Photos: Naoto Ijichi
The essential components of tasty cuisine are top quality ingredients, the touch of a good chef and the equipment in their right hand. Just like a samurai could not exist without their sword, a chef can’t exist without their kitchen knives.
Currently, the export of Japanese made high quality kitchen knives is rapidly spreading across the globe. The reason non-Japanese chefs love these knives so much is by merit of their astonishing cutting ability. Japanese knives are uniquely designed to cut without needing much force at all. The circumstances which have brought about the evolution of these knives is a culture of subtle and detailed food preparation that is an essential part of traditional Japanese cuisine.
ACCORDING TO THE FOOD EXPERTS, WHAT MAKES A GOOD KNIFE?
Mr Takashi Sano, sushi chef at popular Sydney restaurant Sokyo, says knives are an important partner just like one’s wife. A good knife has a certain familiarity in one’s hand which acts in harmony with the chef’s thoughts and to date, this has provided much satisfaction to gourmet clients in Sydney at Azuma, Tetsuya’s and a number of top restaurants serving Japanese, western and modern Australian fare. These knives give the ability to cut fish in a clean and precise manner without any hindrance allowing for beautiful presentation of the food and the wonderful texture and flavours to be felt when eaten. The sizes and shapes of the many styles of Japanese knives are a strong ally of a chef and it is said this bond is well understood and cherished by non-Japanese chefs too.
THE BEST WAY TO MAINTAIN HIGH QUALITY UTENSILS
In order to not only craft the appearance of the cuisine but also the flavour, it is vital that anyone working in a kitchen chooses the optimum knife and takes extra special care with the maintenance of both the blade and the handle. In Sydney, Knives and Stones is a specialist shop selling a huge range of Japanese made homeware, knives and sharpening stones. On top of selling their high grade wares, they also undertake the difficult maintenance of the knives including polishing and fixing chipped and bent blades. The owner James says that with just one maintenance session, you’ll soon have a blade which can cut through anything with the utmost ease.
When using a knife for a number of years, there is a chance that parts of the wood in the handle may become corroded, splinter, or the original pattern may lose its detail due to the constant pressure from one’s hand. When this happens, it’s a good idea to consult Knives and Stones to repair or replace the handle. Their showroom also displays the best Japanese knives such as: Sakai Takayuki and Masamoto Sohonten; and sharpening tools so it’s perfect for people who are serious about looking after their equipment and keeping it in top condition.