Late last year (is it half way through January 2019 already?) I spotted a competition on Instagram being run by Total Knife Care – the Australian importer and supplier for I.O.Shen knives and Nirey sharpeners.
I first encountered I.O.Shen knives when in The Knife Shop in Hobart. I’d been looking to replace my trusty Mundials, purchased in 1993, which, I might add, are still in great condition as they’ve been well looked after.
The sales assistant led me to the I.O. Shen range, where first thing I noticed was their beauty. The handles, with their swirly inlay pattern, was stunning, however left me a little skeptical. Was it going to be a case of form over function?
I was handed a chef’s knife to hold and my desire to own one was instant. It was the right weight, the handle felt good and it had fine balance. I had no doubt of its quality and sharpness.
It was another 12 months or so before I was able to purchase my I.O. Shen knives. I searched high and low for the right mix, finally settling on the magnetised knife block set. It ticked boxes – it had the knives I most commonly use – chef, santoku and paring – and because I’m now in rented accommodation and couldn’t just screw my usual magnetised holder into a wall, it included a magnetised benchtop block.
There hasn’t been one moment I’ve regretted my purchase. Well perhaps once, when my chef’s knife and I had an argument while I was chopping chillis, and the knife won. At first I thought my fingernail would be lost, but it held in there and I guess the advantage of having such a sharp knife is it was a clean cut and healed quickly – albeit minus half a fingernail that was sort of sliced off (eeewwww, but don’t worry, it’s grown back). I’ve since adjusted my style to fit the knife and it hasn’t happened again.
Back to the Total Knife Care competition
I’d noticed the competition on Instagram, but hadn’t really thought much of it until I was slicing a loaf of sourdough for the freezer. The I.O. Shen bread knife is simply the best I’ve ever encountered. Its long blade is solid and sharp and it breezes through a loaf of bread, enabling even, straight cuts.
The bread looked so lovely as the slices draped gently over each other, so I decided to take a couple of shots and send them through, hashtagged #ilovemyioshen …
What do you know!? I won second prize! Woo Hoo! The wonderful folks at Total Knife Care gave me the option to choose my own prize and considering I’d had the Nirey KE 198 sharpener on my must-buy-soon list, I asked if I one of those would fit the bill. They said yes and voila, the sharpener was ready for collection at the local post office the day I arrived home in Tasmania for Christmas.
I practised on a couple of older knives first, but have since sharpened the I.O. Shen knives and will diligently maintain the edges of my favourite kitchen essentials from hereon in.
Video disclaimer – the quality isn’t great, but I’m just starting to create video and there was a lot of learning that went into the little snippet below.
Thanks Total Knife Care and thanks I.O. Shen for making such gorgeous knives. I’m looking forward to growing my collection.
By the way, I have given the Mundials away and they’re still being well used and cared for.