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John Metz, Marlow's Tavern
My favorite knife is my Japanese cleaver, which I bought in Japan and have had for almost 20 years. It's about 12 inches long and extremely thin. I have never had to sharpen it, and it has been used a ton. It's lightweight, with a wooden handle with Japanese symbols, and very unique. It's razor sharp, and the best slicing knife I have ever used. If you don't have a sharp knife, you should not be allowed to cut anything in the kitchen. A sharp knife is the most valuable piece of equipment in every kitchen in the world.
Zeb Stevenson, Livingston Restaurant+Bar (pictured)
I recently retired a dear old friend of mine. My crew affectionately referred to it as "the toothpick." I knew it simply as "my boning knife." Regardless of its name, I came to love that knife, and, on the day that it finally saw its last act of service, I'll admit that I felt some level of sadness.
The knife was given to me 12 years ago by an old chef. I had lost my boning knife at work and was evidently vocal enough about it that she bought me a replacement. Looking back I'm sure that she bought it for no other reason than to shut me up. It worked.
That knife and I have been through it all. From line cook to executive chef and every stage in between I used that knife. I learned to cut fish and butcher whole animals with it, and I used it enough that my thumb rubbed a groove in the handle. No other tool has ever conformed to me the way that it did.
I once lost it, along with my entire knife kit, for about nine months when I was foolish enough to leave it at an event. I remember getting the call when the knives had been found. Out of all of them I was happiest to have that particular one back.
Years and years of sharpening took its toll eventually, wearing the blade down to a thin and short point about 4 inches long, and little more than a quarter of an inch thick at the base. I continued to use it knowing that its days were numbered. One day it happened.
About two months ago I was butchering a pig and made an inattentive move. The tip of "the toothpick" got wedged in a joint and snapped off, bending the rest of the blade in the process. I thought about hammering and grinding it down to save it and get a little bit more work out of it, but decided not to.
I guess I gave it the burial suited to a chef's knife. I didn't frame it or display it prominently. I simply wrapped it in a towel, taped it up and tossed it in the dumpster on my way out. To date, I still haven't purchased another boning knife. Eventually there will be another, but it will never be anything like the toothpick.
Tags: Food Issue, Bradley Chance, The Spence, Mihoko Obunai, Miso Izakaya, Jordan Wakefield, Meehan’s Public House, Jordan Wakefield, Meehan’s Public House, Duane Nutter, One Flew South, Eli Kirshtein, Chad Clevenger, Alma Cocina, Colin Miles, Leon’s Full Service, Pura Vida, John Metz, Marlow’s Tavern, Zeb Stevenson, Livingston Restaurant+Bar, Takao Moriuchi, Taka Sushi and Passion
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