Matt Gray: Kitchen Knives

As a chef for a long number of years, one abiding theme is my obsession with kitchen knives. On another vein, this same type of obsession applies to wrist watches. (I have always said that, as a chef, time is my worst enemy, but somehow I fell in love with the instruments that measure it.) However, that is a story for another time.

Let’s talk about knives!!!!

Knives are the tool of the chef trade and as such are an extension of your hand. The importance of a good knife is immeasurable and the importance of the sharpness of said instrument just as much so.

As a Commis Chef first getting into the trade, knives fascinated me as they still do today. Any spare cash was spent on a new knife, even if I didn’t need it. The old favorites featured heavily were Wusthof, Henckels, Victorinox, and, latterly, Global, which were new and exciting in the early 90’s. This collection is now vast, and although I need another knife like I need a hole in the head, they still fascinate me some 30 years later and I continue to purchase them.

The knife is a chef’s number one tool in my opinion, and therefore it distresses and annoys the hell out of me when cooks and chefs pay very little respect and don’t look after them. They throw them in sinks, put them through dishwashers, and certainly don’t keep them sharp. Eventually, the complaints come out that their knife isn’t sharp, and when they eventually try to sharpen them, there is little or no edge left. This is next to impossible with a kitchen steel. Guys and girls: please look after your tools and they will serve you well for a long number of years! I still have all the knifes I have ever purchased.

But I digress from the point of my story. Having been based in the USA for the last seven years, one thing that has come to my attention is the prevalence of individuals who have turned knife-making into a cottage industry. There are a large number of artisan knife makers in the USA who are turning out absolutely fabulous knives; each are unique and wonderful in their own way.

The part of this I found most interesting is that a large number are made by re-purposing carbon steel which is left over by industries when they are finished using it. These fabulous blades are made from all sorts of discarded materials, including old lumber mill blades and car suspension parts, to name a few. The icing on the cake is that the handles and bolster can also be made from recycled materials. Needless to say, you know what is coming next! Yes, I do own a number of these knives and as I write this blog there is another on the way!

Matt Gray brings a wealth of world-class resort and restaurant experience to his leadership role as the guiding force behind Valor Hospitality’s food and beverage operations. Mr. Gray oversees menu and recipe creation, pricing, procurement, kitchen design and flow, staff recruitment and training and total cost controls across all disciplines.