The world of kitchen cutlery can be fairly complicated.
There is such a wide set of tools, each with its own collection of benefits and uses, that keeping track of every single one can be tough, especially when you add the world of Japanese knives to the mix.
While some Japanese knives will have Western counterparts, others will not, which is why a lot of people find themselves having a hard time figuring out which is which.
And that’s where we come in.
To help you understand what is what with Japanese knives, we’ll be talking about one of the most essential ones for any kitchen: the Gyuto.
In this article, we take a look at some of the qualities, uses, and benefits of this Japanese chef knife.
So read on to learn more.
What Is It?
In simple terms, a Gyuto is basically the Japanese version of a chef knife.
And the main difference between this knife and the ones you’ll find in a Japanese kitchen is that they aren’t actually fully Japanese.
In English, the term “Gyuto” directly translates to “beef sword” and is the direct response to high demand in the West for quality chef’s knives.
For a lot of history, Japanese blacksmiths made a living by creating katanas and other weapons, but as time went on, the demand for weapons slowly diminished, which is why they made the shift to making kitchen knives instead, which is how the Gyuto came to be.
It is roughly the same size and is used just like a chef knife, making it a real staple in the kitchen.
What Are The Uses?
As mentioned earlier, a Gyuto is used in the same way as a regular chef knife.
This means it’s an all-around workhorse in the kitchen that can be used to slice, chop, dice, and mince a bunch of different ingredients.
It works great with both vegetables and proteins, though you might have some trouble getting through heavier meat and bone, in which case you should use a cleaver.
This is a fairly long and lightweight tool and is much lighter than a regular Western-style chef knife, so it can also be used for very delicate tasks while also being able to tackle just about any prep job you throw at it.
So if you’ve been looking for a blade that you can use as an all-around tool in the kitchen and aren’t a fan of Western-style designs, then a Gyuto might be the right choice for you.
Now, let’s take a quick look at the features of a Gyuto.
As mentioned earlier, this is a Japanese version of the chef knife, so it has a blade that measures roughly the same length of around 8-12 inches.
This gives you a lot of surface area that you can use to easily slice through ingredients.
These blades can be made from a variety of steel, but they are usually made using high-quality and high-carbon steel alloys such as VG10, SG2, and AUS10 A steel.
This gives them a sharp edge that will last a long time and will also make them resistant to corrosion and staining.
This refers to the process of wrapping one material over another to protect the inner layer.
This is common practice with Japanese blades, and with a Gyuto, don’t be surprised if it has some sort of cladding to give it more strength while also providing for a unique aesthetic.
Normally, these blades will either have a Damascus cladding or Kurouchi cladding.
Damascus clad blades have risen in popularity in recent years and are made by folding different types of steel alloys over a strong steel core to give it more durability while also giving it an eye-catching wave-like pattern.
Kurouchi cladding, on the other hand, gives off a more subdued and rustic aesthetic.
It’s done by having a hard steel core and supporting it with a softer steel cladding around it.
With a Gyuto, you will typically have to deal with two types of handles which are the Wa handle and the Yo handle.
Wa handles are the ones used with most traditional Japanese knives.
It is known for being significantly lighter than the blade, which gives you more balance.
Yo handles are Western-style handles that are heavier and attached with steel rivets.
These are ideal for chefs who prefer a heavier feel as they can offer great balance if the lightweight knives aren’t cutting it for you.
So there it is.
We have covered all the basics that you need to know about the Gyuto.
It’s a great all-around tool, and would be a great substitute for any Western chef knife, and can even be used as a second option in the kitchen for certain tasks.
This is a tool that would benefit both professional and home cooks, so if you think this belongs in your arsenal, it might be time for you to head out and grab one yourself!
Last Updated on April 16, 2021 by Andy Wang