I moved to Knoxville, TN in 2006 after a four-year newlywed adventure in the small town of Ririe, ID. Knoxville it is where my wife and I have chosen to put down roots and start a family. I love living in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But as much as I love my adopted hometown, I will always be a Clevelander at heart.
There is a kind of survivor’s sense of shared misery that comes from growing up in the 216. It started with Willie Mays’ Catch, long before my time. But I lived through the heartache that was Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Collapse, Art Fucking Modell, The Decision, and countless other debacles that would probably be counted and named in any other city. The Cuyahoga River caught fire for criminy’s sake. We wear Cleveland like a badge.
Among the many folks who have moved but never really left is celebrity Chef Michael Symon. He is a prolific restaurateur and TV star, yet despite this he too remains a Clevelander at heart. He answers his fans on Twitter and Facebook, and it is fun to read his live-tweets during Browns and Cavs games. I have never met him, but I have heard from friends that he is equally approachable in person.
His latest project is helping design a set of kitchen knives in collaboration with the firm Ergo Knives.
Some knives that are endorsed by celebrity chefs are absolute crap. The Ming Tsai Aero Knife comes to mind. Others, such as those by Rheinland Cutlery are high quality. I had a chance to play around with some of their knives last year at Blade. They are made in China of German steel, and strike a nice balance between affordability and performance.
I have found mixed reviews of Ergo Knives when digging around online. The consensus is that they are comfortable to hold, but could be made from better steel. That being said, people motivated to post on culinary blogs are probably a bit biased and knife-snobby. I wasn’t able to find much in the way of objective testing.
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
“Symon says that the opportunity to produce his own line of knives was appealing because of the quality of the tools Ergo Chef produced for a small number of other celebrity chefs.
“They sent me a knife years ago which has always been one of mine and Lizzie’s [wife Liz Symon’s] favorites in the kitchen – even though it is sitting next to knives 5 times its price,” Symon said by text message.
Symon describes the knives as providing “good balance and strength of blade.” The knives will be ground in the conventional Western-style, rather than with a Japanese beveled edge that is growing in popularity.
He’s opted for a small selection of blades, rather than an extensive collection of knives.
“I’m of the belief you don’t need a giant set of knives – just a couple that perform at a high level,” Symon added via text. Due to contractual agreements he could say little about the actual design, which will be revealed March 8 at the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago.“
I am going to try to contact Chef Symon and see if playing the Cleveland card will be enough to score one for testing. I will keep you posted.