Best Thing I Ate All Week: (Gluten-Free!) Fried Chicken from Maxine’s Cafe and Bar
A One-Day Congee Pop-Up Is Coming to Chinatown
Anh and Chi Teams Up With Fresh Prep, Making Our Foodie Dreams Come True
A Radical Idea: Celebrate Robbie Burns With These 3 Made-in-BC Single Malts
Wine Collab of the Week: A Red Wine for Overthinkers Who Love Curry
Dry January Mocktail Recipe: Archer’s Rhubarb Sour
Last Chance! Join Us at VanMag’s 2023 Power 50 Party
5 Things to Do in Vancouver This Week (January 23-29)
Vancouver Foundation: Fulfilling a Dream
The Ultimate Winter Staycation Guide 2023: 6 Great Places to Explore in B.C.
B.C. Winter Staycation Guide 2023: 48 Hours in Tofino
B.C. Winter Staycation Guide 2023: Everything You Need to Know About Whistler’s Creekside
5 Super-Affordable Wedding Venues in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
PSA: Please Do Not Buy These 3 Things for Valentine’s Day
10 Great Sweats to Honour International Sweatpants Day
Ai & Om and Knifewear are upping Vancouver's knife scene
Ladies and gentlemen, sharpen your edges. Vancouver’s knife trade has never been lacking for selection, but it’s about to get a whole lot more competitive with the arrival of two new players. Ai & Om will showcase the affection that owner Douglas Chang, a local chef who’s done stints at Bambudda and Sai Woo, has for Japanese knives. But his new shop is going to face competition from, fittingly enough, the east (the near east, anyway). After running a series of popular pop-up shops, Calgary’s Knifewear has finally set down roots in Vancouver, starting with a store on East Hastings next door to Les Amis du Fromage.
What’s the appeal of Japanese knives? For Knifewear owner Kevin Kent, it’s all about performance. “If you like cooking, the knives just make it easier because they go where you tell them to.” They’re becoming more common in kitchens across the city, too, a function of the fact that Japanese knives have some very powerful (and unpaid) celebrity spokespeople: local chefs.
Knifewear, for example, counts Quang Dang, the executive chef at West, as one of its more loyal local customers. “They’re the ones who are most excited and kind of rabid about the whole thing,” Kent says. “But as we’re in a market longer, they become about 20 percent of the customer base, and the other 80 percent is people who have a kitchen at home. Which, by the way, is most people.”
For those who are just starting their own knife collection (or who haven’t experienced the pleasures of working with knives made from Japanese steel), it’s probably best to start with a standard gyuto, or chef’s knife. “It’s your multi-purpose knife,” says Knifewear owner Kevin Kent, “the one you could do all of your jobs with.”
Higher end – “We can go crazy and get a knife that’s hand-made by Mr. Fujiwara, who’s one of the greatest blacksmiths in the world. A chef’s knife is about $800. But when you use it, you’ll say things like ‘Holy bananas!’ because it’s awesome.” 210 mm, $795Lower end – “We’ve got a line called Kasumi Uchi, which is a factory-made knife but looks like it’s been hand-hammered. It has dimples all over the blade, a Western handle so it doesn’t feel too forward or weird, and it’s going to perform like crazy.” 210 mm, $185