Paul Suleyman has been a butcher for 35 years: if he was on a quiz show, meat and knives would be his special subjects. The South Australian was the winner of this year’s Meatstock Melbourne Butcher Wars (basically, a live butchering showdown before a captivated audience), so he also practices what he preaches.
With the weather warming up, that means barbies are just around the corner. Suleyman’s choice of BBQ companion is the Victorinox 2-Piece Carving Set. “It’s perfect for handling steak, chops, and snags – and a roast, come Sunday. The knife stays sharp for a great length of time and both pieces offer really good grip,” he says.
In terms of general knife know-how, Suleyman has a few cardinal rules:
- Buy a good quality knife; a good quality knife should last you a lifetime.
- Never run a knife through the dishwasher, as it can blunt the blade and damage the handle.
- Always cut on a good surface, like wood or plastic. Never cut on glass, marble or ceramic, as this can blunt the knife
- Good storage to prevent any damage to the blade or handle.
When it comes to the knives Suleyman recommends as kitchen must-haves, he’s got three go-tos. “You’ll need a 10cm paring knife for those small fiddly jobs; a 12-15cm boning knife, which is a really versatile knife and can be used for any job whatsoever; and a 22cm carving knife, for carving or chopping larger vegetables.”
There’s a rule that if you look after your knives, they’ll look after you. Two ways to show your blades you really care are steeling and sharpening. “I use a steel to hone my knives prior to every use, and with some practice, someone can master the art of steeling,” Suleyman says. “Now, while steeling keeps the edge nice and straight, it doesn’t actually sharpen the blade. For that you’ll need a sharpening stone or a home sharpener. If you’d prefer not to do it yourself, professional mobile sharpening services are available.”