The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Category: Kitchen Knives

Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: The Kitchen B***h

This is the eighth installment of The Cutting Edge’s culinary article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Rice bowl via the Kitchen Bitch

After talking to chefs, big-name bloggers, and hunters for the past few months, I’ve come to realize that I, too, have a knife philosophy of my own that I’d like to share! Here’s a little background about myself, but I’ll spare you from anything too self-fellating: I’ve run my cooking blog, The Kitchen Bitch, off-and-on for the past 7 years. Since then, I’ve worked as a professional food writer, writer-writer, and cook for a few years, and now I’m writing for the illustrious Cutting Edge! I also, of course, have a butt-load of knives.

More on my knives, Japanese blade fetish, and the silliness of knife sets after the jump! Continue reading

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Gorgeous Maple Wood Kitchen Knives via The Federal

Late last year, The Federal, an Ottawa-based design firm, prototyped a set of kitchen knives crafted from polished steel and Canadian maple wood. The knives’ particular proportion of wood to metal is unique, but how does it handle? Their materials are undoubtedly high-quality; plus, the warm tone of the wood makes the knives look gentler than the sleek, cold steel that typically graces our kitchens.

Here’s what The Federal has to say about these wooden wonders:

With this project we wanted to explore an alternative emotion to the standard kitchen knives you see every day. The focus is drawn to the high polished blade, while the rest of the knife’s Maple wood body sits warmly in the hand and blends in to its surroundings. The wood is sealed and food safe to allow for easy cleanup. The knife gives the appearance of being lightweight; however their weight is balanced to ensure that they can be used by any level of chef.

As you can see, these knives are quite different! They may even be the beginning of a new trend in culinary knives: one which increasingly emphasizes the home decor aspect of a knife collection. What do you think? Is this a good direction for knives to move toward?

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Hot Kitchen, Hot Knives: Jamie Carlson of You Have to Cook It Right

This is the seventh installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Jamie Carlson and his mom posing with squirrels.

If you’ve ever been stumped for cooking ideas for your wild game, Jamie Carlson’s blog, You Have to Cook It Right, is a lifesaver. Though venison steaks and wild boar sausage are great standbys, they can get kind of dull — especially if you’re as good of a hunter as Carlson is. His dishes are imaginative and versatile, ranging from sesame pheasant to wild game charcuterie. Even if you’ve never hunted or eaten wild game in a serious way, Carlson’s enthusiasm for hunting will inspire you to get cracking on your duck shelter ASAP.

Naturally, he’s got quite a respectable arsenal of knives. More on that after the jump! Continue reading

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Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: Chef Hiroo Nagahara of The Chairman Truck

This is the sixth installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

One of Hiroo Nagahara's many knives

Thousands of San Franciscans have lost their minds over Chef Hiroo Nagahara’s innovative gua bao, or Taiwanese bun sandwiches, which his crew slings out of a bright red truck called The Chairman. Their take on the traditional street food showcases premium ingredients like Muscovy duck terrine, house-pickled daikon radish, and crispy miso-cured tofu. Even the buns are gourmet: they’re locally handcrafted and baked with yeast cultures imported from China. Nagahara, a former executive chef at Charlie Trotter’s Bar Charlie in Las Vegas, successfully combines the best techniques and flavors from the world of haute cuisine with the humble trappings of Asian street food. (And at $3.75 – $6.75 a pop, his bao are an incredible deal!) And, as it turns out, he’s a knife fanatic.

Read on to see Chef Nagahara dropping some serious knife knowledge! Continue reading

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Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: Kathryne Taylor of Cookie and Kate

This is the fifth installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Kate of Cookie + Kate

Kathryne Taylor, the “Kate” behind the super popular vegetarian food blog, Cookie and Kate, regularly pairs down-to-earth food writing with phenomenal, eye-catching photography. Her blog features more than just recipes: many of her posts contain hilarious anecdotes about subjects as diverse as online dating and the drunchies. After reading just a few of her great blog posts, you’ll find yourself rooting for her through all of her fascinating misadventures and projects.

We asked her about her favorite knives, which you can read about after the jump! Continue reading

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Hot Kitchen, Hot Knives: Chef Jason Wilson of Crush in Seattle, WA

This is the fourth installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Chef Jason Wilson

With 20 years of globetrotting and culinary experience under his belt, Chef Jason Wilson has the kind of insight into kitchen knives that few possess. Since its opening in 2005, Wilson’s restaurant, Crush, has earned him accolade after accolade from the James Beard Foundation, Food & Wine magazine, and others for his commitment to high-quality ingredients and the inventive and whimsical ways in which he and his team make them all work together. If you’re ever in Seattle, stop by Crush just to check out Wilson’s Bacon and Eggs dish, an orgasmic combination of local meat with smoked Steelhead salmon roe, bourbon maple syrup, and parsnip flan.

We’ve got Chef Wilson’s kitchen knife insights, which alternate between straightforward and downright mystical (in an awesome way), after the jump! Continue reading

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Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: The Wednesday Chef

This is the third installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Weiss's knife collection

Luisa Weiss is the brilliant mind behind The Wednesday Chef, a gorgeously shot and executed culinary blog. It’s been featured as one of Gourmet magazine’s favorite food blogs as well as on The Sunday Times’ list of the 50 best food blogs in the world. The blog chronicles Weiss’s adventures cooking along with recipes she’s hand-picked from the internet, books, and newspapers, as well as her struggles with finding just the right meals for her little son, Hugo. She’s also penned a sensational recipe-filled memoir called My Berlin Kitchen. No matter what the subject, she handles it all with a sense of humor that we really appreciate.

Naturally, we figured she’d have a lot to say about her knife collection. More on that after the jump! Continue reading

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Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: Chef Amber Shea Crawley

This is the second installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Chef Amber Shea

Chef Amber Shea Crawley

Thanks to a mix of know-how, persistence, and pure moxie, 27-year old Chef Amber Shea Crawley has fought her way to the top of the food blog charts to bring her raw-ish and vegan food expertise to the adoring masses. Her blog, Chef Amber Shea, features consistently awesome content and recipes that befuddle as well as impress. And her cookbooks, Practically Raw and its dessert offshoot, are chock-full of recipes that the everyman can enjoy. Check them out if you’re sick of Cheetos. And no, cold pizza does not count as a raw food.

Here’s what she has to say about her knife collection, after the jump.

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Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: Pizza Delicious

This is the first installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

The crew at Pizza Delicious in New Orleans, LA

(Left to right: Matt Bossie, Greg Augarten, and Kelly Pickett)

Though they’re 1,305 miles away from the Big Apple, the crew at Pizza Delicious in New Orleans, LA slings the most faithfully New York-style pizzas this side of the Mason-Dixon. The crew at Pizza D is the new hotness in the New Orleans food scene, and legions of ex-New Yorkers and Confederate deserters have embraced their super sexy pies, homemade pasta, and garlic knots. You can read about their favorite knives below the jump.

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Top 5 Kitchen Knife Stocking Stuffers

Every family has at least one culinary expert—they might peruse Epicurious during lunch breaks, concoct mind-blowing cocktails with homemade bacon vodka or have a frightening altar to Guy Fieri stashed away in a closet. No matter what flavor of foodie they may be, one thing they’ll always need is another kitchen knife to add to their collection. That, or a convenient accessory for storing or carrying their collection.

Ginsu Chikara 7″ Cleaver

Ginsu Chikara 7" Cleaver

Every chef aspires to own a BFC—that is to say, a “big freaking cleaver.” For anyone who grew up watching Yan Can Cook, the Asian-style cleaver represents the height of technical prowess, strength and style. Ginsu’s well-balanced take on the cleaver is easier to handle than the BFCs you’ve seen in your local Chinese kitchen, though it’s well matched in terms of precision and pure power. This knife is so much fun to chop with; no animal, vegetable or mineral will be safe from its edge. Just make sure that you have plenty of food in your fridge, because the person who receives this knife is going to want to test it out immediately.

Top Chef 5-Piece Knife Set including Nylon Carrying Case

Top Chef 5-Piece Knife Set including Nylon Carrying Case

If thoughts of Padma Lakshmi set your giftee’s soul aflame, this 5-piece knife set by Top Chef will make the perfect present. The set, which comes with two santoku knives, a paring knife, a sharpening steel and black nylon knife roll, is a jazzed-up version of the basic knife kits that many culinary students receive during their schooling.

These knives are distinguished by the official Top Chef logo etched onto the knife blades as well as the nylon roll. These knives by Master Cutlery are made for more than looks: the X30Cr13 stainless steel blades are ice-tempered and cut with hollow grounds to inhibit sticking. This is a level of utility that any chef needs to reach the top of their game.

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The Bizarre Design of Ergo Chef Knives

This morning, Dana Cowin, the editor-in-chief of Food and Wine magazine, tweeted about the Ergo Chef’s bread knife: “4 any1 w/wrist injuries, #fwtestkitchen ‘s Marcia swears by Ergo Chef bread knife. Gr8 w8 + balance.” For you non-tweeters out there, this means that Marcia, who is apparently a cook in in F&W’s test kitchen, reports that the Ergo Chef bread knife has great balance and is a comfortable weight, making it good for anyone who has had wrist injuries.

If you’re like me, your immediate question is…why? I did a bit of research this morning to figure that out. The Ergo Chef knives have bizarre looking designs. The knives actually look like they were put together improperly or damaged before being put on the market (check out the curve of that handle!). However, the angle is designed to ease any discomfort you may get in the wrist while chopping; it also allows for greater precision and faster cutting. Plus, each blade is forged from a single piece of high-carbon German stainless steel, meaning these knives can cut longer without needing to be sharpened.

Has anyone tried these knives? Could you tell a difference between the Ergo Chef knives and regular kitchen knives?

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Developing Kitchen Knife Skills: How to Cut a Chili Pepper

No longer are chili peppers limited to spicy Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes. The small, green peppers can be found in everything from steak marinades to mashed potatoes. If you don’t know how to handle them, you are keeping yourself from trying great new recipes. Plus, you miss out on an easy way to add some pizazz to basic dishes of your own.

If you have avoided hot peppers in the past, however, we understand. Knowing how much spice the peppers have can be intimidating if you don’t know how to cut them properly. To help you avoid burning your skin or mouth and to introduce you to the world of cutting chilies, we got back with Kathy Maister, who helped us out on the How to Slice an Onion post. Ms. Maister’s site StartCooking.com is a great resource for busy people who are just learning to cook.

Grab your paring knife

Remember when we told you that Ms. Maister had three knives she couldn’t live without? Those were her paring knife, serrated knife, and chef’s knife (she commented on the onion article emphasizing that these must be “sharp!”). If you were wondering why the tiny paring knife is a necessity for the kitchen, here is your answer. Cutting any small pepper is the perfect use for a paring knife. The short, pointed blade makes it easy to deftly cut and seed a pepper.

Be careful!

Peppers get their spiciness from oils that are primarily in the seeds and ribs. When you cut into a pepper, you run the risk of getting these oils on your hands. Because of this, many people wear kitchen gloves while handling peppers. Gloves are not necessary, but, if you choose not to wear them, be mindful of your hands. Try to avoid contact with the ribs or seeds and clean up well when you finish cutting.

Cut the pepper in half

Cut the pepper in half with your paring knife. You can now see the whitish colored ribs inside the pepper.

Seed the pepper

By taking out the seeds and ribs, you are removing most of the pepper’s heat. There are two ways to go about seeding. When using a paring knife, hold the stem of a pepper half and slide the knife underneath the rib. Moving away from the stem end, slide the knife down the sides, popping out the rib and seeds. If any seeds are left behind, scrape them out with the blade’s backside. Ms. Maister says you could also seed the pepper with a spoon or melon baller – just scoop out the insides!

Slice the pepper lengthwise

Once you’ve seeded the pepper, you can chop it. Cut strips going lengthwise on the pepper half. Space the strips according to the size you want. If you are chopping, make larger spaces, but if you are mincing, the slices should be closer together.

Slice the pepper across

Now, slice the pepper in the opposite direction. Space your slices just as you did in the last step. Repeat with the other side. You should now be left with a chopped, diced or minced pepper that is ready to be tossed into your dish!

Clean up

The pepper’s oils can linger on your skin and underneath your fingernails for many hours. If you didn’t wear gloves, make sure you wash your hands with water AND soap after you finish handling the pepper. Even after a good scrubbing, Ms. Maister says you should avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes just to be safe. The oils would hurt badly if they started to burn you here!

Know your peppers

Since so many hot peppers can be easily confused, it’s good to know what different ones look like and how spicy they are. Ms. Maister has a great list of peppers with their pictures and heat index on her site.

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What kitchen knives does the Vegan Black Metal Chef use?

Who is the Vegan Black Metal Chef?

He’s a Youtube cooking sensation profiled by The Washington Post today.

Death Metal Vegan Chef
The Orlando-based chef, whose real name is Brian Manowitz, sports Gothic face paint and rubber armor while slicing, pounding and shredding food into submission; next to him,  an Iron Chef is about as intimidating as a high school lunch lady.

Of course, as you might expect, the Vegan Black Metal Chef has some pretty serious cooking knives in his collection:

The cooking utensils on the counter — swords, daggers, blades of chaos — shudder menacingly with pulsing vibrations of the ominous background music, which, like the Vegan Black Metal Chef, is also black metal.

In fact, if you skip through to 1:30 in this video, you can watch this master of culinary death slicing away at some tofu with a downright scary kitchen knife. Check it out.

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Knowing vulnerabilities in blade material key to maintenance

Last week, in one of Martha Stewart’s Q&A articles at Cincinnati.com, a reader raised an important aspect in maintaining knives: what material the blade is made out of.

Whereas most modern kitchen knives are created out of stainless steel, the blades of many older models are other materials, such as carbon steel.The problem with carbon steel blades, as the reader had found out, is that they are vulnerable to discoloration.

Stewart’s solution for the brown blade was fairly simple:

You can brighten your knives’ blades by polishing them with fine steel wool and Noxon metal polish. In addition, collecting editor Fritz Karch recommends hand-washing the knives after each use and drying them immediately to prevent rust. Then, with a cloth or paper towel, wipe a thin layer of mineral oil onto the blade to protect the steel from corrosion. Finally, store them in a location with low humidity.

Although the question was aimed at kitchen cutlery, this topic is something all knife owners should consider. As Stewart pointed out, always cleaning carbon steel blades, whether kitchen cutlery or hunting knives, is crucial to keeping its color and durability.

Each blade material has specific tips to remember. For example, stainless steel blades have the potential to rust in certain environments, so drying and occasionally scrubbing them with abrasive cloth will preserve the blades’ integrity.

For ceramic blades, found in some folding knives and kitchen cutlery, they will not rust or suffer discoloration, but they are more susceptible to scratches and breaks.

Whether plastic, titanium, stainless steel or carbon steel, it’s important for knife owners to understand the vulnerabilities of each blade material.

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The Importance of a Knife Handle

About a week ago, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser ran an interview with a Hawaiian chef who teaches at a local college. In the interview, chef Grant Sato shared some important tips everyone should remember when buying and using a knife.

While most of his tips were useful, such as techniques to safely slice food and information on how to sharpen dull knives, he touched on a topic that is widely overlooked when selecting knives: the handles.

For kitchen knives and all types of knives for that matter, it’s important to carefully select the material of your knife’s handle. In the article, Sato made it clear that the handle is the most important part of a knife.

“The blades are all the same,” Sato says. “It’s the material of the handles that are different.”

There are four common types of handle materials, which include wood, composite, stag and metal. Each of these types has its own advantage and drawback.

For experienced knife enthusiasts, wood handles are the most preferred for kitchen knives because they are softer on the hands and protect against bacteria. However, they are harder to clean and don’t usually last for more than two decades.

Composite and metal knife handles are stronger, more durable and the most resistant to corrosion, making them better suited for survival knives.

Before buying your next knife, make sure you’ve thoroughly analyzed the pros and cons of the handle for the type of function your knife will serve.

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Sushi Knives and Sharp Blades

An article published by ABC News today reported that a Japanese sushi federation has created a certification program for aspiring sushi chefs.

“We just want to make sure foreign chefs understand the basics of sushi making: how to cut, clean and prepare raw fish,” said Masayoshi Kazato, an experienced chef who was one of the creators of the test.

Not surprisingly, one of the criteria for receiving a certificate was knowing what type of sushi knife to use.

Kazato said he noticed a difference in the knives being used to cut the fish by inexperienced chefs, which is a concern because dull knives often don’t cut smoothly and expose the fish to more air, accelerating deterioration and increasing the potential for bacteria to attach to the fish.

We posted about the myth that dull knives are safer than sharp knives, along with other knife myths, a few months ago.  Though a dull knife will have less of an impact if it grazes your flesh, it’s not safer, because it forces you to use extra pressure when cutting.

It seems that most knife owners have been disabused of this myth, but we recently ran into a discussion forum at Mythbusters.com, where some participants were still suggesting that dull knives were safer.

When preparing sushi, which is extremely delicate, the need for a sharp knife is not just for safety but to ensure quality as well. A dull blade will crush a maki, which is an all-encompassing term for sushi rolls with rice, toasted seaweed, nor or other fillings.

It’s also important to remember to never use a electric sharpener to sharpen a sushi knife, but to always use a sharpening stone, especially if you aspire to join the ranks of certified sushi chefs some day.

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Four myths about knives

For every good piece of information that exists online about knives, there are more than a few inaccuracies.  So, how do you wade through the drek to find the information that’s important and accurate?  You should start by not passing on these 4 popular knife myths.

#1 Stainless steel knives can be washed in the dishwasher

They can’t, or at least they definitely shouldn’t be.  The force of water can decrease the sharpness of  knife edges by pushing them against shelves or other utensils.  In addition, the combination of hot water and the chemicals that exist in detergent can leave stains on stainless steel cutlery if it comes in contact with silver.

Secondly, washing sharp knives in the dishwasher could be dangerous to your physical safety if you or a family member reach into the dishwasher without paying proper attention.

#2 A dull knife is safer to use than a sharp one

This is another myth that needs to be busted.  Though a dull knife will have less of an impact if it grazes your flesh, it’s not safer.  Because of its dullness, you’ll often have to cut more vigorously, exerting a lot of force and pressure.  This decreases your ability to control the knife and elevates the potential for accidents.

The best plan for cutting in the kitchen is to use a well-sharpened knife that you don’t need a lot of effort to operate, giving you maximum control.

#3 There are knives that stay sharp forever

There aren’t.  Certain serrated knives are advertised as staying sharp forever, but the serrated “teeth” of these knives will eventually wear down or fail.  Don’t fall for the inaccurate advertising here.  Regardless of the knife you buy, it will require sharpening.

#4  It is best to send your knife to a professional to be sharpened

Though professional sharpening services can do a good job, they often use conventional grinding stones that can remove too much metal.  High quality knife sharpeners are available online at affordable prices, and they’re easy to use.  There’s really no reason to spend time and effort on a professional knife sharpening service, when you can easily sharpen your knives at home.

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