Pricey Shun Mandolin Hits the Streets

Shun has been generating a lot of press lately (at least in the trade pubs) with background information and photos of its new mandolin.

Here’s the press release —

2008 March — Kai Presents the Shun Pro Mandolin to the Marketplace

March 1, 2008, Tualatin, OR – It’s the ideal tool for swiftly slicing firm fruits and vegetables, as well as producing shoestring, julienne, French fry, and plank fry cuts. It’s the only product on the market that can cut a two-pound potato without prior prep work. And with a safety-minded food carriage that keeps fingers away from the blade, the only thing cut is your food. It’s the new Shun Pro Mandolin, a food slicer that has been painstakingly tested to meet the rigors of daily use in local restaurants, but designed for the home gourmet.

“The Shun Pro Mandolin stays true to Shun’s vision of blending tradition with innovation,” said Dennis Epstein, Senior New Products Development and Sales and Marketing Manager. “It’s the only mandolin on the market with a single bevel sashimi-style main blade to create the cleanest cut possible. The main blade is removable so it can be easily resharpened using a whetstone. After use, all accessories can be stored in an attractive metal case. While many mandolins have a variety of pre-set thicknesses at which the user can cut, the Shun Pro Mandolin has an infinitely adjustable deck that lets you custom-adjust the thickness of your slice.”

The mandolin cutting blade is made of the same blade material used in premium Shun Pro cutlery. The 16-degree, single-bevel blade design is inspired by the 700-year-old Yanagiba blade preferred by Japanese chefs for producing the cleanest, most precise slices possible. Further, the hollow-ground back creates an air pocket between the blade and the food being cut. The result is less friction damage to the food.

This mandolin is now available for purchase at gourmet kitchen stores nationwide. The mandolin’s suggested retail price is $507 MSRP, with a sale price of $399.95. Like all Shun cutlery, the Shun Pro Mandolin is protected by a limited lifetime warranty. The main deck is dishwasher safe; all other parts, handwash recommended.

In among the PR fluff are a couple of key points that differentiate this mandolin from others on the market, namely:

  • VG10 blade, a tremendous step up from the cheap stainless blades found on even the priciest restaurant-grade mandolins, especially if it is hardened to 60Rc or so
  • Hollow back like the concave reverse side of a chisel-beveled yanagiba or usuba — makes sense, both the mandolin blade and traditional Japanese blades are single beveled
  • Infinitely adjustable cut depth, which is standard on pro mandolins, but a luxury on the cheaper models most of us own
  • Heavy duty, rail mounted hand guard

The downside? A $507 MSRP and $379 to $399 street price. Holy crap! Even the big Bron mandolin, generally a restaurant level purchase, is only $150 or so. With the truly excellent Benriner at less than $50 and decent plastic V-slicers selling for $20, this is going to be a tough sell. The new mandolin is now in stock at many retailers and online stores. It will be interesting to see how it fares.

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  1. Hey!Every other blog I have read about Kitchen Accessories, has been lacking in information. Your insight into Kitchen Accessories is sooooo much better than anything else I have read. Thanks Amanda.

  2. Dennis Epstein would not know a mandolin from a cleaver. He is a moron, and Shun will suffer under his watch.

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