TEST KITCHEN - Samuel Staniforth Tom Kerridge knife range
PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 October 2016
Jo Haywood gets to grips with a new knife range crafted in Sheffield for chef Tom Kerridge
Okay, I’ll hold my hands up and admit it. I’m a clumsy cook. Which is probably why at least one finger on each of my held up hands is adorned with a blue plaster.
I can slice open a digit with a spoon, so it’s perhaps not surprising that my family had dialled double nine and were poised for a third before I’d even got my new vegetable knife out of the box.
And, in the spirit of honesty that’s an essential ingredient in any Test Kitchen, I’ll admit I did cut myself as I prepared a sweet potato and chickpea curry – a dish that involves a good amount of chopping and slicing – but that was entirely the fault of the cack-handed cook and not the nifty knife.
The new Tom Kerridge range is built, rather like the man himself, for hard work. He describes the knives as the ‘Land Rover Defender of the kitchen’, meaning they’re practical, professional tools, not just pretty adornments.
From the outset, the double Michelin-starred TV chef knew he wanted to work with British manufacturers which led him, inevitably, to Sheffield – the Steel City – and Samuel Staniforths, founded in 1864 and one of the few remaining knife manufacturers to proudly carry the ‘Made in Sheffield’ marque.
The result of this partnership is quite something. The handle of my beautifully-balanced knife is made from denim micarta, an eye-catching finish achieved by tightly compressing layer upon layer of denim fibre with resin to produce a hard-wearing, comfortable material that will continue to improve with age.
With a similar eye for detail, the blade is made from high-carbon stainless steel, renowned for its strength and durability, secured by hand to the tang with a brass rivet. This gives the resulting knife a pleasing weight; a heft that makes even the most amateur cook feel like a pro.
The full range includes a serrated utility knife, a santoku for slicing and dicing, a boning knife, a chef’s knife for carving and a pastry knife (sometimes referred to as ‘a chef’s best friend).
There’s also a professional-grade knife sharpener, which I was lucky enough to receive along with my vegetable knife. This serious piece of kitchen kit was created by the Cutlery Allied Trade Research Association, a group of Sheffield-based engineers and scientists at the forefront of knife-sharpening technology.
The machine, which comes with a range of plugs so you can sharpen knives around the world if the mood takes you, uses diamond-standard honing wheels that result in a smooth, super-sharp cutting edge in less than 20 seconds.
Impressive. But, then again, this is Tom Kerridge – a kitchen superhero who’s now proved himself to be a true man of steel.