By Allison Zisko
Puiforcat, the French silversmith known for its high-end flatware and other tabletop items, is launching a cutlery line in collaboration with French chef Pierre Gagnaire. The line, comprised of six different stainless-steel blades with rosewood handles, will be unveiled at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market later this month.
Puiforcat refers to the collection as “The Silversmith’s Knife with Pierre Gagnaire,” said Puiforcat director Olivier Montiel, reflecting not only Puiforcat’s reputation for craftsmanship but its association with a highly knowledgeable chef with multiple Michelin stars to his name. It is not a co-branding effort, but one of collaboration.
Gagnaire, which uses Puiforcat tableware in some of his restaurants, was number one on Puiforcat’s wish list when it came time to choose a partner, Montiel said. “He has the same passion” for product as Puiforcat and “it was obvious he was the right one.”
Gagnaire lent his opinion on requirements for a cutlery collection and advised on the shape, the blade and other technical aspects. The knives were ultimately designed by Gabriele Pezzini, known for his designs for Puiforcat-owned Hermes. The goal of both Gagnaire and Pezzini was to design tools necessary to execute fundamental knife skills with minimal maintenance requirements, all the while highlighting the pleasure of food preparation. Proprietary French technology uses lasers to fuse titanium carbide along the edge of a stainless-steel blade, which is then shaped and sharpened on diamond wheels, resulting in a patented edge that is highly durable for common kitchen use and requires less sharpening, according to Puiforcat.
The collection includes a chef, paring, filleting, boning, slicing and bread knife, offered as a block set or in open stock. At press time, retail prices were not available in U.S. dollars. Puiforcat is in discussions with its current specialty retail partners and is also targeting specialty gourmet stores like Williams-Sonoma, Montiel said.
Puiforcat’s cutlery debut recalls the company’s roots as a cutler. The company was founded in the Marais district of Paris in 1820 and first served as a cutlery workshop before moving on to create reproductions of 18th century silver pieces, and then becoming involved in the Art Deco movement. The company is now ready to move beyond the dinner plate and into the kitchen, with a focus on kitchen prep.
“What we want to do is very strategic,” Montiel said. “We want Puiforcat to be a global lifestyle brand and grow beyond tableware.”