LA Chef’s Knife – Chef Jeff Mahin’s Suisin Densho yanagiba

(Originally published March 4, 2014 on

A chef’s knife is a chef’s most important tool. So it’s no wonder that chefs spend a lot of time, and thought when deciding upon what type of knife to use in their kitchens.

When he isn’t slicing pizza at Stella Barra Pizzeria, the type of knife that chef Jeff Mahin uses as his primary chef knife is a Suisin Densho yanagiba. This knife is a 300MM single bevel blade made with carbon blue steel and has an Eastern style handle made of ebony. His prior knife was a knife made by Nenohi.

Jeff noted he selected his current knife based on the knife’s blade material, balance and feel. The length and handle material were also important. This knife is primarily for cutting through protein and other non-acidic foods since the blue steel will stain if exposed to acids.

Jeff sharpens his own knife with various water stones. How long the knife holds it edge depends upon how much he uses it. He’s had this current knife for about four years. He’s very happy with his knife and not looking to upgrade for the foreseeable future.

In addition to his yanagiba, Jeff also has a number of other Japanese knives that he uses for different tasks.

ā€œA kitchen without a knife is not a kitchen.ā€ ā€“ Masaharu Morimoto


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