusthof and Henckels, in the world of chef's knives we now have Global, MAC, Shun, Tojiro, Nenox, Hatori, and a bazillion others. Where the hell do I start?!
The two big places from which to buy knives appears to be Germany and Japan. Germany obviously gives us Wusthof and Henckels, but Japan's offerings are seemingly limitless. And I have no freaking clue how to distinguish the knives from one another.
My quest began after I bought a new Wusthof Classic and was somewhat disappointed with its cutting ability. I realized that, because of my mother and grandmother, I had bought something without doing any research. I never do this! Without further ado, I hit the interpipes and found this comparison that put both Wusthof and Henckels (my boys!) BOTH of them near the bottom of the list! Holy shit!
Now, admittedly, this was out-of-the-box sharpness, and my own experiences with my Wusthof don't completely line up with his test, but my knife certainly doesn't compare to his descriptions of the top knives.
So I've made the decision. I'm going to buy new knives. I'm not going to buy German, so I'm left with the Japanese. Holy crap, I have no idea where to go with this. The sheer number of high-end Japanese knife companies is overwhelming. The number of styles is overwhelming. There are different thicknesses, different metals, and even different types of blades. I found Japanese Chefs Knife, which has a comically bad website, but is actually an upstanding company. They have knives for sale that exceed $2000 for ONE KNIFE.
I can't rely on advice from celebrities. Alton Brown uses Shun, but the comparison wasn't kind to them. Thomas Keller endorses MAC. I really have no idea where to go. If you were hoping to get some final resolution to all of this, I'm sorry to disappoint you. I'm using this to express my bewilderment at the number of options. I'll update this with the information that I acquire and hopefully provide some info for other knife shoppers.