I am a married man involved in a love affair … and my wife is very much aware of it! My mistress is foreign, German to be exact, with Japanese roots and a Western style. Although her exterior is tough and she can be as cold as ice, the product of her ambition warms the souls of all who come in contact with it. Thin, yet thick in the right places with an inviting arch in her back, she is a genuine beauty! When I hold her, it feels as if she was made for my grasp. Always sharp, never dull, she receives my admiration for her brilliance, strength and endurance. The precision with which she carries out all tasks amazes me. Her name is Santoku and she is my chef knife.
Together, we create the most marvelous duet; though I have to admit, at first, I was not that into her. I was lovesick. This is not my first affair, you see. There was another, and she was taken from me. This day was a tragic one. My knife kit, containing the first knife I had ever fallen in love with, was stolen by an anonymous student peer on campus. Luckily, this underhanded act was countered with an act of complete generosity and kindness. One of my professors upon hearing about the incident presented me with a new kit containing a Santoku knife worth almost $200.
For the rest of the day, I chopped, cut, and sliced with my new knife sad, dejected, and, admittedly, seething. As the anger began to wear thin, I started to notice her. Santoku had the glistening metallic shine of finely polished stainless steel and she was stamped with the logo of Messermeister from whence she had come. She was poised as if with perfect balance provided by the bolster located at the front of her handle. Her frame was tapered thinner than that of the love I had lost. How easily she glided through any obstacle I placed before her! After all, her name means “3 good things” as she is able to cut vegetables, fish, and meat with ease (Messermeister).
The more I embraced her, the better our relationship became. I began to relish the crunching sound of the vegetables and the pungent smell released from fresh herbs as her blade slid through the plants. I noticed that her wide blade made tasks such as smashing garlic for peeling far simpler. Flinching anytime I heard the audio confirmation that my knife skills were a bit off, I would panic and quickly pull my blade up for a thorough examination for any chipping. The delightful sound she made when hitting the cutting board after making the perfect cut developed into an obsession. I even developed a custom of tapping the cutting board once before I began to chop. That was it! I had fallen for Santoku.
Santoku and I now spend as much time together as my wife and I. She is especially meaningful to me. Santoku is not just a knife. She is a sign. She came at a time when I wasn’t sure if the career change I was attempting was right for me. When my knife kit was stolen, it put a damper on my spirit. I really wasn’t sure if I should even continue attending culinary school. Confirmation came when I received my new kit … and my dear Santoku.
By Marlon A Jackson, C.C.
For Research & Writing – Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Management Bachelor Program