“This is your knife. This is your tool. This is what you love. And if something happens to it, it can be heartbreaking. It’s nice to be able to bring that tool back to where you have that feeling of ‘this is mine.’”
Jordan Ross is one-half of the Asian stoner food pop-up SuperHai, but when he’s not slinging dan dan nachos and cheesy fried Spam musubi, he’s rescuing damaged blades from the traumas inflicted by restaurant kitchen work. Ross honed his own polishing, sharpening, etching, and rehandling skills on his first precious Japanese knife—a Makoto Kurosaki Gyuto—figuring he’d better learn to protect his $250 investment. He soon started helping out pals on the line who’d broken the tips on their Shuns or dulled their Wusthofs. Eventually he got good enough to take on jobs like removing the chips and thinning the edge on a Takeshi Saji Rainbow Damascus or reprofiling and thinning the blade on a Kikuichi that was ruined by an established professional knife sharpener who should know better.
He’s since begun importing partially finished, free-forged artisanal Tosa cutlery from small Japanese knifemakers, refining the edges on the spines, putting on the finishing polish, and building custom-made handles and wooden knife sheaths for clients. Keep an eye out for his forthcoming intro to knife skills and maintenance classes at the Japanese Culture Center on July 8 and August 5. Each student walks away with their own whetstone to continue their education.
best of chicago: food & drink
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