If you’re cursing the knife that came with share-house number three – with its blunt blade, plastic handle and inability to properly chop an onion or julienne ginger – it might be time for something new. But, unless you share your current house with a chef, or have embarked on an apprenticeship yourself, it’s likely you’ll have no idea what you’re looking for when you decide to splurge on a high-end knife. And it’s worth knowing something because the price of knives can skyrocket into the thousands.
Leigh Hudson of Chef’s Armoury can point you in the right direction. He can explain the difference between a run-of-the-mill knife and an exceptional piece of craftsmanship; why one knife costs a couple of hundred dollars and another costs thousands; can recommend a knife to suit your budget; and will teach you how to maintain it.
The first Chef’s Armoury to open in Melbourne (Hudson has another store in Sydney) specialises in handmade Japanese knives, which Hudson believes are the best in the world. “They’re noticeably sharper, stay sharp for longer and are a true thing of beauty,” he says.
An ex-chef himself, Hudson has spent a lot of time at the various knife manufacturers in Japan, sourcing knives made of the best steel, using the finest techniques. He is also the first non-Japanese to be certified by knife house Sakai Takayuki as a specialist in knife sharpening and repair.
Bespoke knives are also available, as is handmade cast-iron Japanese cookware from Oigen. There is a selection of Japanese grocery products and Japanese sharpening stones, kitchen utensils, Japanese hibachi grills and cookbooks.
Melbourne chefs are already herding towards Chef’s Armoury, but home cooks can tool up too. We feel some Christmas shopping coming on.