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Published on March 27th, 2011 | by Rita


Keeping Sharp in the Kitchen with KAF and New West

There are some things that work so well to­geth­er that it’s im­pos­si­ble not to think of one with­out the oth­er. That’s how I’ve start­ed to feel about my knives and cut­ting boards. Over the years I’ve been very for­tu­nate to ac­quire sev­er­al amaz­ing knives, many of which con­tin­ue to hold high es­teem in my kitchen. My search for cut­ting boards has tak­en a bit longer, as I of­ten go back and forth be­tween my love of nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, and my love for re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als. It’s pos­si­ble that I’ve hit the best com­bi­na­tion of all, thanks to New West Knife Works, and Epi­cure­an, via King Arthur Flours.

All of these com­pa­nies are mak­ing long strides to­wards green­er pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, as well as putting fo­cus on their own com­mu­ni­ties. In a world where there is so­cial and po­lit­i­cal un­rest all around, it’s en­cour­ag­ing to see com­pa­nies fo­cus­ing on lo­cal com­mu­ni­ty wel­fare and sus­tain­able busi­ness prac­tices.

I’ve shared two knives from New West Knife works in the past, both the Phoenix 9 Chef’s Knife, and the Su­per Bread Knife. Both are works of art, and both are long-last­ing, ra­zor sharp knives. I can con­fi­dent­ly make that claim with sev­er­al years of use un­der my belt now. I’m ex­cit­ed to share the Chop­per Chef. The pre­vi­ous two knives I’ve re­viewed are both full size chef’s knives, where­as to­day’s knife is an ex­treme­ly ver­sa­tile medi­um sized knife, per­fect for chop­ping veg­eta­bles. The blade is a bit beefi­er than a 9” chef’s knife, as well as short­er at 5.5”, with more to grip near the han­dle. This makes it ide­al for veg­eta­bles of all sizes and den­si­ties. I can go from pota­toes to straw­ber­ries to onions with ease.

Like the pre­vi­ous Fu­sion­wood knife from New West, the Chop­per Chef has a beau­ti­ful han­dle, and is now made en­tire­ly in the Unit­ed States. (A quick word re­gard­ing the Phoenix line of knives- New West will be dis­con­tin­u­ing the Dam­as­cus steel that is man­u­fac­tured in Japan, and will be re­leas­ing a new line of knives to re­place them lat­er this year. If you’re in­ter­est­ed in one of the Phoenix knives be sure to or­der one soon, as there will be no new stock.) Care for these knives is the same, hand-wash, and dry im­me­di­ate­ly, prefer­ably re-sheath­ing in the leather sheath that they come with to pro­tect both the blade and your fin­gers. New West is giv­ing one of these knives to a Tru­ly Kitchen read­er, so if you’d like your shot at one, head over to their site to sign up for your chance to get a Chop­per Chef for free! If you aren’t the lucky re­cip­i­ent of a new knife you can still own one for $99, avail­able di­rect­ly through New West Knife Works.

Knives are fun, but dan­ger­ous if you don’t have prop­er sur­face to use them on. That’s where King Arthur Floursand Epi­cure­an come in. I test­ed out the 11×14” re­cy­cled cut­ting board, and I think I’m in love. This board com­bines my love for re­cy­cled prod­ucts with my love of nat­u­ral prod­ucts. Made en­tire­ly out of re­cy­cled pa­per and card­board. I was wor­ried that it might feel flim­sy, or do strange things when wet, but this board per­forms like a champ. It’s nice and slim, rea­son­ably lightweight, and has a very nice aes­thet­ic to it. It’s heat re­sis­tant to 350F, so it can be used as a triv­et with­out burn­ing, as well as dish­wash­er safe, mak­ing it ex­treme­ly easy to clean.

Be­cause the board is made from nat­u­ral fibers it’s im­por­tant that it doesn’t stay wet in­def­i­nite­ly, or there is the pos­si­bil­i­ty that it could warp. It’s large­ly stain re­sis­tant, though again, there are a few things like pa­paya and beets that could stain the board, due to en­zymes in the food. The sur­face of this cut­ting board scores slight­ly, so it will not dull your knives, which is prob­a­bly my fa­vorite thing over­all. It’s no sur­prise to me that a com­pa­ny like King Arthur Flour would seek out prod­ucts like the Epi­cure­an boards, as both com­pa­nies have a com­mit­ment to the bet­ter­ment of their com­mu­ni­ties, along with so­cial­ly con­scious busi­ness prac­tices. The 11×14” board is avail­able from King Arthur Flour for around $27, and comes in three dif­fer­ent sizes, start­ing at $13 for the small­est board.

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About the Author

Professionally in healthcare, and semi-professionally a photographer, former student at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, and full-time student of human nature, Rita has been writing for Truly Net for many years. Born and raised in the Midwest, she spent years on Oahu, and has formed some very strong opinions about all things knitting, pie, and the best places to climb. She really enjoys good food, music and friends, and is perfectly willing to write about, and photograph any or all of those things.

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