A sharp knife cuts the quickest and hurts the least.~ Katharine Hepburn
How often do you sharpen your knives?
A while back I was hanging out with a friend as it was approaching dinnertime. She had a ton of CSA veggies at home, so we headed back to her place, and had the boys meet us there. With an abundance of produce and four hungry adults, we figured stir-fry would be a simple solution. I volunteered to help chop, the most time-consuming part of making stir-fry. Armed with a cutting board and a knife, I started cutting.
“Um. Hmm. Do you have a sharp knife?”
“That is our sharp knife.”
“Oh. Er. Huh. Is this even made of metal?”
With the constant stream of vegetables coming through our door, I spend a decent amount of time at the cutting board. A few months ago, it was even more time — because my knives were dull. A knife is not a crowbar; the blade should be able to slice food without pressure. My knives weren’t as bad as the one in my friend’s kitchen, but it was not going to cut a tomato anytime soon.
Some grocery stores offer free knife sharpening at their butcher counter. Here in California, I had not found such a service. Lucky for me, I have a certain fantastic friend who works at a restaurant and found a wonderful resource which she oh-so-generously shared with me.
We have Wusthof knives that we got as wedding gifts which are not as good as the Japanese knives I linked to, but they’re in my kitchen and it’s what I’ve got. The bad news about Wusthof knives is that my chef’s knife has a full bolster (here’s an illustration for you) which makes it really hard to sharpen if you’re not experienced. Ronnie’s advice to buy awesome knife-sharpening stones might not do the trick.
Jon Broida, the owner of Japanese Knife Imports, was coming to San Diego for the day. He dropped by with his own knife-sharpening equipment, taught us how to sharpen, and ground down the bolster on my knife for me so I can continue sharpening on my own.
A personalized 2-hour knife sharpening class in my own kitchen. How awesome is that?
He’s based in L.A. but currently in Japan for 3 months meeting knife and stone makers and looking for new products. Ronnie uses the knives from his shop in the restaurant kitchen daily, learned how to sharpen from him, and now regularly sharpens the knives of the other chefs in the kitchen because she does it better.
The initial outlay for sharpening supplies isn’t huge, and paying someone else to sharpen your knives adds up. Of course, it helps when the aforementioned friend sends you a sharpening stone for your birthday, too.
It’s so much faster and more fun to chop veggies with a nice sharp knife! My husband even volunteered to help prep dinner to test out the edge on the knife.
With the holidays coming up, the chef in your house (especially if it’s you!) would benefit from sharp knives, whether that means a new knife that holds a better edge, a sharpening stone, or just a trip to get the knives sharpened professionally.
Just so you know, I don’t get any freebies or benefits for posting this. Jon charges a very reasonable rate for sharpening classes, and I thought it was a great value. If someone loves me and wants to buy me a knife from his shop, however, let’s talk!
If so, stop by Japanese Knife Imports for some really amazing cutlery. Then tell me what you bought and send photos so I can be jealous.
When is the last time you sharpened your knives?
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