Mexican chef Enrique Olvera is having quite a year.
In March, his Mexico City hot spot, Pujol, reopened in a bigger, brighter space, complete with an outdoor brick oven and herb garden. Just a few weeks later, the casual Atla—his New York follow-up to his higher-end Cosme—debuted, quickly becoming a go-to breakfast and lunch spot. And come 2018, the West Coast will welcome an outpost of Cosme in Los Angeles. But no matter where he is, you can always expect Olvera to have one kitchen tool on hand: his beloved Japanese knife. Here's what he loves about it:
"No other culture besides the Japanese has ever perfected the craft of making knives. All of the details—from the blade to the handle to the ergonomics—are perfect. They're like pieces of art. My favorites are the traditional ones with no brand, named only by the style of the knife," he says.
Olvera's favorite is his 270mm Suisin collection Kiritsuke Hayate knife, which he purchased at the Tanto store inside the QT Melbourne hotel. It was handmade in Osaka by craftsman Itsuo Doi, with a cold-forged Blue Steel No. 2 blade and a handle of ebony and black Australian buffalo husk.
From a takohiki to a yanagi, the knives are often used when slicing sushi—making it clear why Olvera depends on this tool when prepping fish, and seafood in general. As for any unexpected uses? "As a katana!" he jokes. Personally, we think he'd make a terrific samurai.
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