We love to cook, which is not really all that unusual with people who love wine. Cheri and I both enjoy it, and kitchen stores are wondrous places for us. While we can’t really afford them, we love to look at high end pots and pans, $1500 Espresso makers and, of course, world class knives. To be honest the knives are my favorites, and I am always drawn to that section of the store. There’s just something about an expensive, exquisitely made piece of hardened steel, especially when it is perfectly balanced in the hand. You can feel quality in a good kitchen knife. It should be heavy, but not too much so. It should be razor sharp and stay that way for a long time. It should look good, feel good and perform. Using a great knife just makes the whole experience better.
Over the years we have acquired some good knives. This has resulted in a rather eclectic collection, as they were bought individually and from different places. My 6 inch chef’s knife is a Henckel’s, a quality workhorse I have used for decades. My 8 inch chef’s knife is from the Calphalon Katana series, a beautiful blade made from Damascus style steel, and you can see the many folded layers that were forged into this. It looks great and performs as well. There are assorted carving knives and specialty knives. The most prevalent knife manufacturer in the collection, though, is a relatively newer company. That is Gunter Wilhelm.
Only around since 2002, Gunter Wilhelm has established a reputation with professional chefs as well as home cooks. Their knives meet all of the above criteria, they look great, are beautifully balanced and properly weighted, and cut like a dream. We added the 10 inch chef’s knife from their Executive Chef Series to our collection a few years ago. Then last year we added the 7 inch vegetable cleaver from the same series. For good measure we also purchased the 10 inch honing steel. I use the large chef’s knife and Cheri prefers the vegetable cleaver. These are great knives.
So you’re at a wine and food event and there is a booth for Gunter Wilhelm knives. They have plenty of knives out and some tomatoes on a cutting board for people to try cutting. We’ve been there, done that, and bought the knives already. So you look quickly at the wares on display, nod at the product rep and say “we already have some of these”, pointing out the Executive Chef Series 10 inch knife. With a smile you start to walk away. Then he says, “but have you tried this?” I am now a little annoyed because I am intrigued, I just can’t help myself. Cheri is pulling at me, saying something like “you already have enough knives!” And, of course, she is right. Still, could it hurt to look?
The knife in question is from the Thunder ProCut Collection, a new line from Gunter Wilhelm. This knife has a slightly rounder, thicker handle. It still has the full tang construction and the ice quenched steel and all that really good stuff. The handle is the key here though. That little bit of extra fullness just fills your palm perfectly, and it feels like an extension of your arm. The weight is perfect. The balance is perfect. It is, without question, the most comfortable of all the knives I own or have tried. This is really well done.
Of course the edge is razor sharp. You expect that in any quality knife. What you get here is that feeling, which you can’t get everywhere, that this thing was made for your hand. It’s really quite extraordinary.
The line comes with all the basics, from a paring knife, steak knife, 8 and 10 inch chef’s knive, a boning knife and two Asian inspired blades, the 7 inch Santoku and an absolutely beautiful, 7.5 inch Nakiri. Grab these in a set and you are in business, pretty much forever since they warranty them that long.
You can see the full line on Gunter Wilhelm’s website . We were fortunate enough to get an 8 inch chef’s knife for review, and I popped it out of the box, gave it a quick wash and started breaking down some chicken. It felt just as it had at the wine event, and just to be sure I alternated back and forth between it and my 10 inch Gunter Wilhelm Executive Chef knife, until now my favorite. The Thunder ProCut is just flat out better, in every way.
Now to be fair, these are not inexpensive. On their website the 8 inch Thunder ProCut Chef’s Knife will run you $140, discounted from $170. That is an expensive knife. Clearly we are in the upper end, but nowhere near the top end (check out the Nesmuk Janus 7 inch chef’s knife sometime – which is four times the price). If you have the resources, care enough about what you slice up your food with, and just love great kitchen stuff, then this knife is for you. If you want world class without paying silly money for a name, then this is definitely a knife you need to look at. Actually it would make a perfect gift for you, so a few hints to your family might be in order! If you could only have one knife in your kitchen, this just might be the one.
If you prefer something a little less expensive we suggest the Gunter Wilhelm Executive Chef Series, which will run you about half as much, and which we have bought personally and love. I don’t love them quite as much anymore, however. The Thunder ProCut has ruined some of that for me. It’s that good.
You can see everything Gunter Wilhelm offers at their website: https://www.gunterwilhelm.com/
A votre santé!