"I noticed the lightness and quickness of the Misono blade right away"

Michael Romano studied and flourished as a cook at the New York City Technical College, then became one of the first Americans in some of France’s most important restaurants. As the Executive Chef of Union Square Café, which he presently runs with partner Danny Meyer, Romano has helped the restaurant earn a glowing reputation; for the past seven years the New York City Zagat Survey has ranked it ‘Most Popular’.


What are the superior qualities of your Japanese knives?

Japanese knives are sharp, reliable and beautiful. With different shapes and characteristics for different tasks, Japanese knives are very clearly built for specific work. You can tell they are made for people who are deeply involved in their craft. They also demand more of the user. I bought my first traditional Japanese knives, an Aritsugu Kamagata Usuba, a Deba and a Yanagi at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo in 1982 and I quickly realized these were very different! The Usuba got stuck in cutting board a lot and I had to learn what the knife would and wouldn’t let me do.

I bought my first Misono in the late 1970’s when Japanese knives were still relatively unknown to most in the US. Now when I go into my kitchen it seems everyone has a Japanese knife! It’s amazing! You know the popularity of Japanese knives is a reality and not a fad when German makers start making a ‘Santoku’ knife. I noticed the lightness and quickness of the Misono blade right away; it started out sharper and took an edge faster than my other knives. I started with using Japanese knives there and never went back.


"Only my Japanese knives can be both artistic and functional."

Lionel Giraud is the son of onetime 2-star Michelin chef Claude Giraud. As a kid his favourite playground was his dad’s kitchen. After a diligent training at the Crillon, the Ritz and some time spent with Michel Guerard, he took off for Bucharest where he opened his restaurant La Villa Bucarest. In 2003, back in Narbonne, Lionel took over from his father at La Table Saint Crescent. The Gault Millau guide 2006 named him one of six “Tomorrow’s Great Chefs”, a welldeserved reward for this very talented young chef.


What does your knife mean to you?

It’s much more than just a tool. It’s like a link between the food ingredients and myself. It has something to do with the respect I have for the product. A good product can only be cut with a proper knife.


What are the superior qualities of your Japanese knives?

Their quality is exceptional. Only my Japanese knives can be both artistic and functional. I work better with Japanese knives. They are very efficient. From Korin, I already own a Masamoto Yanagi, a Glestain Gyutou, some Misono and Brieto. My latest acquisition is also my favourite: a Masanobu VG10 Santoku; so comfortable to hold and so sharp!


"Japanese knives allow you to be more of a craftsman, rather than a laborer."

Chris Cosentino developed a passion for Italian food during his childhood in an Italian-American community in Rhode Island. He brought his talents, honed at several distinguished restaurants, to San Francisco’s Incanto in 2003, and as Executive Chef, instantly earned a three-star review from San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer.


What are the superior qualities of your Japanese knives?

Japanese knives allow you to be more of a craftsman, rather than a laborer. You can get the perfect, perfect cut with a Japanese knife. I like the fact that each one has its specific use. For instance, the Suisin hankotsu allows me to feel the bones on smaller birds better and the Tojiro DP allows me to feel the bone rather than cut through it. I use the Misono hankotsu to break down whole hogs. It’s good because it’s not super flexible and it gives me better control. For my work with offal, I use a Tojiro DP slicing knife. I also use a Mac as my travel and utility knife.When you are using the Japanese knives, you are getting a better result every time.


What is the most important aspect of cooking to you?

The most important aspects of cooking are quality of product, technique, and love for it. You can have the best technique in the world and the best product, but if you don’t put love into it, you don’t get good food. If you have a bitter and angry kitchen, your food is going to taste bitter and angry. I think that’s really important, and I think a lot of people don’t realize that anymore.