When discussing kitchen knives and keeping them sharp, it's hard not to use the name Eytan Zias in the same sentence.
See also: Tastemakers 2012 - Eytan Zias
The ex-New York restaurant chef and owner of Phoenix Knife House in Arcadia is pretty much the Valley's premier knife expert. And his store, described as "the barber shop for chefs" but also catering to home cooks, too, has one of the top collections of Japanese knives in the country.
Recently, Zias started offering knife sharpening courses and already he's had everyone from professional knife makers, cooks, executive chefs, and home cooks pass through his doors. But before you sign up, there's five things he'd like you to know.
1.) It Ain't for Everyone
EZ: The class is not for people who have no interest in knives or sharpening and are looking for a quick fix. Hand sharpening requires practice and some basic dexterity. The class is for anybody with little or no sharpening experience.
2.) You Will Respect Your Knives
EZ: If there's one thing I hope the class will teach people, it is to be self sufficient and have more appreciation for their knives. You also have a certain amount of pride in using a knife you've sharpened yourself. My wife took the first class and since has only been using the knife she sharpened (even though we do have better ones at the house).
3.) A Cheap, Sharp Knife is Better Than an Expensive, Dull One
EZ: Maintenance is a huge part of knives. When it comes to sharpening, people tend to overcomplicate it and spend more time arguing over grits and angles than actual sharpening. There is a big difference between sharpening for the sport of it and sharpening for practical reasons - the class covers both.
4.) You Will Dull, Then Sharpen a Knife You Will Get to Take Home
EZ: We start with basic sharpening theory, learn a bit about the common blade steels, angles, and how to select stones. Then, we get to the practical: everybody will get the same knife and a full range of stones for use in class. After we completely dull the blade, we will go through the stone progression to get them shaving sharp.
5.) There Will (Probably) Be Blood
So far, six of the eight classes have had some blood (nothing serious though).
Zias' knife sharpening classes, held at his shop, are two hours long, cost $85 (which includes a knife), and are limited to eight people. The next available course is from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 17, with classes then happening from 4 to 6 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month. Reserve your spot by calling 480-946-2758 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.