Dads are an awesome bunch. One particular skill all dads magically seem to possess is knowing how to put things together. Dads love to create. And if that thing they create allows them to create more things? Well, that’s something that’ll flip a dad’s lid. Enter the Chef Knife Making Kit, one of the best gifts for dads who like to make things in the kitchen but also like to make the thing that makes things in the kitchen.
MAN-NING THE KITCHEN
There are those who may think that dad’s place in the food-making scheme is at the grill. And for sure, dads are known grill masters. The relationship between man and grill is a powerful one. But the notion that dad should be relegated to only outdoor cooking is poppycock, an appropriately old-fashioned term to reflect such an old-fashioned belief. Indeed, modern dads dig being in the kitchen: A 2013 study showed that 42% of men cook daily vs. a paltry 29% in 1965.
The truth is that men have been somewhat of a staple in the kitchen for a long time. Since the first appearance of the modern idea of the restaurant—in France, no surprise there—men have helmed kitchens worldwide. So it’s quite natural for dad to don an apron, sidle up to the counter and start chopping things up for his soon-to-be-famous Boeuf Bourguignon.
WHAT’S IN A KNIFE
If you ask any dad, he’ll say that if you want something made right, you’ve got to make it yourself. And a chef’s knife is no exception. Sure, dad could use any old knife when creating a masterpiece in the kitchen. But why would you force him to do that? He wants to make his own knife. You know it. He knows it. We all know it. And we have the solution, which just so happens to be one of the best Father’s Day gifts.
The Chef Knife Making Kit has everything dad needs to create his distinctively awesome personal chef’s knife. The VG-10 Damascus steel blade blank and the sturdy and stylish Micarta handle set will get the creative juices flowing as he imagines the delicious meals he’ll make with his new favorite knife. The kit also includes mosaic pins for adding a touch of class to the handle while holding it together as well as a set of super knife-making tools to sculpt, scrape, squeeze and sand his raw materials into perfection. There’s even a handy instruction booklet—because nobody wants to go in blindly on a project based around a very sharp blade.
The classic chef’s knife is the most important member of a kitchen knife collection. Whether he’s a novice or old pro, dad may need some tips when getting his cut on with this piece of grade A chopping choiceness.
MAN, CHOP, COOK
This is your chance to bark one of his old favorites back at him: “Remember—safety first!” Tell him to keep the knife razor sharp, or knife sharp, as it were, because a dull blade is a dangerous blade. Since a chef’s knife is the #1 tool for most kitchen work, including slicing and dicing fruits, veggies, fish and meat, keeping it sharp will be a regular task. In general, if dad cooks every day, his knife should be sharpened weekly. If it’s not used so often, every other week will do. And when cutting, holding the knife where the blade meets the handle is best for control.
Here are just a few of the fun things dad can do with his new knife (memorize this list and recite it to him or simply email this post to him):
- Chiffonade: Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? This means to cut items long thin ribbons. Try it with some basil. Need to stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up tightly and make long thin cuts and then separate into pieces.
- Chop: When choppin’ broccolleeeh, or any other item for that matter, make sure to have a proper grip on the knife. Let’s practice on a carrot. Start by cutting the carrot in half (makes it easier to handle). Then put the flat side sitting against the cutting board so it won’t roll, then quarter, cut it again lengthwise and keep cutting it into smaller pieces. With chopping, pieces don’t need to be uniform in size—a win for carrot individuality.
- Dice: This means to cut into equal-sizes pieces, which makes things look better and also ensures that all pieces cook at same rate. So it’s the more formal brother of chopping. Try it with an onion. Trim off the stem end by about a half inch, then slice the onion in half and remove the outer layer of skin. Next, make horizontal cuts into the onion, slicing almost all the way through but keeping the root end intact. Then make vertical cuts (again keeping the root intact). Finally, slice the onion using vertical cuts perpendicular to the ones you just made. When that’s done, turn the onion on its side and cut again to finish.
- Julienne: This process basically cuts food into thin matchsticks. Let’s go with carrots again. Square them off and then cut into planks. Then stack a few on top of each other and cut through to make matchsticks, which are great to use in stir fries or salads.
- Mince: A fun word to say, meaning to cut into very small pieces. Let’s mince some garlic, shall we? Separate the cloves from the head. Use the heavy part of the knife and the palm of your hand and smash the garlic to remove the skin and peel it off. Next, cut the clove into little chips, then gather them all into one spot and slice through in a rocking motion until you’ve reached the tiny little pieces stage.
While his chef’s knife may be the big guns of the kitchen, there are some instances when other knives would do better. Here are some things dad can’t do with his new knife:
- Butcher or carve poultry
- Remove the skin from large vegetables
- Puncture holes in cans
- Cut hair
For more gifts that dad will love to get his hands on, check out our awesome collection of fun gifts for men.