Quality Chef Knives
Cooking at home with blunt knives? Treat yourself (and your dishes) to some quality Japanese and Australian knives from The Blade Runner.
We’re all spending a lot more time at home, which might mean we’re spending a lot more time in the kitchen than usual. But what are we cooking with? Now, more than ever we should be putting more effort into creating home-cooked meals, and those cheapo knives you got a million years ago probably aren’t making the cut (pun intended).
Launched in late 2018, The Blade Runner was created by local chef, Leigh Boys, following the frustration of lack of quality knife options across Newcastle.
“The closest place to buy a decent knife is Sydney, and there are so many great small knife makers in Japan that are just not available in Australia.
“There are plenty of businesses that sell knives out there, but most will sell anything regardless of its quality. All of my knives are high quality and represent value for money. If I wouldn’t use them as a professional, I don’t sell it.”
“The few people selling knives in Newcastle and across Australia know nothing about them; how to use them, how to sharpen them, which knife to use and when, what the steel is, how it’s made, if it’s right for you, and how to use a Whetstone,” Leigh explained.
Leigh has been in the chef world for over 15 years, with an impressive resume starting with his apprenticeship at Restaurant II in Newcastle and Catalina in Sydney. Following a few years travelling the globe, Leigh returned to Newcastle working in the kitchen at Scratchley’s and most recently with Mark Hosie at Rustica.
“Cooking and working with food is the best job in the world in my opinion. If you haven’t been in hospitality, you’re missing out!”
Spending the afternoon in Leigh’s kitchen, HUNTERhunter watched on as some of The Blade Runner’s collection was put to work. The beautiful range of knives are just as nice to the eye as they are to the precision cut of meat and veggies.
Sourcing most of the knives from Japan, with a few special picks of his favourites from here in Australia too. The Blade Runner’s range of knives are full of razor-sharp, pinpoint precision and stunning design – perfect for the world’s top chef and the home-cooking newbie.
“I had to go to Japan to establish a lot of relationships with makers. So much is dependent upon relationships in Japan. It does not matter how big you are or how much money you have.”
Speaking of newbies, for someone who doesn’t know a thing about knives, where would you suggest they start?
“No-one needs a 10-piece junk set of knives to clutter their kitchen. Instead, invest in a few good knives. It will cost less, and the quality will be 10x better. Start with a Santoku (all-purpose knife) or a Gyuto (chef knife) that fits your chopping board. For newbies, make sure it’s stainless steel or Ginsan steel as they are easy to care for.
“If you’re after the real knife experience get a carbon steel knife like blue or white steel. Be warned, these knives are reactive to corrosion and require more care but are unmatched in cutting power and edge retention.”
“Brook is one of our local knife makers! He uses high grade stabilized woods. The process of stabilizing wood involves the wood and a stabilizing agent that is combined under a vacuum, and in some cases, with a dye. This removes any are from the pores of the wood and fills any voids. Brook takes the wood and then works his magic!”
Leigh knows his way around a good knife, and with so many available at his fingertips, it had us thinking, what would be his favourite?
“Teruyasu Fujiwara for me. The Fujiwara family has been making knives for 130 odd years. These knives are stupid good; but they’re not for beginners. My fiancée uses a Hitohira HG series Santoku. It’s easy to use and easy to care for, and it has a western style handle and feels comfortable for her.”
Now if you, like me, keep thinking about Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi film, Blade Runner, you’re not alone.
“I thought the name would be a great play on words. Then I discovered a thing called SEO (Search Engine Optimization); turns out naming your business after a popular movie is a stupid. idea.”
Now, to the important stuff. If you’re thinking of buying a quality chef knife from The Blade Runner, there’s a few things you should keep in mind about keeping your knife in good working order! Leigh’s top tips include;
- Frozen food and bones should be avoided, instead use a cleaver.
- Do not use a ‘pull through’ sharpener; they ruin knives.
- Clean them and paper towel dry them by hand and do not use a dishwasher.
- But them back in their box or buy a knife sheath / knife rack to store your knives and keep them sharp.
- Please DO NOT just throw them in a drawer!
Leigh also offers services to customers who might have accidentally chipped a knife or are unsure of how to sharpen them correctly. Leigh recommends you have your knives sharpened every 3-6 months, and he also sells whetstones for those thinking about sharpening their knives themselves.
With plans to potentially open up a dedicated retail space and pop-up at local markets in the future; The Blade Runner is here to keep bringing high-quality chef knives into the kitchens of our homes and even into our favourite local hospitality businesses!
“Cooking is a daily task for most people, and most people cook with dull knives that are infuriating at best. I feel strongly about the importance of cooking.
“When we control the ingredients we consume, it normally contributes to a healthier lifestyle and has financial benefits. Honing a skill most people are required to use on a daily basis is never a bad idea, and a knife is a chefs/cooks most used tool.”