Steel of the God’s: The Knives of Chef’s Table Season One
For anyone not already familiar Netflix has an awesome documentary series called Chef’s Table which features Chefs from some of the best Restaurants around the world. For those who have watched the series, if you’re anything like me, you may have been curious about what tools these Masters choose when honing their craft. Most chefs use various brands and a good portion of these are custom blades but In this post, I’ve done my best to identify and locate for you the knives these professional chefs use. I think I did pretty good but it was all done by eye so apologies for any mistakes; there are also a few cases where the Head Chef is not seen using a knife so some of these will be guesses and knives spotted around their kitchen. I’ll update this post in the future if there’s any new information as well.
I figured I might as well include this one as well. During the opening sequence, there’s a cook chopping something up, it passes by very quickly but the knife he’s using pictured here on the white cutting board, I’m practically certain, is the very nice Wusthof Ikon Cream Chef’s Knife. Made of one piece of High Carbon Stainless steel with a 14 degree double beveled Precision edge. Check it out at Amazon and get the Black Version at Kitchen Universe.
Ep.1: Massimo Bottura
The first episode of Chef’s Table focuses on Massimo Bottura of the Three Michelin Star restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy; named Worlds Best Restaurant in 2016. Bottura’s take on Italy’s “Grandmother Recipes” led to some upset and attempts to, in his words, “Destroy the name of Osteria Francescana”. Luckily he prevailed, became the Worlds best Chef, Saved the local Parmigiano-Reggiano (legal designation of Parmesan in Europe) and rice Industry after a devastating earthquake and is now engaged in Anti-Waste food activism which has included opening up soup kitchens around the world. He’s also written a number of books you should be sure to check out.
Unfortunately, during this episode, Massimo is not seen using a knife but he has stated his favorite knife maker is Takamura. Being an Italian chef I would imagine he prefers a model with a Western-style handle Like this Takamura R2 Gyutou available at
In the image above, on the Knife rack behind him, there are a variety of knives and among them is the Global Oriental Chef’s Knife or Global G-4, a Kiritsuke, Which Bottura can be seen using in This Article (It’s in Italian). In another shot, the Global Sashimi Slicer, a Yanagi, and next to that a knife that also appears in another shot and what I think is a Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star Chef’s knife.
Global Kiritsuke Amazon
Global Yanagiba Amazon
Global Yanagiba Kitchen Universe
Zwilling Chef’s Knife Amazon
Zwilling Chef’s Knife Kitchen Universe
Massimo and his Former Sous Chef Yoji Tokuyoshi have also been pictured with the Chroma Type 301. A knife made of two high-quality stainless steel’s seamlessly put together and designed by the same person who designed the Porsche 911. It’s well worth a look and available at both Kitchen Universe and Amazon
Ep.2: Dan Barber
Dan Barber of Blue Hill which includes three locations in New York is a food sustainability activist and a big player in the Farm-To-Table movement. The food he serves is highly seasonal and intended to promote the very often overlooked foods. Alongside that he has worked with breeders for years to produce incredible tasting food breeds including an experimental squash featured in Chef’s Table and even a new strain of wheat.
The only time in the episode where Barber is seen with a knife is when he and others are tasting a piece of bread. One of the knives is a serrated Opinel (a very old company whose famous folding knife was supposedly owned by Picasso among others of note) available in this “Les Essentiels” set on Amazon and a blue bird-beak paring knife from this J.A. Henckels International Set from Amazon. But, luckily, during the segment where Barber is discussing the Illegal kitchen incident, there is a frame where a Nenox Slicer is seen resting on a cutting board.
The Sujihiki is a western version of the Yanagiba, this Nenox comes with asymmetrical bevels increasing the sharpness of the blade. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t have literally everything so the closest alternative there is this Nenohi Nenox Corian Sujihiki, A more economical option is the Nenox G-Type Slicer. The exact model is the version with Iron-Wood handles available at Korin
Ep.3: Francis Mallmann
Francis Mallmann is an Argentine chef who owns several restaurants throughout South America, he even owns his own island in Patagonia and is known for cooking with fire. Mallmann is a contrarian in the best kind of way. He enjoys burnt food, he prefers flavors that clash over pairings and he views food as secondary to “The Scene” that is, food is only an excuse for socializing and creating a moment of intimacy which is the real purpose of dining. He also writes quite a bit and is moving into Directing movies.
As a result of his eccentric displays most of the blades seen in this episode are massive machetes but there are a few shots where Mallmann is smashing burnt bread, slicing burnt oranges and finally when cutting up some meat you can clearly see he’s using, based on the blade profile and as its being used to slice huge roasts, the Global Carving Knife or the Global-G3Amazon Kitchen Universe
Ep.3: Niki Nakayama
Niki Nakayama of the Las Angeles, California based n/naka is said to likely be the only female Kaiseki chef in the world. This has apparently resulted in some uncomfortable situations and unfortunately led her to prepare her food behind closed doors to prevent any distractions from her food. At the same time, her willingness to do this also demonstrates exactly how committed she is to her craft. She has reinterpreted the very formal Japanese meal course Kaiseki and aims to merge Japanese and Californian ingredients into something distinctly hers. Apparently, n/naka keeps binders on every guest documenting what they enjoyed so they can prepare the perfect meals on return visits so if you want to feel truly catered to but surprised at the same time you know where to go.
Nakayama seems to be a fan of Masamoto knives, the first knife above which I was able to identify is the Masamoto Shiro-Ko Hangasumi Yanagiba and was somewhat hard to find on Amazon
I was also having difficulty finding the knife Niki is seen using to cut a big piece of meat in the beginning of the episode and on the stand to the left in the first picture above, but after ID’ing the Yanagi I quickly found it to be what I think is an older Masamoto HC Gyutou Amazon
There are a couple Santoku’s I was not able to find, I think they may be custom Takamura’s but I have no idea.
Ep.5: Ben Shewry
Ben Shewry is the New-Zealand Born Chef of the Melbourne, Australia based Attica. After struggling with his menu and the success of the Restaurant as a result he decided to make dishes that were distinctly Australian, even going so far as to have experimental Tuesdays where he would invite guests to taste new dishes he was trying out. He even turned a near drowning experience into a dish! When not cooking he’s been the coach of a basketball team and helps raise funds for Helping Hoops.
Another fan of Takamura according to this Article Shewry has been collecting them for around a decade and one of his knives is one of only 21. This means they’re all likely custom made and unavailable for the most part. Be sure to check out MTC Kitchen anyway, they have a wide variety of knives by Takamura.
I did find this one frame that looks to be the backside of the Mac Knife Pro Series Chef Knife Amazon
And here is a Good shot of the Knife rack. It looks to be full of various Victorinox knives, Maybe a couple Dexter-Russell knives, possibly a Lamson, the Mac and I think I see a Shun Classic which you can pick up at either Amazon or Kitchen Universe
Ep.6: Magnus Nilsson
Finally we Have Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken. Even though Faviken is located in the often frozen province of Jämtland, Sweden out in the middle of nowhere Magnus manages to be pretty much seasonal thanks to his adoption of traditional preservation techniques. It’s amazing he nearly quit cooking altogether before arriving at Faviken and turning it into one of the coolest restaurants in the world, ranked in the top ten best in the world and recieving Two-Michelin-Stars, serving things like “Retired Dairy Cow” and Bog butter. Magnus is also focused on keeping traditional Nordic Cooking techniques and recipes alive.
He’s Stated he does not like the big clunky German cooking knives and instead prefers Japanese Blades which as plus often contain Swedish Steel and what he means is Misono knives. The episode is almost a Misono catalogue with the knives juxtaposed with all the awesome food prep of Faviken. In the Image above we can see Magnus using the Misono UX10 Hollow Ground Sujihiki which makes its way around the episode, being sharpened at the very beginning to Magnus preparing what looks like King Crab. Amazon
Actually, while the UX10 HG Slicer is also seen, I believe he is using the Misono “Narrow” Hollow Ground Slicer which is a Molybdnenum version that looks like it may have been discontinued because it can hardly be found anywhere. I was able to find one at Walmart
Here we see another Misono, this time what looks like the standard Misono UX10 Slicer Amazon
Pictured here is the Misono Molybdenum Petty Knife Amazon
And finally we have the Misono UX10 Honesuki Amazon