With just under 12 weeks left until Christmas, here is the second in the series names the 12 Gifts Of Christmas. Hitting you up with some great foodie gift ideas to save you time in hunting for that perfect gift for a family member or loved one. (Part 1 is Here)
The second of these posts brings you a real treat for anyone that loves to spend time in the kitchen.
IO Shen Knives are the baby of Natalie McVeigh, who first came aware of IO Shen as a producer of knife sharpeners in Japan. She started to import their sharpeners and then later looked at importing their knives.
IO Shen are quite unique. Firstly they take a beautiful Japanese Steel blade, which uses an extremely hard (Rockwell 62º) Steel sandwiched between a much softer (Rockwell 10º) Steel. This method gives you the incredibly sharp blade edge that lasts, but without the danger of being too brittle due to it being protected by the softer outer metal.
They are 1 of only 3 knife producers that use this costly and labour intensive method.
When Natalie first looked at importing these blades, they were issued with no branding and no handles. Traditionally such a blade would be finished with a bamboo or wooden handle, however Natalie wanted to come up with a handle that appealed more to the western world.
Taking inspiration from heavier/weighted German knives, they set about working with manufacturers to produce the ideal handle. The final design uses the stunning Tai Tang pattern that makes IO Shen instantly recognisable.
I have been lucky enough to be using some IO Shen knives for a few years now.
My First Knife was the Maoui Deba, Designed by Chef Karim Maoui to be a multi-purpose blade that is fit for a huge variation of tasks, it is stunning to look at and such an ease to use.
The blade is thin and cutting edge razor sharp, fine slicing is easy and chopping an onion happens in seconds.
To be honest, after I first used this knife, I was purposely cooking things that required lots of chopping and slicing, just to be able to use it more.
IO Shen have a variety of knives, some more specialised then others and many designed by chefs, such as the Scimitar designed by the ‘Drunken Butcher’ Iain Devine
My most recent knife from IO Shen, is the much smaller, but so versatile Mei Peng.
Nick-named the ‘mini Oriental Slicer’ it has a blade length of 10.5cm and a beautiful pointed edge.
Chopping small veg or slicing into fine strips is this knives dream. You’ll see it sneaking into many of my pictures in Insta and Twitter.
IO Shen Knives, despite being hand finished and made in such a way are still incredibly affordable, with the Maoui Deba for example having an RRP of £109.95 – this would make a perfect Christmas present for any chef or home cook – I should know, I choose it as my own Christmas present one year!!
You can find your local IO Shen stockist here