This is the fourth installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.
With 20 years of globetrotting and culinary experience under his belt, Chef Jason Wilson has the kind of insight into kitchen knives that few possess. Since its opening in 2005, Wilson’s restaurant, Crush, has earned him accolade after accolade from the James Beard Foundation, Food & Wine magazine, and others for his commitment to high-quality ingredients and the inventive and whimsical ways in which he and his team make them all work together. If you’re ever in Seattle, stop by Crush just to check out Wilson’s Bacon and Eggs dish, an orgasmic combination of local meat with smoked Steelhead salmon roe, bourbon maple syrup, and parsnip flan.
We’ve got Chef Wilson’s kitchen knife insights, which alternate between straightforward and downright mystical (in an awesome way), after the jump!
Soleil Ho: What was your first, real-deal kitchen knife? What was the experience of using it like?
Jason Wilson: I bought a Masahiro 10-inch chef’s knife from JB Prince in 1995, while I worked at the Flying Saucer in San Francisco for my mentor Albert Tordjman. The experience is still with me today; only now, it’s an 8-inch knife.
SH: How big is your kitchen knife collection?
JW: It’s as big as it needs to be. My knives are extensions of my hands and myself as a cook so I only have what is relevant at that time, which is currently 12 knives. I am expanding though, with antique butcher’s cleavers and butcher’s knives because of our second project.
SH: What are your favorite brands? Why?
JW: Masahiro and Misono. Quality.
SH: What do you look for in a good chef’s knife?
JW: Weight (or lack of it) and the ability to hold an edge, but overall it’s a connection.
SH: Do you have any knife buying and maintenance advice for home cooks?
JW: Spend money on what you feel is the very best, then take care of it and respect it like it’s a part of the family, because it will give you great pleasure in return.
The knives pictured are my two favorite knives after a night’s service (which can include a cooking class with 5 courses for 10 people). They are both Masahiro molyboedum vanadium stainless steel and are both 9 years old. And still amazing.