Japanese chefs use their Gyutos similarly to European chef’s knives but there are differences to the design. The greatest difference is a lighter, slimmer blade that is ground on one side to a more acute edge. Watch an oriental chef at work when you next have the opportunity. Their style is measured and thoughtful, as if they have a reverence for the food. Santoku knives are Gyuto derivatives with edges ground on both sides.
If you buy a Gyuto, remember to specify whether you are left or right-handed. Japanese chefs work so they can push the discards away with the flat face of the blade. Be careful not to become impatient and use it like a cleaver. The blade is broad, but the edge may be thinner that you are used to and could chip or dent.
Japanese food preparation is like a ritual in some ways. Professional chefs own two Gyutos, which they alternate everyday, and only they may touch them. At the end of each shift they hone the one they used, clean it carefully and let it rest to restore the characteristic patina. This also allows the metallic odour caused by sharpening to dissipate.
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