Bonnie: Long, long, long ago my friend and colleague Brian Maynard (director of brand marketing, Jenn-Air and KitchenAid brands) sent me a tomato knife to try. The knife was one that he had worked on developing and that KitchenAid was selling.
“A tomato knife?” I asked. “Why would anyone need a knife just for tomatoes?”
Brian said, “Just try it.”
I did, was completely sold and planned to cover it in Parade magazine. Unfortunately, that’s when KitchenAid decided that that knife was too expensive and began offering a less expensive version. But before they stopped making it, I was able to get my hands on a few to share with Bryan and Eric.
Each of us has kept that knife in tiptop shape, using it only for tomatoes, washing it immediately and storing it safely. And after more than a decade, each of us still easily cuts through our tomatoes with that knife. We, though, couldn’t recommend it to you, as it’s not for sale.
But this Wüsthof one is.
Seems that consumers are now willing to fork over heftier prices for fabulous knives. The Bite of the Best team sampled the $90 Classic Ikon Tomato Knife. Wüsthof has a number of other tomato knives with different handles, ranging from $50 to $140. Each has a 5-inch blade, is precision-forged and has a serrated blade that slices tomatoes effortlessly.
Personally, I plan to use this knife only for tomatoes to keep it sharp indefinitely, like my older KitchenAid one.
Bryan: Ooohhh, aaahhh… this is a pretty knife. No, it’s not wrong to think a knife can be aesthetically pleasing. That does not make one a sociopath or homicidal maniac. It’s not a Dexter-like love affair with the destructive power of blades, but an appreciation of fine craftsmanship. It’s like a samurai honoring his sword as art before acknowledging it as a weapon.
OK, so I like knives. Always have since I was a kid. But I also love a good kitchen gadget and there is nothing more useful to a chef than a sharp knife. Strike that, there is nothing more useful than a set of sharp knives. Every job has a tool, and knives vary per the task. You wouldn’t cut your steak with a butter knife, or clean a trout with a cleaver. So why would you use anything but a tomato knife on a tomato?
Tomato knife, you say? Tomato knife, I say. The only tool for the job. Tomato knives have unique, serrated edges that let you create paper-thin slices of any vegetable, though it’s especially and specifically made for cutting cleanly through a tomato’s skin without destroying the fruit.
Utilize it even further by using the pronged tip to move slices for placement away from your cutting. This is a work of art by a time-honored knife maker. Wüsthof has been making professional-grade cutlery for almost two centuries! Founded in 1814, the German company puts out a collection of more than 350 knives in an array of beautiful designs and capabilities. Any chef touring its factory would be a kid in a candy store. I can personally say that no other knife will be anywhere near my fruits or vegetables.
Eric: I always have a feeling that for most people who cook at home, the knives they use while preparing their meals are an afterthought. I say most, because I do know some people who pay homage to a knife as if it were the deity of their culinary world; for the other 98 percent, the term “all-purpose knife” comes to mind.
I remember that while growing up, I would use a boning knife for everything. I loved the shape and feel of the knife, almost like a little samurai sword that could cut through anything, although never once did I try to de-bone with it. The lesson for me then was that although a sharp knife can cut through anything, it’s not necessarily designed to do it most efficiently; a knife is not just a knife.
Like any artistic endeavor, having the right tools will always benefit the end result — cooking is no exception. The Wüsthof tomato knife (Ikon Classic series) is designed by a master craftsman for the sole purpose of cutting a tomato… a tomato, the red fruit-vegetable for which you probably grab the closest paring knife and slice without a second thought. Why would such a distinguished knife producer conduct the research and spend the money to produce a knife that’s designed only to cut tomatoes? The simple answer: We eat a lot of tomatoes. This knife is designed to efficiently and effectively slice, dice and peel a spot into your culinary heart.