Like most of us, writer/cook Corby Kummer wants good knives in the kitchen. He’s picked up different blades here and there, loving one until the edge chipped, lauding a cheap-but-lethal paring knife, and letting others languish due to skimpy handles or badly balanced blades. But then he spies a set of deeply cool-looking knives made by Adam Simha, a metalworker in North Cambridge, Massachusetts. Simha’s knives pair heavy steel blades with handles made from candy-colored bicycle grips.

Starting with Simha’s knives (sold under Simha’s firm’s name, MKS Design), Kummer goes on a binge of slicing and dicing in the Atlantic Monthly (subscription required). Writing about the MKS knives, Kummer notes,

The cheerful, striking handles get Simha through the door, but it is his craftsmanship that persuades knife sellers to carry the knives and chefs to use them (and justifies the price: MKS knives retail for $150–$225).

As a result of hanging with Simha, Kummer formulates some helpful buying advice for knife-seeking cooks. First, never buy a set. Then, start with the handle, which should be as welcoming as “shaking hands with an old friend.”

If you like a thin blade, try the short, svelte Japanese makes; for more heft, go German. Ceramics offer hot-butter sharpness with barely any weight. Kummer also goes into knife-geek details about tang length and hand-forging versus stamping, but the payoff comes just a few lines from the end, when he finally discovers the Japanese MAC chef’s knife, which he dubs his “Goldilocks knife”: just right.

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