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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

TIP OF THE DAY: Sharpen Your Knives & Free Sharpening From Sur La Table

A sharp knife slices easily and cleanly; a dull
knife requires more pressure and can slip
and cut you. Photo of Shun chef’s knife (the brand we use at THE NIBBLE) courtesy Sur La Table.


You can’t be a good cook—or a safe cook—without sharp knives. You should sharpen your knives at least twice a year; more often for the knives you use every day.

A dull knife blade makes cutting more time consuming and the edges of the sliced food less clean. And then there’s the the danger aspect: A dull blade needs you to expend more pressure, which can cause the blade to slip off the food and into your finger.

That’s why Sur La Table is encouraging you to take the time to sharpen your knives. From now until Thanksgiving, the gourmet retailer is offering:


With all the holiday cooking at hand, your knives should be at their best. So the gourmet retailer is offering free sharpening on the first knife for any knives sharpened at the stores (find the nearest Sur La Table store.)

This freebie applies to any shape, style or size of knife, except ceramic knives (which require special equipment), damaged knives and scissors.


All other knives can be sharpened for $5 apiece.


If you want to learn how to better use your knives better, Sur La Table offers a basic knife skills class. You’ll practice the fundamental cuts for vegetables—mince, dice, brunoise, batonnet and julienne—plus some advanced techniques.

You’ll also learn how to select a knife that best fits your needs, and share tips for keeping all your cutlery sharp and well maintained at home.


Use a sharpening stone. Most experts agree that a sharpening stone is the best method for home use: It provides the sharpest edge and removes the least amount of steel from the blade. You need some basic instruction, so if you have a friend who uses a sharpening stone, ask for a lesson.

Get a knife sharpener. Choose a manual knife sharpener as an easy home alternative. An electric knife sharpener may take less effort, but it also takes years off the life of your knife by removing a larger amount of steel from the blade. It also does not provide a great edge—it’s an OK edge.

Use a sharpening steel or honing steel. This steel rod, which is used religiously by professional chefs, is typically included with a set of good knives. With use, tiny metal fibers on the blade bend down, dulling the surface. The sharpening steel straightens those fibers to maintaining a sharp edge for daily use (and you can use it daily). You’ll still need those professional sharpenings, but not as frequently.
In this video, chef Jeffrey A. Wright shows how to use both the sharpening steel and the manual knife sharpener.

Finally, you can:

Seek out a professional. If you’re not near a Sur La Table, ask at your local hardware store or search online or in the Yellow Pages.


Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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