A great knife makes cooking a pleasure, and twice as easy too. To me knives are a thing of beauty and so important to cooking. A sharp blade provides ease of cutting. It’s one of the reasons why people don’t enjoy cooking because they don’t have the right tools and are using a blunt knife to cut carrots. Using a good knife can transform the experience.
As a chef, knives are the ultimate tool. They are sacred in some ways. It’s the first tool you put in your hand as a chef so there is a connection and a relationship, which is why chefs are so pedantic and never like anyone else to pick up their knife or heaven forbid, sharpen it. The way you sharpen your knife and look after it becomes very particular.
Ten years ago my wife Lizzie introduced me to what I consider a very special club made up of chefs and people who own a Peter Lorimer knife. Peter is based in the small town of Omakau in Central Otago, New Zealand where he has been making knives for the 15 years and perfected his craft. He is an absolute artist. Each of his knives are handmade and loved all the way until it becomes yours. It’s like buying a family heirloom. No two are the same.
Lizzie gave me my first Peter Lorimer knife and the moment I unwrapped it I fell in love with it. I use it every day and it just gets better and better. I spend time sharpening it with a stone and bringing the edge back with steel. It’s a tool, a work of art, just a beautiful thing to have in your hand.
Since then I’ve added other knives to my collection. I also have a whole set of vintage Sabatier carbon steel knives from France. I’m a bit of a knife addict.
Even though I’ve been using Peter’s knives for 10 years I only met him for the first time two years ago. He is a fantastic man and incredibly talented and seeing him in his environment and at one with the land gives you a sense of his passion because his knives are so beautiful.
If you have a Peter Lorimer knife you show it off, you feel part of a club and privileged to be able to use such a beautiful thing. It is also like supporting an artisan grower.
When choosing a knife it is all about ergonomics and balance. I’m a big guy and do a lot of chopping. If you are female you might want a smaller handle. It’s like a tennis racket. You need to find a handle you like, that feels right and balanced so you can chop for an hour or so and not feel fatigued.