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May 10, 2014

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Rethinking How Restaurants Hire - The Hiring Process at 3-Star Michelin RyuGin

Here, at Japanese Knife Imports, we have been expanding our library of books and magazines.  One of the magazines we get is essentially the equivalent of Art Culinaire in Japan.  Unlike Art Culinaire, however, there is a greater emphasis on professional chefs sharing information about how they run their businesses.  In the most recent issue, there was a very interesting article by Seiji Yamamoto, the chef and owner of 3-michelin-star RyuGin restaurant in Tokyo.  He discussed his hiring process in depth.  As we have been hiring lately, and as our job board has grown, we have thought a lot about this ourselves.  His...

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January 14, 2014

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Steel Type Vs. Blacksmith

I had an interesting question from a customer today and wanted to post about it here, since i thought it was a great question and i'm sure many of you probably were thinking about the same thing... Question- Is it true that white steel #1 is considered the top of the line steel since it is so clean and offers a blacksmith a "white canvas" more than the blue steels that have additional alloys? Answer- I don't believe that any steel can be called top of the line... all of the steels require different skill sets to heat treat well....

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July 30, 2013

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On single bevel sharpening- Hamaguri and Beta Togi

Recently, a customer/friend asked me a question about how single bevel knives are properly sharpened and if the concavity from the large wheels the knives are made on has any functional purpose. Here was my answer: The concave part of the blade road is a function of how the knives are made. Often, they go from a wheel to a buffer and are finished with minimal stone contact, so the low spot in the center of the blade road remains. As a rule of thumb (though not always 100% accurate), the more expensive knives have less of this and to...

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July 19, 2013

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A Series of Notes on Various Subjects

Here are some notes on various aspects of kitchen knives and knife repair that i have shared with customers recently. I hope many of you will find them useful. Up First, a bit about sharpening single bevel knives, angles, geometry, and asymmetry- An answer to a question posted on youtube... thought it might be helpful to some...question: What angle will you recommend on the primary and secondary edge on a yanagiba?answer: The exact angle will depend on the knife/maker/etc. However, these things can be quite easy to follow from initial sharpening. The angle doesnt change much between the two angles......

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July 09, 2013

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Kanto Vs Kansai Knife Shapes - A Lesson In History

Someone asked this question the other day, so i thought it might be nice to copy and paste some of that conversation here:"The history of the shapes is a bit different, as is the way the used to be used. Because of the tip on the kamagata usuba, chefs can use it for regular usuba work and mukimono (design work), and tend to do so. In kanto, chefs that do mukimono tend to use a mukimono bocho as well. Of course, at the best restaurants and with the most skilled chefs, they still tend to use the most task specific...

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June 14, 2013

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Japan Trip 2013

Out of Town Notice July 1st - July 21st   (Updated June 14th, 2013)Once again, it's time for our anual Japan trip. This year we're changing a few things. Normally, Sara and I both head to Japan for about a month in the fall. During this time, I train under a few different master craftsmen. This year, however, Sara will be staying here to run the store and process shipments, while I head to Japan for about 3 weeks. My Japan training trip will take place from July 1st to July 21st. Our store will resume normal hours again on...

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March 09, 2013

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Japanese Knife Imports in the LA Times

Japanese Knife Imports in the LA Times

How cool is this?  We are so excited and thankful for S. Irene Virbila for taking the time to come out and meet us.  Here's the article: Across the Table: Knife expert hopes to sharpen up chefs They also did a followup sidebar article, which you can find here: Finding a knife that cuts to the heart

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