Your ultimate guide to Japanese knives has arrived! We’ll look at why Japanese knives are a priority for those who love to cook and introduce you to Yaxell – a brand well known and respected by chefs all over the world.
Selecting the right knife for your needs typically comes down to how many hours you spend in the kitchen. For example, professional chefs and serious home cooks can spend anywhere between three to eight hours cooking every day. In which case, having a knife that serves as an extension of their arm is incredibly important as it drives efficiency.
But what about your average home cook? Let’s find out!
Who are Japanese knives aimed at?
If you cook because you have to and not because you truly enjoy it, Japanese knives probably aren’t for you – and that’s ok! But if you find cooking a real joy and you’re keen to learn new skills, Japanese knives might just be the perfect fit.
Here are the three main types of cooks who buy Japanese knives:
THE PROFESSIONAL – chefs and seasoned home cooks.
Favoured for their incredible sharpness, balance and precision, professionals turn to Japanese knives to help them be more productive in the kitchen. Love to perform for a crowd and show off your chopping skills? Japanese knives are often lightweight and are crafted using traditional sword-making techniques, making them ideal for speed and agility.
THE ENTHUSIAST – amateur home cooks looking to sharpen their skills.
Has the pandemic unearthed a passion for home cooking or have you been a keen cook for years? People looking to strengthen their kitchens with quality culinary tools often turn to Japanese knives to help them develop.
THE COLLECTOR – occasional cooks who seek the best of the best.
Sometimes only the best is good enough, regardless of how much time you spend in the kitchen, and it’s no secret… Japanese knives are extremely beautiful and make for an excellent talking point at dinner parties. Even if you keep them on display and only use them for special occasions, they are a dream to have around.
Japanese knives vs European knives
While European knives are more robust and have a thicker blade, Japanese knives are lighter, thinner and exceptionally sharp, smoothly slicing and gliding through ingredients. However, if you don’t teach yourself how to sharpen them properly or you constantly use a thin plastic cutting board instead of a quality wooden one, the tips on Japanese knives are more vulnerable to snapping.
If you’re a beginner cook, European knives are the sturdier option but if you’re a perfectionist and are passionate about looking after your tools, Japanese knives are very agile and will last for decades.
HINT: Wooden chopping boards are the preferred cutting surface for all knives because they can absorb the impact from chopping and are gentler on the blade.
Yaxell Japanese knives – loved by professional chefs the world over
Since 1932, Yaxell has been one of Japan’s leading knife manufacturers. Its knives’ incredible sharpness and fascinating Damascus steel blades have made them popular among both industrial kitchen chefs and discerning home cooks.
Yaxell takes pride in combining advanced technology with traditional craftsmanship to produce kitchen knives of the highest quality. The company is based in Seki, the Japanese capital for knife and sword-making for over 700 years. With a number of skilled and trained knife artisans, Yaxell proudly crafts and hones each knife by hand to perfection.
Journey to Japan
At Kitchen Warehouse, we’re proud to be the exclusive Australian retailer of Yaxell knives. While we stock a total of five different Yaxell collections, we’re going to focus on three core ranges, exploring the differences between them.
But first, here are some features all Yaxell knives have in common:
- Yaxell blades are heated in a very hot kiln and ice hardened. They are then tempered again using a high temperature. This heat treatment technique makes the blades strong, durable and corrosion resistant.
- Each blade has a hardness rating of 60-61 degrees (for VG10 core knives) or 62-63 degrees (for SG2 core knives) on the Rockwell scale, which means they don’t break or chip easily, despite the thin blade profile.
- The wood-like black handles on Yaxell knives are made of FDA-approved Canvas-Micarta, an odourless and highly durable material that is water-resistant, hygienic, and lasts decades.
- Lastly, Yaxell knives are suitable for both left and right handed users because they are sharpened on both sides of the edge (double bevel).
Yaxell Ran Plus
Made with a total of 69 layers of stainless steel, Yaxell Ran Plus is as functional as it is artistic and is admired for its stunning and intricate Damascus pattern on both sides of the blade.
Loaded with added details and finishes that make it unique, Yaxell Ran Plus knives have two extra features that give it the ‘plus factor’. The hand engraved logo on the blade has four letters meaning ‘RAN multilayered knife’ and there is also a hand engraved logo on the grip end, with a letter meaning ‘RAN, the sensational’. The engraving on a Ran Plus knife is only done by a master engraver and there are two such engravers at Yaxell. This a specialist craft that takes years to perfect.
WHO WOULD BUY IT?
This range is perfect for discerning professionals and cooks who need high-calibre knives that are long lasting and do not require constant sharpening.
Made with a total of 37 layers of stainless steel, Yaxell Zen are ultra-sharp and highly resistant to corrosion. Packed with many of the features you would expect from Yaxell knives, but with the added impact of the hammered finish.
WHO WOULD BUY IT?
Yaxell Zen is an excellent fit for skilled home cooks, collectors or anyone who admires excellent craftsmanship, form and function.
Made with a total of three layers of stainless steel, Yaxell Mon proves there is beauty in simplicity. The smooth blade features a beautiful sword wave line on the edge, paying homage to traditional sword making. Mon means ‘the beautiful wave line’ so the letter you see on the blade describes the knife.
WHO WOULD BUY IT?
Anyone looking to level up their chopping skills and equip their kitchen with quality tools that will last for years. Yaxell Mon is a high-end collection at an accessible price point.
Once you switch to Japanese knives, you won’t go back! Plus, Yaxell knives make incredible gifts. Just saying!