I’m not one to be swayed by a celebrity endorsement, especially one that’s attached to a piece of kitchen equipment.
Apart from my trusty Ken Hom wok (his signature is on the handle!), I don’t think I own another piece of celebrity kitchen junk.
This meant that I was a little wary when offered the chance to have a look at some of Jamie Oliver’s latest range.
Would any of it be worthy of a place in my kitchen or would it all end up in the basement with the rest of those forgotten kitchen gadgets that seemed like a good idea at the time?
First up was a handsome looking beech knife block and a set of five knives.
I’m very particular about knives.
OK, ‘particular’ isn’t the word for it…’downright militant’ might be a better description. If a knife isn’t German, or for that matter, made by Wusthof, it won’t be on my knife rack. You may see this as fussy, elitist or snobbish, even, but Wusthof make the best knives in the world, and that’s a completely unsubstantiated fact.
So, Jamie’s knives had a lot to live up to.
They look smart in their sleek block, and they make that satisfying Zorro style schwiiiiing noise when you pull them out, but that’s all mere theatre. A knife isn’t worth anything if it’s badly made and incapable of holding its edge, no matter how good it looks. The proof is in the use.
These blades are, I must grudgingly accept, very good indeed.
They’re full tang, which means that the blade and the handle are forged from the same piece of steel. This gives the knife an incredible amount of structural strength and balance, and well-balanced they are too, comfortable in the hand and easy to use. The blades are sharp and vicious, with a keen edge.
The knives are made in Japan – the Japanese know a thing or two about making decent kitchen knives. Not as much as the Germans, but still…
The set has five blades – a bread knife, a short paring knife, a mid-size utility knife, a rather elegant carver and a beast of a cook’s knife. Each has it’s name engraved onto the knife butt, so that you can see instantly which is which when they’re in the block.
The only slight let down is the lack of a steel. I’d have sacrificed one of the blades for something to sharpen the rest with. There’s nothing more dangerous in a kitchen than a blunt knife.
This is an extremely good quality set of blades. They’re well designed, tough and seem durable, and perform well.
At £120 on Amazon, they aren’t cheap, but considering there are five knives in the set, and that I’d be happy to pay £65 plus for the big cook’s knife alone, it’s really quite a good deal.
More from the Jamie Oliver range later.