I feel more than blessed, once again, to take part in a product review for such an outstanding company and line of products. In past reviews, I’ve delighted in the food and flavors, as well as in the pure ecstasy of tried and true testing of cookware. This time, though, the enchantment came upon me in the way of a kitchen utensil…the Chef’s Knife.
I’m a fanatic in the kitchen when it comes to quality. Food quality is of utmost importance, for sure. I simply will not cut corners nor will I skimp in any way shape or form.
When it comes to quality cookware, I’m all over that as well. (The boys at home will never truly understand this, try as I might to equate a Le Creuset or Staub to a Gibson Les Paul guitar ~ they may never truly understand my love affair with a La Cornue ~ ). In any case, I may never completely convince those not immersed in the culinary world of the utter necessity of quality tools – you really do get what you pay for – but I refuse to back down on my stance. Furthermore, no matter what, when creating in the kitchen, the need for a high quality knife ranks supreme in my book.
Enter the Sora.
Touted as the “essential kitchen knife,” this particular 8″ Chef’s Knife truly is ideal for all-around food preparation. I remember reading years ago that with all the fancy-schmancy knife collections available for hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, and a giant knife block to fill up the coveted space atop your kitchen countertop, all a true chef really needs is an essential chef’s knife and a good paring knife companion. And it’s so true…professional chefs travel with their one or two essentials – and that’s it – and THIS is it!
Having grown accustomed to the shape of several of my “Western” knives, the fact that the Sora displays slightly less curve was a change. The shape and curvature, as the knife fit into my hand took a bit of getting used to. You know, the proper way to handle a knife involves a bit of gripping on the end of the blade, just above the handle. This blade felt entirely different and foreign at first, almost as though the potential to develop a callus would ensue with extended use. Fear not, I definitely extended my use of this masterpiece over the first few days and no callus arose. My hand and the knife grew into one – an extension of each other – as should be the case, and the results were fantastic.
Speaking of the shape of the blade, constructed with less curve, the knife contacts the board (and the food) with greater length, and thus greater efficiency. The knife needs to be lifted less, creating quite an experience.
The weight of the Sora is also pleasingly addictive. The composite blade certainly is not heavy, but provides just enough weight in the palm of your hand for the ideal chopping and slicing rhythm.
As I investigated not only the feel and performance of the Sora, I carefully inspected the intricate appearance:
Sora uses Shun’s proprietary Composite Blade technology to bring together a VG10 san mai cutting edge with a Japanese 420J stainless steel upper. This technology puts high-performance material exactly where it’s needed—on the edge. The two blade sections are laser cut, then fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Braze welding permanently joins them. The attractive wavy pattern at the joint is based on traditional Japanese sword hamon lines. While Sora’s blade shapes and handle design are traditional Japanese, the textured PP/TPE polymer blend handle material provides a contemporary look, secure grip and balance, and is easy to maintain.
Pretty fantastic, right?
Sleek, sexy, superb…practical and downright perfect.
As I read about the knife and watched the promotional video, I felt as though I was transported into an alternate universe. A culinary dream, if you will. Way to go, Shun!
So, there are certain items, in my opinion, that truly put a blade to the test. Meat, tomatoes, herbs, and fibrous veggies.
I tried and tested them all.
A poorly shaped and incorrectly constructed knife will simply tear apart the precious fibers of a good cut of meat. The Sora delicately rendered the fibers of both raw and cooked meat, and hot and cold alike as well. I was impressed.
Tomatoes…oh, with a bad knife and a dull blade, tomatoes are a no-go. In fact, the blade can even slip across the delicate skin creating a “no bueno” situation. The Sora and a garden fresh tomato: miraculous.
I tested fresh herbs, cilantro and basil in particular. The Sora, quite literally, rocked in this category. (You foodies will know the pun and multi-use of the term “rock” in this case). Outstanding.
I also took a pass at the all too fibrous roots of rutabagas, parsnips, and even fresh kohlrabi. Shun performed over and above any kitchen knife I’ve used in the past. Excellent.
Oh, and finally, having a quite a plethora of Kerrygold cheese on hand at the moment, I certainly tested the laser cut blade to a hearty block of cheese (or two). Precision, indeed.
Thus, without a doubt, the Shun Sora may be both touted and deemed, “THE ESSENTIAL KITCHEN KNIFE.” It most certainly is in my kitchen.
And, as I’m caught in the midst of a much dreaded housing transition once again, I’ve completely packed my kitchen for 3 months of storage with the exception of one item in particular that will be traveling with me and with me alone: my Sora.