Monday, June 7, 2010

Titanium Cutlery...?

So, after he delivered the magnum opus on the Cowboy Ribeye steak, I got interesting discovering just what cutlery Tyler Florence was using in his kitchen. Interestingly enough, the answer is: His own brand of Titanium blades... sort of.

Understand, he just introduced these items at the end of 2009. The overwhelming majority of his TV shows were recorded prior to this point. Ergo, you will see him cutting with a German Chef's knife almost all the time. Looks like a ducedly fine blade also.

Second, these blades aren't exactly titanium. They are titanium clad high-carbon steel. Most of the sharpness freaks believe high-carbon steel destroys everything in terms of sharpness. Well... I've got news for you. You need to have a look at Cubic Zirconia. Ceramic is a lot sharper than high carbon.

Evidently, the big problem with high-carbon is that it rusts, stains, reacts with food, leaves a little of itself in your food, etc. Evidently, cutlery theorists believe they can contain reactivity, staining, rusting, etc. by simply encasing or cladding, a cast high-carbon steel blade in Titanium. Titanium is not as impervious to the elements as Cubic Zirconia, but it is dramatically better than any other metal known to mankind.

I thought I saw Tyler wielding a ceramic black blade like mine recently, but such was not the case. It was one of his own Titanium blades.

In any case, he got me to buy in. I've been looking around for a high-carbon blade with Kullens on it to do some cheese & panchetta chopping. He's got it, and more. Further, the price is cheap. It's basically $40 per blade. At that price, I can't afford not to try it. Who knows, maybe they are fantastic.

Doesn't sound cheap to you? It is, trust me on this one. Ronco and Ginsu won't get it done... for long. I had those Ronco knives. I cut myself many times because it took a lot of thrashing force to get it done. All it takes is one slippery thrash and you are bleeding.

This is why I like Kyocera. Everything cuts immediately. Very little effort is required. Using good blades, your more like surgeon with a scalpel than a butcher with a cleaver. Shun has given me some good results. It will be interesting to pit Tyler's Titanium v. Alton's Shun.

Are you ready for a throw down?

I already know that these metal blades can't compare (in terms of sharpness) with Cubic Zironia. You need to conduct a serious study of edge width before commenting on this subject. Edge science is pretty straightforward. Edge width defines sharpness. A steep angle (15 or 16 degrees) helps, but it is the thinness at the razor's edge that defines how sharp it is. It is pretty easy to measure this exactly these day. You just point a circular red laser straight at the edge, and the width of the split at first refraction is your edge width.

Laser refraction measurements scientifically end the question of who is sharpest, but not who is best. You can still argue you want stainless steel for this reason, or Damascus for that, or high carbon steel for the next reason.

In any case, Tyler has convinced me to give his knives a shot at the title. Hopefully I will love them. I don't plan to open any tomato cans with them, as Bobby Flay does with his Shuns.