Japanese Chef Knives - The Gyuto

When we talk about Japanese chef knives in Australia, the one you may be most familiar with is the Gyuto knife. It is the Japanese version of the western chef’s knife and is very versatile — it can be used for everything from chopping vegetables to slicing different kinds of meat. 

Let’s dive into the origins and history of this tool, and the different ways you might use Gyuto knives in Australia.

 

Niko Nicolaides Custom Firestorm Gyuto

What Exactly Is It?

As we’ve said, a Gyuto is a chef’s knife in Japan. They are pretty long, measuring between 18mm and 24mm, and curve slightly in the midsection to make it easy to rock as you chop. They have sharp tips and a wide blade, the latter feature making it easy to move and transfer food using the knife. 

Because this blade is so versatile, you can use it for just about anything. 

The Origins And History

Gyuto is a term that means Japanese-style chef’s knife. Gyuto literally translates as cow or beef, making this knife ‘cow sword’ in Japanese.

These blades emerged as a response to and inspired by western knives that Japan imported during the end of the 19th century, during the Meiji era.

The supply of these knives increased for two reasons after this period. 

First, until this time Japan had sealed itself off from the world, meaning very little foreign culture and few foreign goods were allowed to enter Japan. When Japan began opening itself up, western-style chef’s knives flooded in along with European food culture. At this point, it became more common for people to start eating meat at dinner. The knife earned its name — Gyuto — because it was mainly used for cutting beef during the rise in meat-eating. As the culture of meat-eating was still evolving, the blade took its name owing to this association.

The second reason these knives were produced is because swords traditionally made by were no longer in great demand. While they still produced katanas and other weapons, blacksmiths turned to making kitchen knives as their rise in popularity proved to be an increasingly lucrative trade.

Niko Nicolaides Custom Firestorm Gyuto

Using a Gyuto

As we’ve established from the history of this knife, the Gyuto is a versatile, multi-purpose knife. Its shape and size make it ideal for a wide range of chopping, from vegetables to various different cuts of meat. 

Just like a western-style chef’s knife, it is ideal for a range of different tasks: it is well suited to dicing, slicing and mincing. It is built to handle just about anything in the kitchen. Many chefs advocate that you only really need one good knife, particularly if you are just cooking at home for friends and family. So, if you want to follow this advice, we recommend that you choose a Gyuto.

While Gyuto knives can be a more expensive option than many other models, they are well worth investing in because of their versatility. The sharp tip makes it excellent for piercing tough meat and making fine cuts, while its rounded belly enables easy rocking while you chop, and you can rock-chop stiffer produce.

The blade length varies based on what you are likely to use it for. Shorter blades are more nimble but long blades give you more power. If this is going to be the one knife you rely on, it is best to opt for a medium-length blade. 

Final Thoughts

Rich in culture and history, the Gyuto knife would be a great addition to any kitchen if you’re really interested in upping your home-cooking game. One of these blades is definitely worth the investment, as they’ll be sure to last years with proper care. Search for your own Japanese knife in Australia today!

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