Getting to grips with a Katto Santoku knife

Find out how I got on when I put a Katto Santoku knife to the test in my kitchen.

Brown wooden chopping board with a Katto Santoku knife and various whole, chopped and sliced tomatoes

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When it comes to cooking, the right tools are just as important as the right ingredients. And no cook’s tool is more important than a good knife.

A good cook’s knife doesn’t just make it easier to prepare your ingredients, it’s also safer to use than a blunt old kitchen knife that’s been rattling around in your kitchen drawer. That’s because you’re more likely to have to put more effort into using a blunt knife, increasing the risk that you’ll slip and have an accident.

So when Katto offered to send me one of their high quality knives to try out, I was very happy to accept their offer.

Brown cardboard box with the word Katto printed on it in white

Who are Katto?

Katto was established by two friends, Josh and Thomas, in 2018. They believe that making things with our hands can be an antidote to the stresses of modern life and so wanted to start a business that would support this.

Katto knives are all hand made, so that each one is beautifully balanced and also has its own individual character. They’re all tested to meet Katto’s high standards so you ca be sure that your knife will be top quality.

And each Katto knife is hand tested, wrapped and prepared for dispatch to give the personal touch to your order.

The Katto range currently includes four knives:

  • The Chef’s Knife – a great all rounder for everything from light butchery to preparing veg
  • The Santoku Knife – a Japanese inspired knife that’s lighter and more agile than the Chef’s knife
  • The Utility Knife – the smallest Katto blade which is ideal for designed for intricate jobs
  • The Bread Knife – a robust serrated blade for slicing bread and other tough ingredients

All Katto knives are available with a choice of handles: Henry (walnut), Nala (beech) or Olivia (rosewood). You can have the handle personalised with up to three letters and you can also upgrade from the standard cardboard scabbard to a robust leather one.

Katto also make a selection of other kitchen equipment including pasta making tools and barbeque tools.

Open box showing a Katto Santoku knife in a brown leather shield, together with a penny stuck on a piece of card

The Katto Santoku knife

I received a Katto Santoku knife for review, and was immediately impressed by the care and attention they pay to their packaging.

The knife arrived in an elegant branded box, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. Inside the box was an instruction leaflet and also a little piece of card with a coin stuck to it. I immediately recognised this as a good luck token – my Nan always used to say that you shouldn’t give knives as gifts unless you give money as well.

Open cardboard box with a Katto Santoku knife out of its leather scabbard

I hadn’t used a santoku knife before, but they’ve become very popular in recent years and I’ve seen several TV chefs use them. They have a straight edged ‘sheep’s foot’ blade which is lighter than a traditional chef’s knife, and were originally designed for mincing, dicing and slicing ingredients in in Japanese kitchens. 

Katto knives have a black ‘kurochi’ finish to the blade which will fade with use. The handle is smooth and feels very comfortable in the hand and it was immediately clear that this is a well balanced knife.

I’ve been using my santoku knife to prepare meat and vegetables in my kitchen, and found that its sharp blade glides through the ingredients, The knife’s balanced proportions make light work of big food preparation jobs but it can also handle slicing super-thin tomatoes and cucumber for elegant afternoon tea sandwiches.

A Katto knife is certainly an investment piece. Each one costs around £100 with a cardboard scabbard or a leather scabbard is also available for a small additional fee. But if your budget allows this investment, I’m sure that you’ll find it is worth the money.

Overhead view of a brown wooden chopping board with a Katto Santoku knife and various whole, chopped and sliced tomatoes

Caring for your Katto knife

Of course, there’s no point spending money on a high quality cook’s knife and then just putting it in the dishwasher or throwing it in a drawer with the rest of your kitchen tools. Treating your knife like that is a sure way to end up with a blunt knife but luckily, caring for your Katto knife is really simple.

All you need to do is clean your knife after use with warm water, washing up liquid and a soft brush. Dry it immediately, and carefully, and then store it in the scabbard. You could also store your knife in a wooden knife block, a specialist knife roll or on a magnetic knife rack.

It’s important to oil the blade occasionally with kitchen roll and a neutral oil like sunflower or olive oil. You should also sharpen your knife regularly using a Japanese whetstone – Katto even offer a free knife sharpening service!

I’m thrilled with my Katto Santoku knife. It’s a high quality tool that looks great and also feels in the hand, making food preparation easier and more enjoyable. My only problem now is that the rest of my knives look a little inferior by comparison.

Still at least I know what’s going on my Christmas list this year!

Katto knives and their other kitchen tools are all available from the Katto website.

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