"When I work with a cold material such as stainless steel, I look to nature for my inspiration. Using the organic shapes of nature, I am able to create harmony between the person and the utensil."
-Komin Yamada, designer of the GLOBAL knife
I love cooking and consider myself an amateur chef, but as any chef will tell you, you are only as good as the tools in your kitchen...and no tool is more crucial than a good set of knives.
My personal preference is GLOBAL knives.
But before we get into this review of GLOBAL knives, let's talk a little more about knives and cutting.
There are two types of cuts.
Push Cuts are performed by "pushing" the blade through the object being cut. Peeling an Apple for example, is a push cut as you are pushing the blade through the peel.
Slice Cuts are performed by dragging the surface of the knife back and forth across the object being cut. For example, cutting meat is a slice cut as you are moving the blade back and forth.
Now that we've addressed the two types of cutting, let's look at the types of knives you generally see in the store, serrated and plain. Serrated blades have teeth, while plain knives are smooth.
People tend to like serrated blades because they generally don't need to be sharpened, and often a dull serrated blade will still cut while a plain dull blade will not. The conventional thought is that serrated blades tend to work really well for slice cuts, while plain blades work well for push cuts. I tend to agree with this mode of thought, with the exception that if you have proper plain knives, that are highly sharpened, you'd be surprised at how well they can cut. I also feel that while serrated knives are good for many things, like slicing bread, they are terrible for chopping or cutting anything with precision.
I've noticed two types of serrated blades, one being your basic serrated knife that you'll find on most steak knives (large arcing teeth), and the other type that uses a combination of a serrated blade with an additional layer of tiny "needle-like" teeth.
I can't stand the latter as these tiny little teeth have a tendency to "tear" what they are cutting, and I while I own some of these knives, I never actually use them for anything beyond slicing bread.
When I decided to invest in a proper set of knives, I had some very specific criteria:
I'm a sucker for good clean design and as you can see the GLOBAL knife hits that mark perfectly. One highly polished, perfectly milled piece of steel with a delightful tactile dimpling along the handle.
The knives had to have a perfect balance in my hand. I needed it to feel comfortable in the handle, but also be light. When it comes to cutting, the balance should help the knife do most of the work, and not your wrists and arms.
I wanted a set of knives that could be expanded upon as my needs increased. I didn't want to buy into a brand of knives that as I purchased additional knives, they wouldn't match.
Quality and Durability
The most important aspect of all was a set of knives that had unparalleled quality and durability. I am not just buying another kitchen tool, I'm nearly making a lifetime investment.
Made by Yoshikin in Niigata, Japan, these knives are made in the tradition of Japanese sword making.
From their website:
The concept behind the development of the GLOBAL series was to bring together Italian design aesthetics, German durability, and Japanese precision. With an insistence that these three elements be melded without compromise among any one of them, development began in 1978 with a two-pronged approach focusing on design and technology.
From this view point, the concept "a knife made of a single piece of stainless steel from the point of the blade to the butt of the handle" without including foreign material, was perfected. We requested industrial designer Komin Yamada to design a new knife based on the above concept, which gave birth to GLOBAL knife.
After stamping the stainless steel blank into the shape of the blade, it is heat-treated at about 1000 degrees centigrade. After that, it undergoes the rapid cooling at minus 80 degrees centigrade. This "sub-zero treatment" increases the hardness of the blade, and the enhanced uniformity of the stainless steel's crystalline structure leads to the improved cutting qualities. After this "sub-zero treatment," the knife is once again passed to another heat treatment that takes about four hours. This tempering process makes the knife stronger, and tenacious.
The GLOBAL knife edge has a convex cross-sectional shape. From the ridge to the point of the blade, the edge is not a straight line, but rather forms a gradual curve. This makes the edge more effective for cutting, and the cut foods separate from the blade easily. After much trial and error, this shape was chosen as the best in terms of the excellence of cutting qualities and overall ease of use.
And from GLOBAL's UK site:
To balance their knives, Global uses a hollow handle which is then filled with just the right amount of sand to create the correct balance. Global uses this method rather than using a full tang and a bolster to balance their knives for two reasons. First, it is far more precise than using a tang and a bolster. Second, Asian knives typically do not have bolsters, since they only serve as a hindrance to cutting and sharpening.
Here are some of my recommendations:
This is a good GLOBAL three piece starter set.