Eating on the job: Takumi Ozeki, Kai Knives

By
Eve O'Sullivan
Added
17 September, 2015

Each week, Cooked speaks to a professional from the food industry to find out what it’s really like to be behind the scenes of the things we all love to eat. We spoke to the makers of Kai Japanese knives to discover the secret behind the sharpest blades.

I was always very interested in the knives, especially the Japanese Katana knife, which is a traditional blade based on samurai from the Meji period.


KAI continues the traditional technique of Katana manufacturing… there’s something special about working for a company with a long history.


Knife

 

My skills are all about making something that’s both traditional and sustainable.


 That’s the core of my work, and extremely important in my life.

 

Of course, you don’t just begin at that point; I started off being in charge of polishing handles.


Through this experience I learnt the base knowledge of the polishing process which then led onto sharpening blades.

Knife

The production of knives consists of many processes; each one is extremely important.


No matter which role you choose, it is vital to do it wholeheartedly, to imagine the customers who will be using our products. Most importantly you must try to protect the culture of Seki’s knife manufacture which we have inherited.

Even a slight change in concentration can cause a huge difference to the edge of each knife.


So I try and make sure I am in a calm and concentrated state of mind before each process to avoid differences in quality. You cannot let the outside world affect you at all.

I also deal with re-sharpening knives, which means I hear a lot of deeply personal stories.


I once had a knife that was brought in by a daughter who desperately wanted her mother’s knife re-sharpened because her mother loved it, my job became a matter of sentiment. I was very impressed that one knife could connect a parent and child and make their relationship so tight.

Knives

My favourite knife?


Probably the Damascus; it’s beautifully balanced and incredibly sharp. 
It sounds dramatic, but my job is about pride and responsibility. It’s the most important part of the whole process, and I know every person who has the same job as me takes it just as seriously as I do. 


Find out more about KAI Knives here

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