In his bestselling memoir Kitchen Confidential, the late Anthony Bourdain lays out a less-is-more approach to knife ownership.
“I wish sometimes I could go through the kitchens of amateur cooks everywhere, just throwing knives out from their drawers,” he writes. "Not one of the damn things could cut a tomato.”
Bourdain argues in favour of investing in just three knives: one high-quality chef’s knife (“as large as is comfortable for your hand”), one versatile paring knife, and one serrated knife.
Now Hinoki, a Melbourne-based knife-making company, has distilled that same idea into a new range of durable cooking blades, which are made in the Japanese city of Sakai and do away with the need for a seven-set knife block.
“The whole concept with the Essential range is these are the [only] three knives we think anyone will ever need,” says director Hamish Grace.
The Essential range is designed to be more accessible than Hinoki's other knives (one of which, the carbon S1 Gyuto knife, costs $598), with individual blades costing between $215 and $250, and a set of three starting at $705.
Despite the lower price, each knife is still made in Japan, and can be returned to Hinoki for renewal or repair at any time.
They can be customised with your initials, and there's a choice of ebony or walnut hardwood for the handle, and brushed-chrome or obsidian-black stainless steel for the blade.
Grace says the matte-look finish of the obsidian-black is particularly hard to achieve. “It’s a jealously guarded technique, even the bladesmiths in Japan won’t tell me how it’s done.”