By Allison Zisko
CHICAGO–The Japanese influence on cutlery is stronger than ever, evident by the number of introductions of Japanese-styled knives or those made from Japanese steel at the International Home & Housewares Show this week. Block sets and open-stock assortments are debuting in equal numbers, accompanied by myriad accessories, most notably cutting boards and sharpeners. And the wood of the moment is most definitely the eco-friendly bamboo.
Architec is featuring its cork cutting board as part of its Live Smart-Go Green line. Made of agglomerated cork (like traditional wine corks) it has the following properties: It’s sustainable, naturally antibacterial, impermeable to gases and liquids, durable and fire-retardant. It comes in two sizes, for $19.99 and $29.99.
Arcos is launching its Kyoto series of forged, stainless-steel, POM-handled knives with a hollow-ground edge. It is an open-stock collection, highlighted by its santoku and chef knives.
New neon-colored universal edge guards by Ergo Chef offer a fun way to protect knif edges and fingers from damage when stored in a kitchen drawer or roll bag.
The Universal Edge Guards have a large flared top where knives slide in easily, yet have a snug fit so they won’t come loose in the drawer.
Chicago Cutlery is introducing the Fusion collection, a line of professional, stainless-steel forged blades featuring non-slip, thermoplastic polymer handles.
The black non-slip, cushion-grip handles on the utility knives are designed with contrasting stainless-steel endcaps for a sleek, contemporary look, while the blades are crafted of high-carbon forged professional stainless steel. The centerpiece of the Fusion series is the 18-piece block set which features a 3-inch peeler, 3.25-inch parer, 5-inch utility, 5-inch Granton-edge partoku (an Asian-style knife that melds a parer with a santoku), a 7-inch Granton-edge santoku, 7 3/4-inch chef knife, 7 3/4-inch reverse scalloped bread knife, 8-inch slicer, all with black non-slip handles, plus eight 4.25-inch fine-edge steak knives and a sharpening steel with stainless-steel handles. The set retails for $179.99.
The Fusion series also includes cutlery sets and open stock items. They include a four-piece set of 5-inch fine-edge steak knives ($39.99), a three-piece set that includes 3.25-inch parer, 5-inch utility and 7 3/4-inch chef knife ($39.99), two-piece set of a 3.25-inch parer, 5-inch Granton-edge partoku ($24.99), 7 3/4-inch chef knife ($24.99) and a 7-inch Granton-edge santoku ($24.99).
CIA Masters Collection
The CIA Masters collection is introducing a two-piece carving set, a bamboo cutting board and a bamboo knife block.
The carving set, which retails for $99.99, pairs the Hyde Park 10-inch slicing knife and 5 1/2-inch carving fork. Its CIA-approved features include no-stain German steel construction, the patented Balance-Forward knife handle design for a secure and comfortable grip, and a long narrow blade designed to cut precise, even meat slices. The carving fork features long, strong tines and sharp piercing tips.
The knife block is a modern, environmentally friendly storage solution for seven knives. Made from bamboo, the knife block efficiently stores three larger knives and four medium or small knives. Each knife is easily identifiable—the knife blades are visible when in the block—and a wireform base provides additional stability when removing knives from the block. It retails for $40.
The bamboo cutting board is reinforced with silicone bands to prevent slipping. The bands are recessed below the work surface and can be easily removed for cleaning. It retails for $40.
Culin Home is adding the Hibiscus magnetic knife rack and cutting board to its Hibiscus collection of engraved knives.
Füritechnics is offering its Neustahl knife sharpener. It is a new and simplified version of its Ozitech and Tech Edge sharpening systems, and fits in existing knife bocks. Based on the patented Füri Diamond Fingers sharpening systems, Füri Neustahl is designed to fit in knife blocks where the traditional steel now resides. It retails for $19.99.
Füri is also introducing three products to its Rachael Ray cutlery line. The first Füri Rachael Ray Young Cooks set features one of Füri’s newest knife designs, the Füri RR Tadpole with blade guard. Tadpole’s handle design was developed so young hands can grip over the top of the blade for greater control. The rounded top and blade guard also help improve safety. To further reduce the risk of cutting injuries, a green cut-resistant glove made from polyester woven with stainless steel is also included in the kit. The second set features rounded-tip paring and serrated knives with blade guards and a red cut-resistant glove, while a cutting accessories kit features green and red cutting boards and child’s size shears. The Young Cooks sets range in price from $19.99 to $39.99.
Finally, there is the addition of the Rachael Ray Gusto-Grip Basics line of cutlery, inspired by Füri’s Rachael Ray Gusto-Grip knives. The Basics series features the patented reverse wedge handle with Rachael’s signature “super-duper grippy” handle, which helps reduces hand and wrist fatigue. In addition, the handle features Füri Guard, antimicrobial technology incorporated directly into the handles during manufacturing, giving the handles a permanent safeguard against microorganisms that can degrade the product over time. The blades are stainless steel. The Basics line includes a 4-inch paring knife, 5-inch serrated utility knife, 6-inch santoku knife, 7-inch cook’s knife, 8-inch cook’s knife and kitchen shears. These items are sold separately and in block sets. Individual knives range in price from $9.99 to $24.99. Knife blocks range in price from $59.99 to $99.99.
Ginsu is featuring its Chikara collection of Japanese-style knives and block sets. The collection includes an eight-piece set, 12-piece set and a santoku knife with cutting board. The blades are forged from Japanese steel.
Godinger is offering block sets under its licensed Nascar line.
Holstein Housewares is offering an artistic 13-piece block sets constructed of two wood block triangles crafted from rubber wood. Holstein’s stainless-steel block set features full-tang stainless-steel knives that fully extend though the ergonomically designed handle.
isi North America
From isi North America comes the Volkanus knife sharpener, for either countertop or pocket. The knife edge remains intact while sharpening because the sharpener has flexible levers that move with the original angle of the blade as it’s being sharpened. The movable levers also accommodate a variety of knife shapes and angles, including serrated knives. The countertop model retails for $90 in stainless steel and $60 for a black polymer. The portable pocket version in red or black retails for $30.
Henckels is launching the Miyabi series of traditional Japanese knives, manufactured in its factory in Seki, Japan. The Miyabi collection will comprise several series. The first series, Miyabi 5000S, is featured here in Chicago, encompassing 11 different knife types.
J.K. Adams is introducing a handful of new wood cutting boards.
One grouping includes boards shaped liked roosters and cows. Made of solid maple with a food-safe antique stain, the boards have a slightly distressed look. They retail for $25 apiece.
New artisan boards act as both serving and cutting boards. The collection now includes a paddle, two-handed plank, oval, mirror, gingko, plank, leaf and a 2-foot rectangular server. They retail from $33, to $65 for the 2-foot server.
A new collection of Earth boards pull simple design motifs from nature (a river, tree or stone image) and represent them with simple grooves in the cherry wood boards. The collection doubles as a carving board on one side (the grooves of the image capture the juices and direct them to the perimeter well) or as a flat cutting surface. They retail for $44 each.
Jaccard Corp. is expanding its lineup of ceramic knives with the introduction of an 8-inch chef knife ($149) and a 5.5-inch santoku with a hollow-ground edge ($79.95) to its line of Advanced Ceramic products. Additional new items include a handheld mandolin, a y-shaped peeler and a traditional swivel peeler, and all have ceramic blades.
Shun has a number of introductions for this market. In its Classic line it is adding a 5.5-inch santoku, a 4-inch santoku, a 4-inch nakiri and a 7-inch Sumo Santoku. The Sumo Santoku is roughly 30 percent wider than a standard santoku and comes with a bamboo stand.
Also new is a Ken Onion meat cleaver, the first meat cleaver the company has made in any of its lines. In the Pro line, the Shun Pro mandolin is being introduced.
Kuhn Rikon is offering the Slice & Serve and a dual knife at this show. The Slice & Serve is a serving spatula with a built-in serrated knife edge. It comes in four colors (blue, red, yellow and graphite) and two sizes, for $14 and $16. The dual knife is a 2-in-1 utility and tomato knife. The non-stick coated blade has a smooth sharp blade on one side and a serrated edge on the other. It is encased in a protective sheath and retails for $20.
Lifetime Brands is introducing the Cuisinart Rocking Santoku. Made of Damascus steel, it combines the best features of a santoku with a chef knife. The deep blade and slightly rounded tip allows for a smooth rocking motion while slicing, dicing, mincing and chopping food. The 7-inch version retails for $149.99, the 5-inch version, $79.99.
Under the KitchenAid brand is the cutlery set with hideaway recipe holder. The 8-piece stainless-steel cutlery block set includes an 8-inch chef, an 8-inch slicer, a 7-inch santoku, a 5.5-inch serrated utility, a 3.5-inch parer, shear and sharpening steel. The knives have forged stainless-steel blades and brushed stainless-steel handles. The hideaway recipe card holder, which nests in the base of the block, includes dividers and 50 blank recipe cards. It retails for $110.99.
Also under the KitchenAid brand is the rotating head knife sharpener, designed to sharpen knives of all sizes. A wheel can be rotated to either a “large” (for knives 6 inches or larger) or “small” (for knives 5 inches or smaller) setting. Diamond-coated steel rods inside the sharpener are pre-set at the correct angle to align each size knife with the sharpening steel. It retails for $19.99.
The KitchenAid brand is also debuting two new graters that allow one to grate in two directions. Both come with attachments that slide on to the grater to hold food securely and protect fingers. The coarse grater is designed for cheese, chocolate and vegetables, while the fine grater is meant for ginger, nutmeg, chocolate, nuts and the like.
Linden Sweden is introducing a knife rack in soft lacquered metal with an acrylic plastic front for protection. It is suitable for all knives and comes in two versions, a countertop design and a wall-mounted design.
Linden Sweden is also showing several types of cutting and bar boards in a variety of fun colors and whimsical shapes.
Mercer is introducing several tools and accessories at this show, including kitchen shears, knife guards, paring knife sets, an eight-piece garnish set, a channel knife, a double melon baller, zester and spreader sets.
Messermeister is launching its new Mu line that blends Eastern and Western sensibilities. They have bamboo handles and traditional Japanese blade shapes, but are crafted from a European molybdenum/vanadium steel. Sharp, high-quality steel blades combine with environmentally friendly bamboo handles. They will retail for $60 to $110 each.
Microplane is introducing its Ultimate Citrus Tool, a new box grater and new adjustable slicer at the show this year.
The Ultimate Citrus Tool, in yellow, lime or orange, joins its specialty series collection. The tool zests all types of citrus fruits and can create garnishes and peels. The zesty yellow version is a Williams-Sonoma exclusive; the orange and green versions will be available nationwide in August. The retail price is $15.95.
The new box grater adds a fourth blade, so it now includes a fine/zester blade, a medium ribbon, extra coarse and now, a slicer. All blades are removable for cleaning. It has a soft-grip handle and rubber footing. It retails for $34.95.
Microplane joins the handheld slicers category with its new adjustable slicer that enables the user to easily adjust and better control the size of slices from its v-shaped blade. The slicer has a contoured shape and ergonomic, soft-grip handle. It retails for $39.95.
The Progressive cheese knife is designed to cut effortlessly and prevent cheese from sticking to the blade. It retails for $7.99.
Solicut is featuring its First Class series of drop-forged knives with double bolster design.
The Hannon Group enters the cutlery market at this show with a line of Todco-branded advanced ceramic knives. The collection consists of seven knives with curved dark red handles and blades from 3.5 to six inches long. Knives range from paring knives to santoku and chef knives. They will be sold individually and in sets of two, three or four. Price points, though not finalized at press time, will likely range from $19.99 to $99.99.
Victorinox is introducing a 17-piece bamboo block set, comprised of single-piece, hand-forged full-tang blades with bolsterless edges. The knives have triple-rivet POM handles. The set, which includes a 3.5-inch paring knife, 8-inch slicer, 8-inch chef’s knife, 9-inch bread knife, 6-inch boning knife, 7-inch Granton-edge santoku knife, eight 4 1/2-inch steak knives, a 9-inch sharpening steel and a pair of all-purpose kitchen shears, retails for $1,100.