Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer and his extraodinary kitchen knives
Until I watched Wednesday’s episode of “Top Chef” (Season 10, Episode 9), I never knew there was such a thing as a Master Bladesmith, that there are only 120 who have achieved such honors or that a certain Bob Kramer is the only one in this country to specialize in kitchen knives. He traces his craft back to royal sword-makers when the sharpness of the blade as well as the skill of its user could change history. Call it educational television.
Quality knives are amazing instruments in the right culinary hands. Kramer’s custom knives are very expensive ($500 an inch!) and therefore are used by select very deep-pocketed chefs and extremely wealthy home cooks — the sorts of people that I imagine have a Rolls and/or a Ferrari in the garage. Kramer was the judge of this week’s “Quickfire Challenge” and evaluated the Cheftestants’ knife sharpening skills.
After three rounds, sharp-looking Micah Fields was the winner and received an exemplar from Kramer Knives. In looking for a photo of some Kramer knives, I learned that the Master Bladesmith has entered into a relationship with one of Germany’s leading knife manufacturers and offers a line marketed as Bob Kramer Knives by Zwilling J.A. Henckels. These appear to be made in Seki City, Japan, rather than in Solingen, Germany, but my own knife rack holds several Zwilling J.A. Henckels Five Star knives from Germany.