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Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Desperate Chefs' Knives

What is a chef without his symbolic knife? The heated power that floods out with every stroke is not just a tool that each chef uses. It is an exit for the passion that flows from the chef's hands and mind. And it is this necessary and appreciated tool that also sends grown men home with cuts, gashes, and other wounds of honor.

You can purchase one at the nearest $ store or search the world over to end up in Japan facing an 80 year old man who makes just a few knives each year that will cost thousands of dollars. The knives they use I thought were made of simple steel but my chef quickly corrected me: "No, there's virgin steel, stainless steel, alloy steel, blue steel, white steel, and steel blends." Silly me, why didn't I know that?

We always end up at Korin (downtown on Warren between W. Broadway and Church and Koring.com) that has the most helpful and courteous staff. When the chef is drooling over the knives through the glass cases I keep myself entertained reading the cookbooks or sitting at their little table. I think they put it there for chefswives. Even if the chef is going just to pick up a sharpening stone he always wanders towards the high end knives and gives me that look. And you know he loves the professional discount. Ah, the sweet taste of recognition and privilege.

The picture below shows Korin's showroom in downtown NYC.

I'm not sure about your chefs, but I know mine is very particular about his knives. He rolls his eyes when he has to cook at my parent's house who have common 'housewife knives'. He understands now that home and professional kitchens are different. After all, even my own kitchen has the hand me down knives that were once thought of to be amazing in my chef's culinary school days.
I remember that first call from the CIA. He was so impressed with the school grade knives that he wouldn't dare buy now. And when tv shows portray someone rapidly stroking a knife across a steel. "Ah!" I hear. "What are they doing? They're ruining the knife!" Knives are best kept sharp in order to prevent injuring yourself as well as yielding a better product. My chef sharpens his knives everyday and he has influenced his cooks to do the same. Dedication.

Hey Korin, you can make my chef "Chef of the Month" anytime!

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