Multipurpose Traditional Japanese Knife
The kiritsuke is the closest a typically specialized Japanese chef knife comes to its Swiss Army cousin: Its unique shape—sword-like and single-edged—makes it useful for many applications.
“It’s the most versatile traditional Japanese knife,” explains Chef Louis. “I don’t have to switch back and forth between knives. So instead of pulling out a yanagi or usuba, I usually go for my kiritsuke and use it for most everything, whether slicing sashimi or cutting vegetables.”
But while the kiritsuke is multi-purpose, it’s expressly not a beginner’s knife. This blade requires serious knife skills to use effectively. In Japan, typically only ryori-cho (executive chefs) wield a kiritsuke, a testament to their status and experience.
In fact, Chef Louis first earned his cooking chops before picking up his kiritsuke:
“I bought my first chef knife from Korin when I was seventeen. I remember seeing a kiritsuke at the time, and thought it was awesome. After years working my way up in the kitchen, and then getting my first sous chef job, I thought, okay, this is the moment: I special-ordered my kiritisuke from Korin—and timed delivery for my birthday! A special present to myself. “
Watch Chef Louis demonstrate his kiritsuke in action:
Thank you, Chef Louis!