Expert Review: Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature Collection Chef's Knife, 8"
This review is my honest opinion of the knife, which I was sent by Thomas Keller to sample in August of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the knife, which I was sent by Thomas Keller to sample in August of 2022.
The Cangshan Thomas Keller 8" Chef Knife is made and designed for professional chefs and home food enthusiasts. It is a blend of modern and classic design combined with top-of-the-line materials to provide one of the highest quality knives I have had the opportunity to use.
About the gear
- Model: Cangshan Cutlery Thomas Keller 8” Chef Knife
- Knife type Chef Knife
- Blade Length: 8”
- Handle Shape The handle is familiar and comfortable. Keller had an intimate part in the three years of designing this knife, and the handle shape is unlike any other knife.
I grew up with a love for food and high-end cutlery; at 18 years old, I began washing dishes in top kitchens in my city to learn the ropes and understand professional kitchens from the ground up. After seven years working in dish pits, lines, and prep stations, I landed a position as a sous chef. After a time in charge, I decided cooking professionally, and barking orders was not for me. So I began focusing on my personal diet and my relationship with food and the outdoors.
- When I received it: August 2022
- Days tested: 90
- What I’ve used it on: Hard and soft veggies and limited meats/protein.
- Foods I’ve found it best for: I think the Thomas Keller knife will be more of a specialty knife for me. It is heavy and bold and feels overwhelming for my everyday needs.
- Surfaces I’ve used it on: Wood
I have been using the Cangshan Thomas Keller 8" Chef Knife for over three months with heavy use cooking three meals daily. I typically use a chef knife for 95% of my cutting at home, so it got a ton of good practice. I am vegetarian but brought this knife with me to a family barbeque to portion prime rib for my uncle, and it breezed through that easier than a pile of kale. I have only used it on wood-cutting boards, but the blade's sharpness seems to dig into the wood a bit if too much pressure is applied. I would imagine this dulls the blade, as most of my other knives are not sharp enough to penetrate the hardwood cutting boards. After a month of use, I brought the knife into my sharpener to have him clean up the edge. Since then, it has held an edge much better than when I received the knife.
How it performs
What I was looking for
Cangshan sent me the Thomas Keller 8" Chef Knife to test out and various other tools. I was very excited to open the box and find a Keller was included, as it was the only knife of many brands I had been dying to try. It was delivered in a magnetic walnut box that is fabric lined to protect the blade. I really like this addition as the knife is a bit different than what I am used to using and will be more of a special occasion knife for me personally.
Why I chose this gear
Thomas Keller is one of my favorite chefs and has had a huge part in creating high-quality American cuisine. He has now shifted a bit of his focus from cooking to cutlery and cookware design. The tools to create great food are almost as important as the ingredients for enjoying time in the kitchen.
What I love about it
- Blade Durability: The chef knife is made from very high-quality steel.
- Blade Sharpness: It is extremely sharp out of the box and actually cut my sponges and drying rag when cleaning the blade. I noticed the blade had many imperfections after not much use. I had it sharpened and have not had the problem since.
- Design: When tools are designed by the people who use them, they become extremely intentional. This is the knife Chef Keller has been searching for and is thought out in every way imaginable.
- Balance: The knife is well-balanced and fits in the palm perfectly. That being said, the knife is the heaviest knife I own.
- Performance with Hard Vegetables: The Keller is thick and sharp, making it perfect for pumpkins and large, firm vegetables. I leave it on my knife magnet for this exact purpose now that it is squash season.
- Protein fabrication: I have not skinned fish or boned chicken with this knife, but I don’t think this would be where it shines. The knife does not flex and is thick; however, it is perfect for portioning larger cuts of protein.
- Handle Profile: Keller has an important insignia that is embedded into the smooth and classic handle. It fits well in large hands but could feel overwhelming for smaller hands.
- Blade Profile: The spine of the knife is thick, yet the blade is thin. This allows it to feel very sturdy for tougher cutting tasks.
- Blade Length: An 8” chef knife is typically the perfect length for me. Due to its design and the applications I choose to use this knife, a 10” would be a nice length for this knife.
- Blade Material: Forged from Swedish Damasteel® RWL34 powdered steel, the knife is hard and durable due to its thickness and forged construction.
- Features: The knife is finished by hand by a team of expert knife sharpeners at Cangshan.
- Warranty: Cangshan is known to be easy to work with and offers a hassle-free lifetime warranty.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Weight: The Keller chef knife is the heaviest 8” chef knife I currently own. It is fine for large hands but can feel a bit overwhelming for smaller users.
- Ergonomics: I feel like weight and ergonomics are tied together on this knife. It is pretty simple as far as grip, but the weight makes it hard to handle.
- Versatility: The knife is very durable but has no flex and would not be suited for cooks or chefs using only a few knives in their quiver.
- Flexibility: This chef knife is thick and has almost no flex throughout the entirety of the blade.
- Applications: Personally, I find this knife more suited for French cooking than others. It is stiff and large and made for the toughest jobs.
- Finish: The steel is high quality and holds an edge well. It is NSF which is great for professionals. However, this blade is very hard to get mirror-like clean. It takes time and a bit of effort to rub off all of the soap and water after cleaning compared to my other knives.
Favorite moment with this gear
I have unboxed over 100 knives in my life and have yet to have an experience quite like the experience provided when unveiling the magnetic walnut storage box. I have taken many woodworking courses, and the craftsmanship of the box was a great preview of what I should expect from the knife.
Value for the money vs. other options
The knife is actually quite a bit less than I think a Thomas Keller knife would cost. It is actually less than one person's dinner at the French Laundry Keller's most famous establishment. Comparing it to other knives, I think looking at either the TS series by Cangshan or the Zum by Mercer would be a cheaper alternative that will still provide a high-quality blade.
This is the sharpest and boldest knife I have ever used. I did not know I needed it until I owned it. It is the perfect companion for a classic American or French chef or food enthusiast looking for an alternative to the classics.