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Old 12-06-2021, 04:59 PM
ellamac ellamac is offline
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Making a knife for a professional kitchen

So, I recently learned that the daughter of my 2nd-grade teacher is going to work in a professional kitchen. Her parents told me that they would love to have a knife produced by me as a gift for her and that they want it done by me because I was her elementary school classmate and they like the idea that it was made by me. Anyway, with that stated, I told them that I'd love to make something for her, but I'd have to check to see whether it was even legal to use in the kitchen because I'm aware that the FDA or whoever has rules for personal knives. I'd just ask their daughter what is lawful and what isn't in the kitchen. However, I believe they would prefer it to be more of a surprise for her, and I believe they are more concerned with my crafting something she wants than with it being a surprise, so I may wind up asking her soon.
So, my question for today is, "Can a chef just bring in a custom stainless/carbon steel knife and start using it?" I'm embarrassed to ask because I've heard that many cooks prefer carbon steel blades. Perhaps some of you have created a knife that can be utilized in a professional setting? I simply feel like there's something I'm missing because I'm aware that the FDA may send a place to hell if anything isn't done according to protocol and poses a risk to the person eating the food produced with the knife. I'm also curious if certain kitchens are against carbon steel blades because they patina and I've heard that flavors from previous meals prepared with the same knife might be passed on to another meal prepared with the same knife. If that's the case, isn't stainless steel the only option? Right now, I'm debating whether to make it out of stainless steel or carbon steel. G10 or micarta scales, full tang blade, stainless or brass Corby bolts,.090 or.100 stock thickness, and a full flat grind with a 600 grit hand-sanded finish are all desirable features.
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Old 12-07-2021, 08:45 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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While I have made them from both stainless and hi-carb, my clients all seem to prefer the hi-carb. Haven't made a stainless in several years now.
As far as the FDA bunch, I haven't heard any of the clients mention any problems. It is up to the "kitchen" to keep everything sanitary/clean to specs.
I would think any professional chef would be conscious of cross contamination of flavors anyway and handle the issue as the professional they claim to be.
Bottom line would be the choice of nonporous handle material and clean transition joints (no foreseeable flex gaps).
Really don't think you can go wrong with either, but if you have these concerns then default to stainless.


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Old 12-07-2021, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellamac View Post
So, my question for today is, "Can a chef just bring in a custom stainless/carbon steel knife and start using it?"
In my experience (small sample size, though), the answer depends on the restaurant. I've made custom pattern-welded knives for places where the response was, "Don't worry about that. The health inspectors aren't looking at the knives...." And there are places where the person in charge was concerned about following the letter of the law instead of the spirit.

It seems that the handle is more the worry than the steel used for the blade, The two things that were consistent were: (1) Don't use natural woods/bone for the handle unless it's professionally stabilized, and (2) make sure the fit/finish is tight so there are no gaps (in the handle, bolster, etc) for food to get stuck in.

Last edited by billyO; 12-07-2021 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 12-07-2021, 02:10 PM
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M&J M&J is offline
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Depends on the kitchen though corporate may have specifics they implement too. Similar for me with a tight non-porus composite type handle, I did use ATS-34 for those pieces in the day.

One shop that supplied some restaurants in the Vegas casino's told me that they sold tons of the Global kitchen knives to these places.

The sushi chefs use the traditional knives from Japan that have a press fit wood handle. Reminds me of this video:
https://youtu.be/rPXH_otX5Io


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