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Sharp: The Definitive Guide to Knives

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Sharp: The Definitive Guide to Knives

Do you know the best knife to buy and how to maintain it, have you nailed your knife skills, do you know the difference between Western and Japanese knives and where the first chef's knife came from?

If you're an enthusiastic home cook that can admit to owning blunt knives or possessing less than sharp slicing skills and rusty knife trivia, let US cutlery store owner Josh Donald help you explore the full potential of your knife drawer in Sharp: The Definitive Guide to Knives, knife Car and Cutting Techniques, with Recipes from Great Chefs.

While the title of his new book might be something of a mouthful, the comprehensive guide penned by the owner of San Francisco knife shop Bernal Cutlery and Molly Gore, does exactly what it says - offering an accessible introduction to knives for home cooks—from picking the right knife to maintenance and honing knife skills.

Taking leave of his specialist knife shop in San Francisco Donald also embarks on an overseas adventure in his quest to find the first chef's knife and visiting both western and Japanese knife makers on his way, like Thiers in France and Tsubame-sanjo in Kyoto, Japan. 

But, it's not all educational, there's also a recipe section with 15 chefs sharing some favourite recipes and knives they use to make them. From Stuart Brioza of San Francisco's State Bird Provisions' duck breast and cucumber salad to Melissa Perello from Michelin starred, Frances with her autumn squash salad and spiced hone vinaigrette and many more.

And, if you're all about the pictures, there's also wealth of photos from Molly DeCoudreaux  capturing the knifemakers of the world plus unique knives and chef dishes, that might just inspire you to dust down your sharpening stone and re-kindle your passion for your favourite knife!





As part of our research on the history of culinary knives we of course had to travel to Thiers the capital of French knife making. While there found many similarities in techniques used in Solingen where we had arrived from, some variations on similar themes we also found some big differences from the different cultures and histories of France and Germany. Of course the chef knife was star of the show (isn’t always that way) and we wanted to trace its origins, find the “first chef knife” which proved nearly impossible. Just as soon as it seemed we had nailed a great great grandparent, say, a wide bladed court carving knife from the 1500’s an older knife with that same footprint arrived and messed up the equation. While the ur-chef knife was not to be found, France held the keys to the chef knife and its evolution in other ways.. Read all about what we found in our book Sharp which goes on sale June 5th! Written by Josh Donald and Molly Gore with photography by Molly Decoudreaux. Sharp is an introduction to culinary knives; history, sharpening, and knife skills techniques with Bay Area chefs Melissa Perillo, Traci des Jardins, Stuart Brioza, Loretta Keller, Jesse Koide, Sean Thomas, Koichi Ishii, Nick Balla and Harry Kongvongxay, Armando Maes, Troy Wilcox, Melissa Reitz and Chris Kronner. Sharp travels from Thiers France and Solingen Germany in Europe to Sakai, Tsubame-Sanjo and Kyoto in Japan and back to the States to Santa Fe to make knives with Shehan Prull and finally back home for sharpening with Josh Donald and a look at knife skills with Bay Area chefs and members of the Bernal Cutlery staff. Published by Chronicle Books Thanks to @shihanfineknives @bunnyenterprises73 @mdecoudreaux @grandmapaperpants @philippe_bournilhas_k_sabatier @giselheid123 @tim_foolery @lisamotherfugginweiss @samueltruitt @takanocaca @m_perello @tracidesjardins @atomicstew @pinkzebrasf @shonthomas @savroso @balla_and_burns @kingkrushmode @tv.dubs @m.r.mel1 @kronnerburger #bernalcutlery #mdxphoto #bernalcutlerysharp #thiers #sabatier #ksabatier #frechknives #chefknife #foodhistory

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