A passion for food + fashion

I’m In the Mood for Love

In Food on March 7, 2009 at 9:55 am


This past Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be really romantic to sign up my husband and me for a knife skills class. After all, nothing says “till death do us part” quite like a 10-inch chef’s knife. My knife obsession is no secret, and our kitchen features two knife drawers each holding about 10—one for Germans and the other for Japanese, with the Germans in the west drawer and the Japanese in the east. I love reaching into a drawer on a whim, and picking up an old friend that feels right for the task. Maybe I want to use my beloved Michel Bras all-purpose knife with a titanium-coated blade to slice mushrooms. Or my trusty Wüsthof chef’s knife to dice a pork butt. Or slice carpaccio paper thin with a spectacularly sharp FKW 9 MAC knife. Here’s a sneak peek of a few of the knives in each of the drawers.


There will be tons more posts on knives in future, believe me, but back to our knife skills class, which was held last night at Sur la Table at The Farmers Market. While I have ZERO formal culinary training, I have long been a fan of the instructor’s preferred “pinch grip” (which Alton Brown showed me years ago when we were judging a wild game competition together in Portland, Oregon) and the “claw” to keep your fingernails intact, but I learned a few new tricks including how to do a fine julienne, and an awesome new way to chop onions. However, allow me to save you the $79 (come on over, and we’ll julienne for free!) and any guilt over your love affair with sharp blades and lots of ’em. Our instructor systematically dissed just about every knife in my albeit excessive collection, telling us that all we need is a chef’s knife and maybe a paring knife (hot tip though: her favorite paring knife is one sold at Smart & Final for a song). I’m sure this is true—you really can do anything with a chef’s knife from clobbering a whole chicken to smashing and mincing garlic, but where’s the romance?

  1. I’m insanely jealous of your knife collection. (Michel Bras – Nice)! I just started “collecting” and have the Wusthof Classic paring & bread knife which were a basic start for a non-cook like myself. For Christmas I received the Wüsthof Grand Prix II Hollow-Ground Santoku – LOVE it. I look forward to hearing more about your favorites and why I might “need” them.

    • machs – come on down and let’s get chopping! wustoff is a great way to go for the basics. but let’s talk about adding a few japanese friends to your german collection. can you get your hands on a ken onion chef’s knife at work? or try mine. ergonomically it feels so amazing, and i love this knife. but basically you have three excellent knives that will be the foundation of your collection. from there, it’s all nuance. come and play with mine and with tiny g!!!

  2. I have to get a trip on the books! I need to see tiny g again…and also MUST see this knife collection. What size ken onion do you recommend? (P.S. I’m teaching myself to cook)…
    Domo arigato!

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