The best gifts are pegged to neither holidays nor birthdays — they’re bought in moments of spontaneity and given with person-specific affection. A few years ago, a friend came over for dinner; he walked through the front door with his hands held awkwardly behind his back, grinned widely, and whipped out a W-magazine-size sheet of translucent plastic. Inside was a cardboard cutout of Guy Fieri’s preposterous face and a single chef knife. “Welcome to Flavor Town,” he said.
I laughed, he laughed, and then we got to work at the absurd task of trying to open a piece of packaging that protected the one thing that would have helped us. Finally, after minutes of stabbing and bending, we were able to release the knife, and I put it to immediate use — chopping carrots for a salad.
It was honestly one of the most memorable culinary moments of my life. So sharp, so sturdy, so pleasantly heavy! Within seconds I had a tidy pile of orange little coins. It required no muscle at all. I’ve since cut everything from hard cheeses to tough steaks with it, and the great results are always the same. It’s just as good three years later as it was the night I was given it. It is slightly mortifying but with the exception of a very expensive and now very rusty Japanese knife, this is the best chef’s knife I’ve ever used.
I don’t know if I’ve ever been more surprised — or satisfied — by a celebrity-branded product.
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