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Wusthof Culinar knives are superb! They're beautiful to hold and give you total control for cutting. The handle design is very ergonomic. It's a pleasure to use them each time you use them and adds another dimension to the kitchen. Global knives (Japanese made) are often argued to be a better knife but the honing angle when sharpening these are concave - you need a specific sharpening tool to get them sharp. The German competitor, Wusthof has a honing edge that is flat not concave/circular so it can be sharpened by any steel, though there is a diamond coated steel by Wushof that sharpens a knife in 3 swipes each side - very impressive and again it gives you freedom and control in the kitchen. In comparison Wusthof are solid, robust made while I feel Global can be flimsy and delicate at times - you can easily damage a Global knife with its concave edge. These knives, the Culinar range are very practical and they will last a very long time. If you're into cooking in a big way this is a really good investment.
UPDATE AT BOTTOM Being a keen and sometimes over enthusiastic chef, I feel it's my duty to tell you about these knives. It wasn't long ago that I was hacking my way through a crusty loaf that ended up squashed to half it's original height and torn to pieces. It wasn't long ago that I struggled to slice through a large cabbage. And it wasn't long ago that I discovered the Wusthof range of knives. There biggest range is probably the Classic range, which are, well, very classic looking with the three rivets in the handle. But in 1999 they introduced the Culinar range. A very sleek and sexy satin steel handle in place of the original makes this one of the most pleasing knives around. The blades are absolutely no different to the Classics, but it is the handle that makes them what they are. Someone, somewhere in a German knife factory has spent a lot of time researching their hands and what's comfortable to hold. The slightly curved, smooth steel on these knives fits snugly in the palm of the hand making it one of the most comfortable feeling knives I?ve held. The blades themselves are fully forged, which means that one piece of steel is used to make the blade which runs down through to the tip of the handle. This makes it sturdier and less likely to snap off. In recent weeks I have been lucky enough to try out two other makes of knife, Henckals, also German, and Global, Japanese. What can I say? The clever men at Global clearly have a great marketing department. The knives are very light, but not particularly comfortable to hold, the handles are not a great shape. If you compare the width of the chefs or cooks knives between Global and either of the German made, there is one clear difference. The quality and thickness of the steel is far superior in the German knifes. At the base of the blade on the cooks knives it is over twice as thick on both Wusthof and Henckels, which in turn makes them much more sturdy when it comes to cutting through larger objects. To get the same thickness from Global you have to go up a price bracket and pay £80 plus. Another major difference is the type of knives shows clearly with the Flexible filleting knife. When filleting fish it is important to have a good flexible knife, the global knife is flexible from around the top quarter of the blade and to an angle of no more than 25 degrees. The Wusthof knife bends from around one third up the blade and to an angle of around 60 degrees, it's really very impressive. In my opinion, Global are expensive and lacking the quality... Anyhoo, back to Culinar... As this set of knives was only released a couple of years back, the range isn't yet as big as the Classic or the Grand Prix from Wusthof, but they added 8 to the range in 2001, and they released another 8 in February this year, for the fans of the bigger knives this includes a 10"(26cm) Cooks Knife and a 16cm Filleting Knife. Unfortunately the flexible filleting knife isn't yet available in Culinar. The drawback to the Culinar range is the price. Now, it really is worth paying out on your knives, you don't realise what a difference it makes until you use a good quality knife. A price comparison for Wusthof Classic and Culinar and Global is something like this: 20cm Cooks Knife: Classic - £52.00. Culinar - £69.00. Global ? £39.95 for the thinner steel and £79.95 - £89.95 for the thicker steel. The full range of Culinar now contains: Japanese Cooks Knife (Granton Edge ? see note below) 20cm Bread Knife 23cm Bread Knife Cheese Knife for hard cheese Cheese Knife for Soft cheese Cheese Knife for Parmesan 26cm Cooks Knife 23cm Cooks Knife 20cm Cooks Knife 18cm Cooks Knife 16cm Cooks Knife 16cm Fillet Knife 26cm Super Slicer Deli Knife Sausage Knife (Which is great for Tomat oes) 8cm Paring Knife 7cm Curved Peeling Knife 9cm Paring Knife 12cm Utility Knife 12cm Steak Knife 14cm Tomato Knife 14cm Boning Knife 16cm Straight Carving Fork 16cm Sandwich Knife 20cm Carving Knife 23cm Long Slicer 23cm Diamond Sharpener They are sticking with the range and plan to release another 8 knives in February 2003. It is recommended to sharpen your knives every time you use them, but who, honestly, does this? I do all my knives once a month, but when spending this much money I shall probably double this to keep the edge. If you want to spend a little less, then go for the Classic range, the same blades with different handles. And here's a little known fact for you. Sabatier knives can be made by anyone. As can Solingen Knives. So, while you can get very good quality Sabatier, you can also get cheap rubbish Sabatier, so be careful. If it says "Sabatier V" on the blade, this means it is also made outside France. Still, for your monies worth, and believe me it is more than worth spending out on a good set of knives, you can't go wrong with German Forged Steel, and my recommendation of Wusthof. NOTE: The Granton Edge is a speciality to Wusthof, others have tried and failed to recreate it. Basically, there are small dimples running the length of the blade on slicing and carving knives. The dimples are off-set so as not to run completely parallel on both sides of the blade. When you slice through lets say Ham, or Smoked Salmon, the dimples allow air between the blade and the food so that it literally falls from the knife and doesn't stick. It's an ingenious invention that works so well. Don?t be fooled by cheap replicas though. They don?t work as well as the dimples are nearly always running parallel on both sides of the blades. This hasn't yet been released in culinar but is available in the Classic range for Carvi ng Knives. One last thing, check your prices before you buy. Prices are set by the company and most places stick to this, but some do vary, both up and down. i.e 26cm Cooks Knife £79.00, 23cm Bread Knife £65.00, 23xm Cooks Knife £69.00, 16cm Fillet Knife £55.00. This is just the manufacturers price to give you a rough idea, but do check. --------------Update---------------- I haven't been on dooyoo for a long time but wanted to come back revisit some of my original reviews. I've now been using my Culinar knives for almost 6 years and the same set is still going strong. I turned professional chef in 2003 and these knives have taken a serious battering over the years. The only thing that happened was the logo badge falling off one of the knives. With care and love they have remained as good as they were when I first got them. I would still recommend these knives to anyone who cooks alot. Although the paring knife has been renamed as "the packet opening knife" which is all it ever gets used for. I don't think I'll be changing knives for a long time to come as these really are the workhorse of the chefs knives.