~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Product Review... MAC Knives

Product Review... MAC Knives
A few weeks ago, I was sent a set of MAC Knives along with a knife sharpener from the really generous folks at MAC Knives to test and review. The company produces a large variety of knives which include the Professional Series, Ultimate Series, Japanese Series, Original Series Superior Series and the Chef Series. They truly have all sorts of knives for various cooking tasks. The MAC knives are manufactured, sharpened, and assembled in Japan using high quality materials. For this review, I was able to test the 6 1/2 " Mighty Santoku (MSK-65) of the Professional series, the 4" Pairing Santoku (Sk-40) of the Superior series and the 10 1/2" Bread/Roast Slicer (SB-105) of the Superior Series. I looked forward to testing the knives, as I had never worked with Japanese knives before. The German knives I use daily were sharpened and used for the tests as a comparison to the MAC Knives. But, mostly I wanted to see how the MAC knives handled the various cutting procedures... Would it cut straight? Would it cut through cleanly? Would it require a great deal of effort to use? How would they be different from the ones I used?

Here is my review and tests performed:

A little bit of info about the MAC Knives:
  • Manufactured in Japan
  • Sharpened with up to 64 series of tests for precision
  • Have thinner blades than most European knives
  • Made of rust resist and high-carbon Molybdenum Vanadium Alloy( some models have Tungsten added for hardness)
  • Knives have a hardness between 58-60 degrees Rockwell C( which helps the edge stay sharper much longer)
  • Endorsed or used by Hubert Keller, Thomas Keller, Charles Trotter, Eric Ripert, and many others. (definitely some incredible chefs)
The Newspaper Test:
The newspaper test is used to determine the sharpness of a particular knife. In order to find out how sharp the MAC knives were, I conducted several tests including the newspaper test.
I cut through the newspaper by placing the knife on the edge of the newspaper and cutting strips at various intervals. I was able to achieve thin strips of newspaper with ease. At one point, I decided to see how thin a strip I could cut from the newspaper. It was so thin, the newspaper curled up! I could not duplicate that with my other knives. Just incredibly sharp...
What I noticed: The Mac knife easily caught on the edge of the newspaper and smoothly sliced through it with very little drag. The edges of the newspaper were straight and smooth. My other knives cut through, but with a lot more drag and ragged edges.
(close-up of the curled newspaper made with one single pass of the Mighty MAC!)

The Hardness and Softness Test:
I proceeded with my other tests...cutting through tomatoes, potatoes, meat, breads and herbs using the 6 1/2 " Mighty Santoku, the 4" pairing Santoku , and the 10 1/2" Bread/Roast slicer.
I decided to cut a few slices of meat. I never understood how some people describe cutting through food to be like cutting through butter. Well, I finally understood. Cutting through that meat felt like I was cutting through butter! The knife cut right through the meat... cleanly and without leaving any rough edges. It was just so smooth and the effort was minimal.
I diced and sliced some vegetables...The Mighty MAC and Pairing Santoku delivered. They slice and dice with ease. It was such a pleasure to use. I felt the knife was doing most of the work and I just had to steer it:). I didn't need to put so much pressure on the knife as I normally do with my other knives. The MAC knife feels solid in the hand and yet light. It glides through food without getting "wedged" and creates even slices. It cuts through tougher vegetables with less resistance than thicker blades. The granton edge(or dimples) performed well and helped with releasing the food slices from the knife.
The Tomato Test:
I decided to test the knife by cutting some tomato slices. Normally, I would cut the tomato in half and proceed to cut slices. But this time around, I wanted whole slices for a recipe I was making. They needed to be really thin. I tried the MAC Knife and my regular German knife.
This is what I observed: Though I was able to get some thin slices with my German forged knife, I noticed I needed to apply some pressure in order for the knife to "catch" so that I could cut through the tomato. The MAC knife had a razor sharp edge that effortlessly cut through the tomato with just a single pass. The slices were evenly cut from top to bottom.
Bread and Roast:
When using my regular bread slicer, I noticed the slices of bread were being "torn" or roughed up as I cut through, leaving quite a few crumbs behind. The knife "wedged" through the bread and as a result made for some uneven slices of bread. It also didn't have the same thickness from top to bottom. The MAC knives on the other hand cut through the bread cleanly, left the texture of the bread smooth, and produced almost no crumbs.
When cutting through a roast, the MAC knife exceeded my expectation. I got thin, smooth, and even slices. It was a pleasure to use. I ended up cutting the whole roast, which I wasn't planning to do...I just kept cutting because I loved using the knife:)
A few things I noticed about the MAC knives in general...
While doing a chiffonade of basil, I noticed the cut edges of the basil had a much cleaner cut and less bruising when using the MAC knife. My regular knife bruised the herbs a great deal. It was a big revelation to me. I finally realized how important it is to get a clean cut and eliminate as much of the bruising as possible. It is the bruising that can cause apples or potatoes to turn brown quicker. Also, when I cut through potatoes or apples, I tested the individual slices for smoothness. With the MAC knives, the slices felt smooth and even slippery to the touch. Whereas, the slices cut with my regular knives were rougher in texture and not as smooth.
Care and Handling of the MAC Knives:
Careful attention is needed when handling the MAC knives. Take care in how you store, wash, and use the MAC knives.
  • always clean and dry knives thoroughly before storing.
  • do not allow acidic residues to stay on the knife blade for long periods of time.
  • never place the knives in the dishwasher
  • never cut bones, frozen food, or any other hard items.
  • sharpen knives at a 10-15 degree angle with MAC recommended sharpening tools
Overall impression of the MAC Knives:
I am not a knife specialist nor a professional, but I have come to fully appreciate the quality and performance of the Japanese MAC knives. The thin and sharp blades of MAC knives allow for some effortless gliding through fruits, vegetables, and meats. The knives cut cleanly without tearing or bruising foods. You can actually make cleaner cuts with less crushing of the food cells while other knives can drag and wedge. The MAC knives are incredibly sharp! They are lightweight, easy to control, and very precise. They have an even balance in the hand, making for a very pleasant cutting experience. It was a joy to handle the MAC knives...they just felt really comfortable in my hand when using them. I enjoyed seeing the superior results and felt like a professional immediately after using it. Now, I understand why chefs so fully rely on their knives to do the job. I have been spoiled with these knives. What an honor I was given... to be able try out some of the most amazing and remarkable knives I have ever owned. The MAC Knives far exceeded my expectation. Highly recommended. In my book, 5 stars.


Skye said...

Fantastic review! I adore my MAC knives and was so happy to see you're spreading the word on their greatness.

Ellie said...

Skye, I love the MAC knives and think they are wonderful! Glad you are enjoying your knives as well.
Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to stop by. Have a great day. ~Ellie

Anonymous said...

Hallo from Greece!
I am gona by a few of kitchen knives and i decided tha MAC are what i need! Your review leave me no more susspensions about that choice... now i have to find the way to order them here in Greece. Thank you Ellie!


Ellie said...

Constantinos, Wonderful...Glad I could be of help all the way in Greece:).
I am sure Mac Knives can help you if you contact them directly. They are wonderful to work with.
Thanks for stopping by...and enjoy your knives:)!

Have a wonderful day!

Brian Arimoto said...

Hi Ellie,

I just wanted to stop by and let you know that we've gotten a few calls from customers who read your review about our products. The in-depth review along with the many pictures have been extremely helpful for those who want to "see" MAC knives in action. I'm glad you enjoyed testing them and I hope they are still working well for you.

Brian Arimoto
Sales Manager
MAC Knife, Inc.

Ellie said...

Thank you so much for stopping by. I have to admit that I still LOVE my Mac knives and am thoroughly enjoying them.
So very glad I could be of help through my review. It is the least I could do... as they are truly some amazing knives. Thank you once again for making it possible.

With appreciation,

Anonymous said...

I received a set of MAC knives for my birthday. OMG....they have made the mundane and necessary tasks of chopping onions, celery, etc. so easy, it's actually FUN!!! I'm in love with my knives. I'm about to buy another one to give myself as a Christmas present.

Ellie said...

Anon, Glad you like your set of knives...they sure are a pleasure to use and they do the job so well! Enjoy them:)

Sweeti said...

I believe my Mac Knives are the Best knives in my kitchen!

Ellie said...

Sweeti, Thanks for stopping by...Glad to hearv that you like the MAC knives as well:)
They ARE some rather neat knives that are a pleasure to use.
Love them...

The Writers Blog said...

Glad you like them. We got our first MAC blades in 1976 in Japan ... they're still working great. We sharpen them against the bottom of a china plate (which I also got in Japan)! Best knives we've ever owned and we cook ... a lot!

Ellie said...

The Writers Blog,
Thank you so much for your feedback on the MAC knives...great to know they last! Since 1976...wow, that's pretty neat!
I guess the china plate mimics the sharpening ceramic plate:)... glad to hear you are still enjoying the Mac knives. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

KennQ29 said...

Mac knives are my favorite. so great. thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

How are they in terms of durability? I've read some reviews that say because they are thinner than most knives, they need to be handled with much more care as they tend to chip easily.

Ellie said...

I am sure the durability of the knives depends on how you use them....the knife blades aren't so thin that they bend. They are sturdy blades. Having said that, if you use the knives to open cans, pry things open, cut through bones, etc...well, any knife will chip.

I tend to take care of my knives without "abusing" them....meaning I use them for what they are intended... cutting through food such as meats, vegetables, breads, and the like. I don't use my knife to pry open, let's say a package of frozen sausages...or frozen food in general. I keep the knives strictly for cutting, dicing, chopping, slicing, etc... and I still LOVE them:).

I think any knife will bend chip or break if used incorrectly.

I hope I have been of help...and thanks for stopping by.

Jeannie46 said...

My parents brought back a set of MAC knives from Japan for me in 1970. I love them. I don't think I sharpened any of them for thirty years. Anytime, someone helps me in the kitchen they always mention how sharp the knives are. They are the very best. I've started buying them for my grown up kids now!
It's a shame that more people don't know about them.

Ellie said...

Jeannie46, Thank you for your input on the knives....so glad you still love them:). And I do too:)! They are really such a pleasure to use. Thanks for stopping by.

Justin Barba said...

I have a few MAC knives and completely agree with your assessment. They're really excellent quality tools, far superior to my Cutco or German knives. My brother has a couple other Japanese knives made by Shun--they're the same. I have been getting rid of my other knives in favor of Japanese ones.

Ellie said...

Justin, Glad to hear that you own a few MAC knives... and that you like them as much as I do.
They really are a great set of knives...performs beautifully and they are such a pleasure to use... makes cooking that much more enjoyable!
I agree with you, the Japanese knives are in a class of their own....
Thanks for your input, I really appreciate you stopping by...