Written by CSFTW Chef Mark Hitri.

Photo by James Creange

A sharp knife is a safe knife… a dull knife is a dangerous knife.

It has been said that if you have six hours to chop down a tree, spend the first four sharpening your ax. The knife is one of the primary tools of a chef. It is important to keep it sharp. Once, as a young cook, my mentor Chef Jeff Glick picked up my knife to cut some shallots. Before he could finish cutting the shallots, he disdainfully said, “My parents aren’t event this dull.” Needless to say, I got my knife on the stone promptly and have made keeping my knives sharp part of the routine. But the most important tool we have is ourselves. When I first started writing on excellence it was because I knew I needed to work on it for myself. It is no surprise to anyone that egos are pretty big in the kitchen, and it is hard to admit that we are dull in an area and need some sharpening. There are the skills we have that get dull from lack of use and that is one reason why I still will do some one-off work in various kitchens despite being an instructor here at the school. And then there are the skills that we have yet to learn that we can sharpen. What skills of yours do you need to sharpen?