Japanese Knife Masters Delight

The parking lot behind The Cook’s Warehouse in Decatur was completely packed as a standing-room-only crowd of cooking enthusiasts gathered around three Japanese knife masters demonstrating the hand-forging process used to fashion steel culinary knives.

Kikuichi forging masters Yuso Tani, Akimasa Oe, and Tadashi Enami of Sakai City forged, assembled, sharpened and even engraved their handmade creations. Between them, these artisans have nearly 100 years of experience crafting knives, and each is the second generation in their families to do so.

Sakai City, known for its samurai swords for centuries, has now become Japan’s center for fine kitchen cutlery. “When I visited Sakai City, I was amazed at how the Japanese Forge Masters hand craft one of the most important tools used in the kitchen.  Their expertise and care is incredible.  Through the courtesy of J-CAN and these Japanese Forge Masters, we could see this process right in our stores at these two classes.  It was truly a once in a lifetime experience,” said Mary S. Moore, founder and CEO of The Cook’s Warehouse.

After the class sponsored by Kikuichi knives, attendees had a chance to purchase knives and have them engraved to order. They also had an opportunity to sample Japanese hors d’oeuvres such as hand-rolled sushi and daifuku (soft glutinous rice cake filled with slightly sweetened velvety adzuki bean puree,) and to taste a variety of sakes with Don Hackett, manager of TCW’s Decatur store and resident senior wine educator. Samples of Japanese Ramune sodas, Pocky, and tubes of wasabi were also offered to class attendees.

Even if you missed this informative class, you can still visit The Cook’s Warehouse to see these gorgeous handmade knives. The knowledgeable staff can help you choose just the right knife for you. They even offer knife sharpening services when your knives need a touch-up.