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The Pocket Knife: Go get one already

pocket knife
The Pocket Knife: Go get one already

Every cook should carry a pocket knife. Full stop.

Having quality knives in the kitchen is nothing new or newsworthy, but the need to carry a pocket knife may be a revelation. Here’s why: While a chef’s knives are an extension of your hands, a pocket knife is an extension of your kitchen.

The James Brand makes simple knives that stand out. Designed and crafted to be an everyday carry, with a bare minimum of moving parts, The Chapter is the knife you want in your pocket and close at hand.

From aprons to shoes to cast iron pans, rugged tools are the only spoken language in kitchen equipment. Carrying some pansy, disposable knife doesn’t make sense. Hardened steel, quality build, and a hefty feel are what make kitchen equipment last. The Damascus blade option of The Chapter is what pocket knives dream of becoming when they grow up and stop giving a fuck. Folded steel—108 layers to be exact—make up the 2.75” drop-point blade.

The feel of the knife is no different from other trustworthy kitchen tools. There is a fit, a familiarity, a comfort, in knowing exactly how a particular grip will wrap around the width of the handle; a very stout construction without looking like it was designed for plunging into the head of an alligator. Yet, the sturdy construction is apparent when the blade is flicked open with a resounding snap. Metal on metal, the phosphor bronze washer snugged between the black oxide handles keeps the blade fluid and steadfast. The titanium clip makes sure your $350 investment stays where it is intended and the frame lock ensures the blade stays open when it is needed.

Opening boxes, cutting packaging, and that stop at the Greenmarket all require a pocket knife. Much like that wrinkled notebook tucked in your back pocket, once you build the habit of carrying a knife, you will wonder how life existed before. A fixed blade knife can come off a little too much like Rambo, so a pocket folder spares the side-eyes while still offering the usefulness of a sharp blade.

A pocket knife is that tool we reach for when insisting on being the cool character that handily cuts an apple slice to share with company rather than gnawing the fruit like a barbarian. Classy! The Chapter allows slivering cheese for tasting at the market that much easier. Plus, you look good whipping out a nice knife. With a handle just under four inches, the well-built folder means you are always qualified to attend to quick evisceration duty when a spontaneous fishing session intervenes between beer and Pirates baseball on a warm July afternoon. But even if you don’t expect to be fishing any time soon, it’s better to have and not need, then to need and not have.

Carrying a pocket knife is a testament to always being prepared and never really being off the job. The Chapter will be around to pass along to the next generation of cooking progeny.

Jim Berman

Jim Berman is a kitchen lifer. A career cook, Jim orchestrates new menus, works on staffing solutions and manages food purchases. He received his formal culinary training in New Mexico, and has done stints in kitchens in Pittsburgh, Santa Fe, and the Delaware Valley. Jim’s writing is regularly featured on Poached Jobs, Foodable, Toast and Kitchen Grit.

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