How Knives Came into my Life Part II

 December 13, 2015
Posted by Chris Rieke

How and why did I come to the decision to sell Chef’s Knives? Part II – So, eventually, I left the sandwichery and burrito-rolling monotony to move into the world of ‘real’ food and newer knives. After all, I was only doing the burrito thing to get through college, and to get the free food whenever I wanted.

I took a part time job at a from-scratch hotel and restaurant downtown. Mainly I started with dishes, as I was probably being tested, but this dish station during the brunch shift was some serious work. I remember not feeling like I was even making a dent, but moving as fast as I possibly could. And at the end of the shift there were mountains of dishes left, but the other cooks told me I was doing great, so I took it as such.

article-1334252-0C49107B000005DC-76_468x313After a couple of those shifts, they put me on garde mange, and that was were I learned a lot of new knife techniques. Cutting orange supremes, chopping chives without them becoming wet and messy, and using a cheese knife to put creamy brie on sandwiches. Not to mention cutting large amounts of lettuce for all days salads. I remember dragging the sharp edge of the knife to scrape some food into a pan off the cutting board, and one of the chefs came over and taught me to use the backside of the knife for scraping, and it wouldn’t dull the knife.

At this point I wasn’t using any knives like the Chroma 301 Chef’s Knife, these were like the Dexter plastic handled kitchen knives, but they could still be sharpened to a razor edge. I don’t think I ever cut myself there, but I remember the cutting board on that station being super thin, like a head of iceberg lettuce took up the whole width of the board. That always make it challenging to chop safely, because the board can get cluttered so quickly.

I put my notice in after 3-4 months to travel in Europe for a couple of months, the summer after I graduated college. While I wasn’t using knives very much out there, my passion for cuisine expounded at an incalculable rate. My love for simple eating grew to the passion for the whole experience, from purchasing high quality ingredients to the sound of first cracking of a spoon into a creme brulee. The veil began to be lifted from before my eyes and the vastness of real cuisine came to light, and I understood then that with all of my passions in life, that I wanted to build a career in the field of culinaria.

Once back, I bounced around some restaurants, collecting paychecks and saving a bit to get back out to Europe the following summer. I really got these multiple restaurants under my belt because I wanted to learn as much as I could. I helped open a breakfast/sandwich/soup place that instantly grew popular. I worked at a staple bar and grill, a famous New York style pizza place and couple other small gigs.wusthof-culinar-4589-26-koksmes-d1

Eventually, I found my way back to Lawrence for a girl, actually my wife now, and began working at a place that would shape my career to where I am today. I got to work there with some of my best friends, and it was one of the only jobs where I was genuinely excited to go to work almost everyday. During this period, my good friend and amazing chef Mike Stornello gave me his used Wusthof Culinar 10 inch chef’s knife. I still use this knife for all purposes to this day, I have always loved the stainless steel handle design of this style of knife. Whenever I would take it to work, people always commented on it, and its unique design. This is when I fell in love with German-style Chef’s Knives. The weight, the sturdiness and durability.

To be continued in Part III –

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