With all of us spending more time in our own kitchens, there's one easy way to boost our cooking skills and that's by improving our equipment. Here's our guide to some of Britain's best artisan knife makers.
Popular Peckham-based Blenheim Forge were at the forefront of the move towards modern knife-making. James, John and Richard have a large chef fan base and, as they say, “Choosing your knife is a statement about yourself, ‘I am a cook - not just someone who cooks’.” In addition to their classic knives, they release monthly special editions and even offer knife sharpening classes.
Follow on Instagram: @blenheimforge
From making his first knife down in the cellar of his home to moving to a workshop at Darley Abbey Mills in Derbyshire, Ben Edmonds wants his knives to be a counterpoint to our current disposable culture. The great and the good of the food world will know them, having received a knife as part of the Observer Food Monthly Awards trophies. Watch out for their Friday knife sales.
Follow on Instagram: @blokknives
Knifesmith Tim Westley says he "loves making knives, but not at the expense of the environment." So his knives are made from high-quality steel and metal waste while the handles are made from recycled plastic that Tim's found along the Thames and other London canals. In normal times he's to be found as an artist in residence at the London Museum of Water & Steam.
Follow on Instagram: @clementknives
Andrew Woodhead and his team at Crafted Knife Co turn out their beautiful knives from a workshop in Preston. Their speciality is kitchen and steak knives but they also do a much sought after Kiridashi bottle opening which is part bar tool as well as a handy carver.
Follow on Instagram: @craftedknifeco
Somerset-based knifemaker Ed Holdsworth-Hunt specialises in sheath, folding and kitchen knives. The blades are made from high carbon British steel and Ed makes a point of searching out reclaimed wood for the handles.
Follow on Instagram: @hhuntknives
Nouko Knives is run by bladesmith Konstantinos Noulis. He started out with a forge in the back garden in Bristol and progressed to it becoming his full-time business, turning out exquisite looking knives. You can order off the shelf - there's a wide range to choose from including a steak knives set we badly want - or go bespoke and work with him on choosing the materials.
Follow on Instagram: @nouko_knives
Yorkshire made Raw Knives pride themselves on their Damascus blades which are hand-forged using two high-carbon steels which they say maintain their edge for longer than single steel blades. Handles are fashioned from a single solid piece of seasoned blackwood.
Follow on Instagram: @rawknives
Named after the West Country forest where their first workshop opened, Savernake dub themselves 'progressive English knifemakers'. Founder Laurie Timpson is ex-Scots Guards and now lives off the grid in the forest. Ready-made knives include a covetable chef's carving set with E J Wicks leather wrap.
Follow on Instagram: @savernake_knives
The knives from Tog are made to survive the rigours of a professional kitchen. They're rated by the likes of Sat Bains, Philip Howard and TV chef Ching-He Huang. Although they're made in Japan they are designed in Bristol and their 21 layers of high quality Japanese stainless steel make them an indispensable chef's tool.
Follow on Instagram: @togknives
If you're interested in the materials that knives are made of, then you should look at Two Sticks Forge. Run by Andrew Lindsay and his team in the Ashdown Forest they specialise in knives for professional chefs and home cooks. Vintage is a big thing here - they've clad laminated blades with wrought iron from 100-year-old cartwheel rims or used the leaf springs from a 1932 MG Midget for the high-carbon core of knives. Handles are crafted from East Anglian bog oak as well as local, sustainably sourced hardwoods.
Follow on Instagram: @twosticksforge
And finally, if you want to be more like Nigella (and who doesn't?):
If, like legions of Nigella fans, you’ve been wanting to get your hands on a leopard print knife like the one used in her latest TV show, then we’ve got bad news for you. It’s now out of stock. But, on the upside, you can buy a similarly eyepopping blade from the same Swiss company Kuhn Rikon which is selling these pop art paring knives.
Follow on Instagram: @kuhnrikonuk
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