Kitchen

Lee Valley Peasant Chef knife

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Slicing and chopping kitchen knife

My mother has never asked me for anything the past thirty years. The moment that she saw my peasant chef knife…it became hers. I bought it 4 years ago to teach french knife techniques to students at church, and quickly found that it was far better than most knives on the market under $100.

I suspect that Rob Lee made this $36 knife as a love-letter to his mom. It’s perfectly sized for a woman, and kicks the snot out of most non-custom chef knives on the market.

Blade steel: This is o1 steel. This pure steel gets sharp enough to shave translucent slices of tomato, but is tough enough to debone a duck. As a blade steel, o1 gets far sharper than most western stainless steels (victorinox, forschner, Furi, cutco, wustoff, etc) and far tougher than japanese steels (shun, global, etc).

Blade profile: This 6 3/4″ blade looks non-intimidating like a stubby santoku. However, this chef knife is based on a centuries old French chef knife. The blade is thinner than most German profile blades (Wustoff, Henkles), which allows it to cut easier. There is an adequate distal taper, meaning that the knife doesn’t get wedged in place. There is a usable point, with a nice curve that allows the full length of the knife to be used.

Handle: The handle is nicely shaped pakka wood. While knives shouldn’t be put through the dishwasher, this handle will likely be indestructible. It is also (like most things Lee Valley) very comfortable and handsomely made.

This knife shouldn’t be special. However, I know of no other knife on the market that offers a decent blade, good profile, and comfortable handle.

-- Matthew Lau 05/3/16