'As far as the actual cutting and chopping goes, I have never used anything finer.' - Mark, EatingCleveland.com
The term 'Fusion' pops up more and more in describing chef knives and even in the branding of chef knives. Many top knife companies now offer some kind of 'Fusion' chef knife. There is Chicago Cutlery's Fusion chef knife, Shun cutlery's Kaji Fusion line, Richardson Sheffield, Wusthoff, Henkels, Rachel Ray's East/West knives from Furi, and of course, at New West Knifeworks we specialize in designing and manufacturing the most cutting edge Fusion chef knives on the market.
The delineation of a chef knife or East/West knife suggests that the design of the knife represents some kind of blending of styles resulting in a chef knife that is a hybrid of more traditional Japanese, German, or French style chef knife. Hybridization is a very important factor in evolution, so there are some Fusion knives out there that are definitely the wave of the future. However, just because something's a hybrid, doesn't mean it's good! You probably don't want the 'duck-billed platypus' of chef knives.
Many so-called Fusion chef knives are like chop-suey, just a bunch of ingredients thrown together to make a cheap meal. The kind of hybrid or Fusion chef knife you want is one that only takes the best parts from each style and blends them in a way that they form a unified whole.
Your knife will now replace my Shun as my prize possession.' - Chef James Harrison.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Japanese and Western-style knives?
Traditional Western-style knives, especially German knives, tend to be tougher, heavier, and more durable than Japanese knives. I'm talking about the body of the knife itself. The actual edge on an ultra-hard Japanese knife should require less mantainence because of its superior edge holding. If you think about a big German knight cleaving his enemies with a giant two handed sword and compare this to a Japanese samurai, you can get a sense of the basic difference. A samurai uses one cut to finish the job while the German is hacking and cutting. The same is true in the traditional kitchens of these two cultures. Preparing shashimi requires precise, efficient slicing while chopping up veggies and meats for a stew is more about hacking and continuous chopping.
So, a good Fusion style knife might try to bring the two together. Unfortunately, there are some posers out there who are all style and no substance. For example, you will find so called 'Santoku' knives out there, maybe even in line at the grocery store, that are little better than junk. Even Rachel Ray's East/West knives from Furi fit into this category. They have an HRC rating of 55-56 which means that in terms of sharpness, they are more like a German knife, even though they are shaped like a Japanese Santoku. This is the worst kind of situation. Basically, without a sharp edge (like a Japanese knife) the Santoku shape is garbage, and actually, much worse than a traditional German knife because you can't even use a rocking motion with it!
'Puts my old Trident to shame.' - Travis Canaday, Home Cook.
What makes New West's 8-inch Fusion chef knife the best?
Our Fusion chef knife, the 8-inch G-Fusion, strives to take the good qualities from several traditional styles and make a superior hybrid. At HRC 60/61 the New West Fusion chef knife is as sharp as the best Japanese knives. However, unlike Japanese knives of comparable sharpness, our Powder Metal G-Fusion Chef Knife is far tougher and therefore will not chip or break. Also, our knife has greater stain-resistance and is much easier to sharpen and maintain in its optimum state. As tough as a large German knife, our s35vn steel is much lighter and thinner and therefore takes a much finer edge.
'The Chef 8 kept its edge long after I expected it to lose its grip on precision knife work. It is a work horse.' - Chef Jim Berman, Cheftalk.com
The actual shape of our Fusion Chef knife represents a blending of East/West styles. Our blade is extremely thin and lightweight, it also has a generous belly- belly refers to the gradual curve of the blade that allows you to chop using a rocking motion. The curve on our chef knife gets more extreme further out towards the tip. This makes the knife extremely versatile. In addition to the curve, the knife gets thinner out towards the tip making it easier to start your cuts. The knife is extra thin and sharp towards the front "action" portion of the blade, but thicker and tougher in the back portion for the rocking and hacking portion. This is why New West Knifework's Fusion chef knife is the kind of East/West hybrid that represents an evolved chef knife and not merely a flashy advertising gimmick (like some other knives which shall remain nameless!)
'In case of a fire, and If I have my wits about me, I will try to remember to grab my Fusion Chef 8" knife on the way out!' - Pat O'Connor, Pontiac, MI