A chef isn’t a chef without his knife, and when it comes to knives, Japanese ceramic cutlery are where it’s at! I explore what the Kyocera knives have to offer the amateur chef…
Kyocera ceramic knives are made of an advanced, high-tech ceramic called zirconia. This material, which is second in hardness only to diamond, was originally developed for industrial applications where metal components failed. Zirconium oxide is extremely hard, wear resistant, and chemically inert.
Unlike their metallic counterparts, ceramic knives don’t bend, corrode or require constant re-sharpening, they are easy to clean, leave no metallic taste or smell on brown fresh fruits and vegetables. Moreover, ceramic knives are ultra light and just plain beautiful—something not be be frowned upon in case of an item you’ll likely use every day, and in front of your guests.
Ceramics don’t come without their own problems either. Hard, non-bendable materials are often easy to break and the situation isn’t any different in this case. If dropped, or used to pry rather than slice, these knives can break (usually it’s the tip which chips first), or even shatter. Overall, it’s usually better to avoid cutting bones, cutting on glass surface, and putting them in a dishwasher.
I’ve been using a pair of Kyocera ceramic knives for over two years now and can’t imagine ever going back to stainless steel. After all this time of constant use, and with no sharpening or honing, both still cut through paper and look like brand new. They’ve been dropped several times and so there are a few dents here and there but these have almost no effect on their performance.
Kyocera knives come in two varieties—regular white or black colored zirconium oxide knives (second and third picture respectively), and professional Kyotop zirconium carbide knives (first picture) which are always black, 20% harder and also substantially more expensive. The cheaper type should be more than enough for most amateur cooks.
The company is based in Kyōto, but the ceramic knives are produced in Sendai, the city which recently suffered from the Great Tōhoku earthquake. The plant was unaffected by the disaster and so if it makes you feel less guilty for spending a fortune on a new knife, you’ll be investing directly into the stricken region.
Kyocera ceramic knives
A product that is both beautiful and functional; it is everything that you’d expect from a product that you use every day, and more besides. A must-buy for any Japan-loving budding chef.
Have you used these or any other ceramic knives? Let us know what you think about them in the comments!