A Bite out of knife skills – West Elm
February 10, 2014
I happen to love those quiet moments of reflection when life reminds you that you’ve truly come full circle – when you’re acutely aware that every choice you’ve made, random or not, has collided – bringing you to exactly where you are now.
Somehow at the age of 23, as a young couple, my boyfriend and I decided to buy an apartment in DUMBO. It was a big moment for us, even bigger than we knew at that time. A few years later a young brand also began to sprout in DUMBO. The catalog for this swoon-worthy furniture and lifestyle brand, was being shot in my very own building. Soon after, the West Elm DUMBO store opened on my corner and I found myself frequenting nearly every day.
Right around the same time I was diving into the role of mother & wife and began to seriously get my cooking on. I took tons of beginner cooking classes and took to mastering my new skills at home – particularly my knife skills. Soon I was taking risks in the kitchen, spreading my wings and allowing my creativity and new-found confidence to infuse my cooking.
When I first started hosting dinners in my DUMBO and Amagansett homes my friends would tease me about my chopping obsession. Instead of mincing things quickly in my Cuisinart I would hand-chop everything, I actually preferred the precise execution of chopping by hand and mastering my skills, it was meditative! My friends would laugh at how militant I was with my knives, freaking out if someone dared to scrape the blade across the cutting board or put them in the dishwasher – both major knife no-no’s that severely dull the blade.
I thought I was good, and probably was, but one summer day I read an article in support of Gwyneth Paltrow’s first cookbook, The article went on to mention that she had knife and butchering skills so perfect they could rival any master chef. Well there is nothing that can cut you as sharply as inspired envy. That very day I registered for an advanced knife skills class! I began swooning just a few months later.
Which brings me to EyeSwoon and the work I do today. Witnessing the evolution of West Elm from day one, I always felt connected to the brand because of our shared neighborhood; and more than once I’ve set an intention about one day collaborating. This past summer EyeSwoon gained traction and began working with like-minded lifestyle brands – this growth seemed to collide with the opening of the West Elm Market, a swoon-worthy mix of kitchen gadgets and functional home essentials all perfectly crafted, curated and housed in a communal setting. It felt like the moment had come, West Elm x EyeSwoon – two kindred spirits – taking a bite out of knife skills together! I’m so happy to share my knife evolution with you, in a kitchen in the heart of DUMBO, the very home of West Elm.
As I practiced these techniques, I used Schmit Bros titanium-coated, stainless steel and cassia wood-handled knives, and a Storage Cutting Board made of solid acacia wood – both exclusive collaborations with West Elm Market. Below are a few very simple tips and tricks that will have you chop, chop, chopping away with efficiency, accuracy and precision. The proper knife grip is everything when it comes to safety and speed, and a swoon-easy trick for gaining control of your knife is to use the middle of your knife, not the tip! You’ll find yourself slicing with grace – guaranteed!