Shun Premier Nakiri Knife: The Essential Kitchen Tool
The Shun Premier Nakiri knife is the essential kitchen tool.
Clear a space in your knife block for the most beautiful knife you will ever own.
Why add a Shun Premier Nakiri knife your collection?
I’ve cleared a space in my knife block for Shun’s Premier Nakiri knife and have banished another formerly-essential knife to the dusty confines of a kitchen drawer. That that should indicate how taken I was with the Premier Nakiri, and how much I expect to use it in the future. While I spend an inordinate amount of time window shopping for kitchen knives, it’s hard to justify adding one to my collection. After all, most people can get away with owning just three blades: a chef’s knife, a pairing knife, and a bread knife, and good knives are a bit of an investment.
Shun Premier Nakiri Blade Design
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Premier Nakiri is its gorgeous, somewhat unusual blade design, featuring a blunt tip which almost appears as if part of the knife was lopped off during the forging process. That design is integral to the purpose of the knife: nakiri knives (a style from Japan) are traditionally used to slice vegetables. The blade geometry—with its blunt tip and straight cutting edge—means that this style of knife relies on a “push” cutting motion, where you move the knife forward and down.
For vegetables, even cuts are vital. Even pieces cook, well, more evenly, and the visual appeal of beautiful even slices can’t be denied. And while nakiri knives are thought of as vegetable knives, they’re just as well suited for fruit, or charcuterie, or really anything where you want beautiful, even slices.
From a technical perspective
Everything about the Shun Premier Nakiri knife has been designed to make slicing easier. The tsuchime (hammered) finish helps food release from the blade, meaning that slices of food don’t get stuck on the metal while you’re slicing. The rounded handle made from moisture-resistant Pakkawood® (a type of hard, engineered wood) is comfortable, and the bolster (the part of the knife in between the end of the blade and the handle) is elongated, making it easier to use a pinch grip. The blade itself is also strong and thin, with damascus-style cladding running along the cutting edge. All of this translates into a knife that is stunningly beautiful and corrosion-resistant, and will maintain a sharp edge for longer.
From an aesthetic perspective
The Premier Nakiri is without a doubt the most beautiful knife in my kitchen. When I showed it to two friends who were in the process of building a wedding registry, they removed a knife block from their gift list and instead bought themselves the Premier Nakiri and two other knives from the same collection. And for those who lack confidence in the kitchen and don’t like the feel of a long, sharp knife in their hands, the shorter, blunt edge makes the Premier Nakiri lighter and easier to maneuver.
Vegetables can be tricky, and getting the most out of them means having knife skills that many people don’t possess. While the Shun Premier Nakiri knife won’t magically give you those skills, it will make creating nice, thin, even slices easier, which translates into both better looking final dishes and a better final consistency. It’s a worthy addition to your kitchen, and a knife that will last for decades if you take care of it correctly.