[Sca-cooks] student-grade knives?

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Mon Nov 26 03:54:37 PST 2007

On Nov 26, 2007, at 12:37 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> So what is the difference between "student-grade" and other (chef's?)
> knife sets? The student-grade knives are newer? Or they've been
> through less or are less experienced?

It's basic, entry-level equipment designed for teaching basic skills  
every student should have. They'll generally be of good, but not  
great, quality, not too expensive (since students tend to bleep them  
up); specifically they don't always hold an edge as well as some other  
knives but are usually pretty easy to sharpen. They're perfectly good  
knives some cooks will want to use for years and years, but a lot of  
professional, or just heavy users will find their skillsets veering  
off the Standard ones taught in schools and into relatively uncharted  
waters for which a different knife might be more appropriate. One  
thing I noticed, for example, is that most of the serious female  
cooking students found the standard "military-issue" 10-inch Dick to  
be uncomfortably long for them: it was about things like height,  
forearm length, leverage and moment arm. They tended to go for an 8- 
inch chef's knife, which always makes me want to talk in a squeaky  
voice and say, "Oooohhh, wook at da widdle chef's knife, how  
cuuutttee!!!" (Actually I often use an 8-inch knife at home, but  
that's largely because it's my lady wife's and she's comfortable with  
them. When she's not using a mucking great cleaver by preference, that  

Look at it this way: there are the cars with the little signs on top  
owned by driving schools, and then there are Maseratis. The driving- 
school cars will be cheap and very general-purpose, but, ideally, not  
so terrible that they'll force students to pick up compensatory bad  
habits. The Maserati (or whatever) is for experienced drivers who know  
that this is exactly what they need for reasons X, Y, and Z.

Similarly, these aren't the best knives in the world, but they're made  
by a reasonably reputable manufacturer, and inexpensive, for when  
nobody is looking and the student uses them to open paint cans. After  
which the more experienced user can sharpen them again and do good  
work with them.


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