5 things you should know before spending $500 on a knife

That's half a rent cheque. These better be good reasons...

August 10, 2016

By Jenni Baynham

We spoke with self-proclaimed knife nerd and owner of Knifewear Kevin Kent ahead of his blacksmiths, beer, and hotdogs party Wednesday night (a.k.a Knifewear’s grand opening party) about why buying a “proper knife” could become the latest culinary craze in Vancouver. Here are Kent’s five tips on knife selection before you commit to parting with your hard-earned dollars.

1. Find the right store
“Make sure you pick a store that has a selection of different makes, not just their own brand of knives. The store should also have educated staff that can help you and teach you about knives. They should always have knives and food on hand so you can actually try cutting before you buy. If the staff are all a bunch of burnt-up chefs like us, even better.”

2. ‘The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter. It’s not always clear why.’
“You want to choose a knife that feels right in your hand. Everybody has a different idea of what feels nice—if everyone liked the same kind of knife, you’d have but one type of knife. The knife should be an extension of you.”

3. Judge the book by its cover
“You want a knife that you love looking at. You want to love looking at that knife so much that you feel like a rockstar. If you really love it, you’ll want to rush home from work at night and start making coleslaw.”

4. You should only have to buy it once
“A proper knife is a lifetime commitment. You can maintain it, have it sharpened, and keep treating it well for your whole life.”

5. Know your knife’s soul
“Why shouldn’t you go to Ikea and buy a mass-produced set of knives for $30? Because you can’t fall in love with some trinket that’s been stamped out of a machine. A man with a hammer and an anvil has made your knife; it’s a connection to something real. Most people don’t have something handmade in their lives that they can treasure, and a knife can be that item for a lot of people.”

Kevin Kent is a former chef who has opened Knifewear locations in Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and now on 4215 Main St. in Vancouver.

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