Friday, June 4, 2010

Cuts Like a Knife

Anyone serious about cooking knows how invaluable a sharp knife is. There are so many gadgets out there to sharpen knives, and most don’t work, but sending your knives out to be sharpened is a risky business unless you know they will be sharpened by hand. If a knife is sharpened by a machine, it is done on an electric stone, which usually gets too hot and ruins the tempering of the knife. It can never keep a sharp edge.
I believe through years of experience that the best way to maintain your knives is to sharpen by hand with two whetstones, one to get the blade sharp and the other to fine tune the edge. The only drawback to sharpening this way is that it takes a good half hour per knife—honestly, I am lazy and would rather have someone else do it for me. The problem is that I haven’t found anyone in L.A.—until now.
My life has changed.
While shopping for a broom in Little Tokyo, I stumbled into a charming old-school hardware store called Anzen. Inside I noticed two worn-out sharpening stones on the counter. I asked the owner, Norihiko Takatani, if he sharpened knives. He explained that he did and that it’s a service he likes to offer his customers. I was ecstatic, because who knows knives better than the Japanese?