THIS IS THE TALE OF a third-degree separation from two of the most prestigious knifemakers in Europe.
In addition to regular sharpening and honing, home cooks are supposed to have their knives professionally sharpened once yearly. Thus, one recent Friday, I dutifully handed over two 8″ chef’s knives (a thick one for meats, a thin one for plants) to our beloved local kitchen-supply store. Having received and paid for the knives the following Sunday, I brought them home, washed them off, gave them the thumbnail test, and set about chopping an onion for chicken soup.
It was like chopping air. The blade was at least as sharp as when I bought it — perhaps more so.
After the soup was made I called the store to tell them what a great job their sharpener had done. “That’s good to hear,” said the man on the other end of the phone, who explained with quiet pride that their sharpener had designed his own sharpening equipment — which so impressed the world-class Wusthof and Henckels knifemakers, renowned among cooks and chefs for their excellence, that they contracted with him to replicate it for their own use.
“Wow,” I said, and meant it.
It’s good to know that here in Sonoma, itself a world-class food and wine destination, even our otherwise obscure craftsmen can dance with the big boys.