When it comes to eating dinner, what’s on the plate is usually the main event. But the founder of Melbourne-based company Krof reckons cutlery is an integral – yet unsung – element.
“Australians are culinary leaders. We care so much about food and love dining, yet somehow we’re using ordinary tools to deliver the food to our mouths,” Nicholas Johnston says. “It’s a very intimate product that we’re putting in our mouths, multiple times a day, every day of the year.”
Johnston, former industrial designer at award-winning bathroom and kitchen outfitter Rogerseller, launched Krof in November last year along with co-owner Kristian Klein, who co-owns playful Japanese diner Mr Miyagi).
“[Klein] was dumbfounded about … the fact we were okay using average, poorly made, cheap quality cutlery that hasn’t caught up with the food that we eat now,” Johnston says.
Krof’s debut collection, No. 1, is a sleek 24-piece set that includes knives, forks, dessert spoons and teaspoons made from stainless steel and finished in either matte black, brushed gold or silver.
Johnston says the design process involved prototyping to work out the best angles, shapes and volumes for each piece. The team looked at what worked best for spooning cereal into mouths, and slicing through crusty sourdough. “Forking and twirling the spaghetti around the four tines [the prongs of a fork] works better than three or five,” he says.
The handle of each piece is well considered, too.
“I kept going back to the watchmaking industry. If you look at the tools they use, there’s a flat section that you put your finger on that stops things from moving or twisting,” Johnston explains.
“Every [Krof] piece is cylindrical, but it has this scallop cut out. For the fork and spoon, you can hold it firmly with just your top finger. With the knife, it has two flat sections on both sides to stop the knife from rotating and you can control it.”
The collection is priced at $349, and is dishwasher-safe – the Mr Miyagi team tested the utensils in the busy restaurant for eight months to ensure they could handle plenty of use.
Every piece is hand polished, too. “We polish between every fork tine, which not many people do or care about,” Johnston says.
Next, the team plans to launch serving utensils, cheese knives and platters.