Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chop Chop. Who wants to win some knives?

Chop chop

Dear Mary Mother of God making knives. Would you look at these!!!



Are they not some of the most beautiful knives you have ever seen? I love my job, I truly do and that love is taken to lust worthy proportions when I get the opportunity to give you, my dear readers, some god damn sexy amazing knives. I had actually been coveting these ever since I saw them in an issue of Gourmet Traveller then boom.

How lucky are we? Cue delirious happy dance.

Messermeister knives have released the Oliva collection – possibly some of the most beautiful hand forged German knives with a natural Italian olive wood handle. They are so good looking. And an absolute joy to use. They are solid, but light enough for you to remain nimble. I think that’s one of the hardest things to balance when finding a few all purpose knives for use in the kitchen. You want weight in the steel but a lightness in the handle so you can continue a smooth slicing/chopping/hacking motion (and yes sometimes hacking is the only way).

I’ll never forget my first day in the kitchen in culinary school. There we were, fresh deck of knives in front of us, nervous as hell. Some pretended they knew a whole lot more than they did, there were those who just started chopping, and some who stared at them in trepidation with what can only be described as pure fear. The day was bloody. While I managed a few superficial nicks and only about seven blue band aids, there were spraying fingers, wrists and hands. Knives are a weapon, no doubt, but when handled correctly and maintained (aka seriously sharp) they really are a beautiful thing, and an absolute pleasure to use in the kitchen.

So this week I am going to post a few hints and tips on getting the most out of your knives each day with some links to find out more. Feel free to comment on each and every post. I am a sucker for knife injuries – love those stories – keep em coming and a winner will be picked by me and the team at Messermeister then two glorious knives will be on their way to a new home. A 20cm Stealth Chefs Knife (RRP$219.95) and a 9cm Paring Knife (RRP$99.95) (Australian residents only). In the interests of full disclosure yes Messermeister are doing a knife giveaway but these posts on knife skills are just some ramblings and hard won lessons I have encountered along the way.

Kicking off today’s post. Some basic rules for using knives
  • -       The sharper your knife the less you cry
  • -       Right tool for the job
  • -       Dry, clean work surface
  • -       Concentrate
  • -       Let the knife sit in your hands, don’t grip onto it with white in your knuckles. Relax.
  • -       The speed will come. Work on precision and technique first


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  2. I completely agree, "the sharper the knife the less you cry ' unless you're my husband who has not followed the second rule of "the right tool for the job" and tried to use the knife as a gouging implement to remove an avocado pip and sliced into his hand instead (the avocado pip went nowhere). "No, no!" said our chef friends, "you need to whack the pip and then twist it out with the knife",apparently you pick up some useful tips at cheffing school, "Thanks" said my husband with six stitches -well maybe only two. I made a mental note never to try the gouging technique and to stick to slicing and dicing.

  3. I was a chopping god. Perfect onion half-moons flying out under the sheer will of my hardened steel blade. Then my mate calls out about something funny on TV... and a perfect circle of fingernail joins the onions. No pain at first, but a moment of uncertainty - "did I or did I not?" The blood starts slowly at first, but soon becomes a river. No god, but a man. Never did find that fingernail...

  4. I'm simultaneously very clumsy and (relatively) quick of reflexes. Go figure.
    While chopping vegetables for soup, I made somehow knocked my housemate's chopping knife from the bench. Without thinking, I put my foot out to catch it, much like I would having dropped a glass. 5 stitches later, I've learned to let falling objects, well, fall.

  5. I left my chef’s knife standing upright in the drying rack with the intention of drying it after closing the sash window in front of me. While closing the window, my left hand slipped and I stabbed my left forearm with the knife (it was so sharp I didn’t feel it!). The force was great enough to get the end of the knife embedded in my forearm bone (ulna), which then broke off and shattered into several pieces in my arm. A trip to A&E, a few X-rays, several hours and four cosmetic surgeons later, they had managed to remove all the pieces of shattered knife from my arm – except for the piece that was lodged in the bone. A visit to the orthopaedic surgeon the next day concluded that the only way to remove the remaining piece of the knife was to break my bone. I declined, and endured another few months of weekly X-rays so the surgeon could monitor that the bone was successfully knitting over the knife. It’s still there to this day (as is the scar), and I do sometimes set off metal detectors in airports! Most amusing part of the whole story – my partner arriving at A&E wielding the rest of the knife (why?!) resulting in a security commotion. The worst part of the whole story – losing my beautiful chef’s knife :(

    1. Hi JN,
      Congrats you are the winner of the two knives.

      Can you email me your details at

      Many thanks,

    2. Thanks Katrina, that's brilliant! I have emailed you my details :)

  6. You got a really useful blog I have been here reading for about an hour. I am a newbie and your success is very much an inspiration for me.

    Tool Steels For Demolition Knives & Tool Steels For Slitter and Side Trimmer Knives