Every home cook values the reliability of a good kitchen knife. There should be a perfect balance between the blade and the handle, and it should be able to last for years of use. This is what the Schmidt Brothers in collaboration with west elm are all about. The world of cutlery can be mysterious for beginners, but getting the right tools is one of the main ingredients to cooking happiness. High-grade stainless-steel knives are an excellent choice.
If there is something the Schmidt Brothers excel at it is designing knives. This is due to the fact that these seasoned New York butchers combine the best sturdy German steel with their patented Schmidt Brothers Curve™. The hard edge blade gives you the chance to do the cutting like a professional chef would, while the curve in the blade gives your forefinger the rest it needs when cutting through meats, dicing veggies and slicing fruits and breads. Remember that a relaxed hand is less likely to make mistakes, and therefore less likely to get injured.
What’s the secret to keeping your knife blade sharp? Jared and Jordan Schmidt’s experience tells them the answer in part is the surface you choose to cut on. Cutting boards or countertops made of glass, stone or slate dull your knives, so stick with softer, more forgiving materials like wood and synthetic materials. Hand wash your knives as well. Putting them through the dishwasher breaks down the steel blade due to the harsher chemicals in the detergent, and the combination of hot water and cool air weakens the bond between the blade and handle. Instead, use mild soap, sponge and warm water to clean your knives, and they could end up being your lifelong friends in the kitchen. Hone your blade with a steel rod regularly, and when sharpening your blade is necessary, you have a choice of sharpening stones or electric sharpeners. How do you know it’s time to sharpen? The Schmidt Brothers knives are designed to keep a sharp edge, and they say if it can cut cleanly through a sheet of paper, it’s good to go. Anything less and it’s time to sharpen if honing isn’t enough.
If you had to choose just one knife to have in your kitchen, your go-to all-purpose blade would likely be a chef’s knife. A chef’s knife is designed to mince onions, slice tomatoes and chop broccoli for your chef salad while slicing beef and disjointing a whole chicken for your main course. The Schmidt Brother’s chef knife is an 8-inch masterpiece of high carbon stainless-steel. Both brothers claim it as their favourite among the six high quality knives they’ve designed and dub it “the most universal knife in the block.” You can buy the chef’s knife separately – choosing a beautiful acacia wood handle – or combine it with a 3-, 6- or 7- piece set of additional knives (and knife block in the 7-piece set) with a weighted stainless-steel handle.
The other knives in the Schmidt collection include a bread knife, Santoku knife, carver-slicer, double edge utility knife and paring knife. Your bread knife has a serrated edge for cleanly cutting through soft loaves of bread while leaving your slices fluffy and fitly formed. The Santoku knife is similar in usefulness to your chef’s knife, but it also has a wider blade that’s so helpful in scooping up the batch of garlic you just minced and chopping through an entire bunch of parsley with ease.
While all of the Schmidt Brother’s knives have custom blades, the double edge utility knife goes a step further by adding a micro-serration to the very tip. This lets you pierce a melon, for example, then cut straight down with the serrated edge. And your paring knife is a friendly 4-inch blade that fits comfortably in the hand for peeling an orange and de-veining shrimp. Keep your knives handy as well as protected in a knife block. The Schmidt Brothers design their blocks to be extra roomy, displaying your cutlery through acrylic sheets attached to both sides of a block of acacia wood.