The rather deceptively named Ken Onion series of chef's knives from Shun aren't actually designed for the sole purpose of cutting onions. With the truth being that Ken Onion is the name of the designer of this highly ergonomic series of multi-purpose kitchen knives. In this article we are going to be taking an indepth insight into the Ken Onion Chef's Knife range in its entirety, which includes the 4.5-Inch, the 6-Inch, the 8-Inch and 10-Inch variants.
Design and Craftsmanship
As you may well know, Shun are well known for the craftsmanship of their kitchen knives with their high quality steels and hand manufacturing processes. Of course however, there is always a risk when another designer is brought on board that the quality will waiver somewhat. So how does the Ken Onion series of chef's knives stack up against the Shun brand?
Despite his name, 'Ken Onion' has actually pretty much zero culinary experience, his experience within knife making comes from his expertise in developing high quality pocket knives, an area which he certainly does excel within -- having won multiple awards for his designs and models. Shun backs Ken and states that he has allowed for a fresh perspective for the design of a kitchen knife that was untarnished and unhindered by traditional ways of thinking. From the results, this has proved to be a very good and smart move on Shun's behalf with this series being extremely ergonomic and balanced. Countless customer reviews attest to this with many buyers stating that it was one of the best ever knives they have ever owned and that it was extremely comfortable to use. In fact the series as a whole scored an impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars average on Amazon from over dozens and dozens of reviews.
Materials - It is in-keeping with most of Shun's knives as the Ken Onion series features their high quality Japanese steel comprising of a high carbon inner core for a sharp cutting edge and a cladding of a secondary, tougher steel. The handle is constructed with a full steel tang clad in hardwood (resin impregnated natural ebony PakkaWood).
Blade Design - The blade of this particular series features a blunted nose for scooping chopped ingredients off the board, pretty similar in design to that of Santoku knives. And as a given with all Shun knives they are of course incredibly sharp.
Handle Design - Shun calims this range to perhaps be the "most user-freindly knives ever devised". We aren't too sure about that -- but to be fair we can't exactly argue that the knife handle isn't incredibly ergonomic (as well as it being designed to be ambidextrous so that it can be used comfortably by almost any chef). Moreover, it is also slightly elevated from the level of the blade to allow for easy cutting without knuckles coming into contact with the board.
Warranty - Like most of Shun's products the Ken Onion series of Chef's knives with a limited lifetime warranty. They are guaranteed to continue to perform as advertised for the lifetime of the original owner provided they are cared for correctly. The warranty does not cover breaks due to improper use or general wear and tear. As an extra bonus Shun professionally sharpen all knives still under warranty for free (though you do have to pay shipping costs).
Which Size Should You Purchase?
4.5-Inch - The 4.5-Inch (11.4 cm) Ken Onion Chef's knife is designed mainly with more detail and "agile cutting" work in mind. Its shorter blade length allows for much easier handling (i.e lighter and more maneuverable) and many user's with smaller hands will prefer this over its longer-bladed and rather more intimidating counterparts. Users looking for a more versatile knife set overall should include one chef's knife in this length and one in a much larger length such as 8 or 10-inches.
Amazon Price: $213.00 $129.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 27, 2014)
6-Inch - The 6-inch (15.2 cm) Ken Onion knife is the real workhorse of the Ken Onion range, being able to tackle both larger and smaller cutting and slicing jobs with ease, and is again more ideal for those who prefer the shorter blade or have smaller hands. If you only wish to buy one chef's knife from the range then in my view this is your best option as it offers you the cutting ease of the larger knives as well as being small and maneuvrable -- you get in essence both aspects of the need for detailed work and that of a versatile knife -- obviously not to the same extents mind, but it offers you great value.
8-Inch - The Award-Winning larger (20.3 cm)option was the first to be implemented within the series and is the best choice for cubing larger vegetables or for deboning and cutting meat. As mentioned earlier, if you want to increase the overall versatility of your set then this is the perfect partner for a smaller chef's knife. If you are still confused and unsure as to which model is the right size for you -- then I would opt for this 8-inch, with it being the standard classic size of the kitchen, providing you with an awesome ergonomic feel and performance.
Amazon Price: $313.00 $174.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 27, 2014)
10-Inch - Obviously, the largest of variant of the knife (25.4 cm) can appear to be quite intimidating at first, but as soon as you start to get a feel and a practice it will become an essential implement of kitchen. Again, like the 8-inch the 10-inch will take place as a primary knife being suitable for a variety of tasks -- the main reason for the 10" version was simply for those who preferred the longer blade for those who have longer chores.
If you have any questions, concerns or general remarks regarding either the article review or respect to the Ken Onion Chef Knives themselves, then please be sure to make them in the comments section below.