How To Care For And Store Your Kitchen Knives & Chef Florian Bellanger

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Spring is here. It looks like the weather is finally breaking and warmer temperatures are on the way! This month we have a great lineup for you from tips to chefs and recipes, to new product news. If there are some kitchen or culinary topics you would like us to cover, please reach out with your suggestions and we’ll be sure to make our best efforts to bring it to you. In this month’s Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips, we’re covering  “Everything you need to know about caring for your Kitchen Knives.” When you purchase a good set of kitchen knives, you want to make sure to care for them properly to get the most out of your investment. These tips and techniques will help keep your knives in like-new condition. In our Chef’s Spotlight, we’re pleased to bring you Chef Florian Bellanger, co-founder of Mad Mac Macarons and permanent judge on the Food Network’s TV series, Cupcake Wars, in its 9 season with 115 episodes to date. He also graces us with a delicious Recipe for Raspberry Macarons. Our Gourmet Store Spotlight this month brings you Cooks World in Rochester, NY. Lastly, our Product Spotlight is our new MyJuicer, our new personal juicer, great for making smoothies and juicing. Enjoy!


Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips

“Everything you need to know about caring for your Kitchen Knives.” 

When you purchase a good set of kitchen knives, you want to make sure to care for them properly to get the most out of your investment. These tips and techniques will help keep your knives in like-new condition.

Store Your Knives Properly

Knife Bag

Knife BagThis is more for the professional who has to carry their knives on the go. The advantage of the bag is that is portable, and all of your knives (and tools) are in one place. The disadvantage is that, a home kitchen is a little different and bags are more geared towards a professional. While you can use the bag at home, it is not as convenient for some people. Our 9 Pocket Soft Knife Roll Case.

Knife Block
Knife BlockWhile you cannot use it in a professional kitchen for sanitation reasons, at home it is acceptable.  As long as your knives are clean and dry when they go in, (this is key) you will not have any problems. If you like to put your knives away when they are dirty – you will end up with an issue of cross contamination. Our 10 Slot Wooden Knife Block

Knife Strip
magnetic knife rack You may have seen these magnetic knife holders. You place the metal blade on a the strip that holds your knives up for everyone. This is novel but we don’t necessarily recommend this method for storing your knives. The main issue is the magnet puts strain on your tang when you take your knife off the strip, and eventually your knife can actually break unless you have a full tang to the bottom of the handle like ours. Anther issue is pulling it off the Steel strip sideways where your blade edge can press against the steel strip rolling it over and or in some cases chipping the edge if the strip has raised steel bars on it.  To help prevent damage from this be sure you pull the knife off straight of twist it off so the back side or spine of the blade only contacts the steel magnet strip.

Edge Guards
Edge GuardsThese are especially recommended if you store your knives in  drawer. Edge guards will protect your fingers and knife edges from damage. Our 7 Piece Universal Knife Edge Guards help differentiate your knives and the sizes are most common by color. 4″ Pink edge guard to cover smaller paring knives or utility knives. 7.5″ Red edge guard for larger Utility, Boning or Fillet knives. 6″ Green edge guard for a smaller Chef knife or Santoku knife. 8″ Orange edge guard for a carving knife or serrated bread knife and an 8″ Blue edge guard for a larger Chef knife. These knife edge guards will protect any steel and ceramic knives with blades up to 1/8″ thick.

Sharpening Your Knife

Culinary students learn on their very first day: A dull knife is a dangerous knife, because the extra force required to cut foods can mean the knife could slip and cut you. Honing and sharpening your knife regularly will keep it safe and efficient to use. First, know the difference between honing and sharpening:

A) Honing straightens out the microscopic “teeth” that comprise the very edge of the teeth, which bend to one side as the knife is used over time, while B) sharpening actually abrades ultra-fine particles from the metal blade to recreate a blade.

Your knife only needs to be sharpened about once a year. But, only you know when it is slicing easily or not. Remember, a dull knife is a dangerous knife so some of us who use our knives frequently like to sharpen them at least once per month. If you use your knife sparingly then once every few months may suffice. You can have your knife sharpened professionally for a minimal amount and if you have a really good, really expensive set of knives, this may be the way to go. An expert knows exactly how to angle and sharpen the edge to like new precision. If you are a do it yourself kind of person, you can sharpen it at home, but be careful! We offer two options.

Pro Series 10 inch Diamond Sharpener

SteelThis Ergo Chef Pro-Series Sharpener is an oval 1″ wide x 10″ long diamond coated rod. It’s an essential part of proper knife maintenance to keep your knives as sharp as new. Designed to easily remove burrs & sharpen the edge on your knives with just a few light passes on it’s medium grit diamond coated surface. Our diamond steel has an ergonomic comfortable non-slip grip black handle with a large 1.6″ diameter face to protect your hand while sharpening. Also fits into most wooden blocks.

FASTEDGE Manual Pull Through Sharpener

sharpenerThis Ergo Chef FastEdge 2 stage manual pull though knife sharpener has a non-slip base to safely sharpen your straight edge knives & nicely hone your serrated edges. It cuts an 18 degree edge with the Coarse Carbide inserts then finely hones the edge with the Fine Ceramic rods for a perfectly sharp blade with just a few pulls through the sharpener. Ours & industry research has shown that an 18 degree edge is most versatile and durable for all types of foods and steels. This Sharpener takes the guess work out of angles and makes it simple for anyone to sharpen there dull knives. Environmentally friendly by re-using handle with our replacement cartridge. FASTEDGE Knife Sharpener is a registered trademark of Ergo Chef, LLC.

Don’t wash your knives in the dishwasher.

Even if a manufacturer touts its knives as being dishwasher safe, it’s best to hand-wash your knives. The rough agitation of a dishwasher can damage the blade by knocking it against other utensils or dishes. What’s more, the harsh detergents and high heat used in dishwashers can deteriorate your blade, rivets & plastic handle. And finally, it can be unsafe to keep sharp knives in the dishwasher; you could accidentally cut yourself reaching into the racks.

Wash knives immediately after use.

A knife is easiest to clean right after it’s used, before juices or food particles have a chance to dry on the blade. And if you’ve used the knife to cut acidic foods like tomatoes or citrus fruits, those juices could corrode the metal or cause spotting. Letting knives sit in a sink or a basin of water is also a bad idea. Follow these simple steps:

1. Never leave your knife in the sink or leave food on it to dry. Always rinse it and wipe it down if it is going to be awhile before you have the chance to wash it.
2. Use hot water and a mild soap.
3. If food is sticking to it let it soak in hot water for a few minutes before washing it. Keep the water clear and shallow so that you can see the knife clearly.
4. Knives should never be washed in the dishwasher.
5. Don’t dump knives into a sink of soapy water. Wash them carefully and individually. If they are at the bottom of the sink you could give yourself a bad cut when you went to pick one up.
6. Hold the knife with the blade pointed away from you.
7. Do not allow yourself to become distracted.
8. Slowly, using a dishcloth, wipe the blade gently from the top (dull side) to the sharp edge. This way the sharp side never comes in contact with you.
9. Hold the handle and rinse the knife thoroughly under very hot running water.
10. Wipe dry using the same method as you did for washing – dull side to sharp side.
11. Put it away.

Use knife-friendly cutting boards.
The right cutting boards can keep your knife sharper for longer. Avoid cutting boards made from glass, ceramic or marble, which do not have any “give” and will dull your knife (roll & burr the edge) – not to mention, knives can slip in the hard, slick surface. Wood and bamboo are both ideal cutting surfaces, as they will not dull the blade. In particular, look for cutting boards made from end-grain wood, because the individual grains will part around the blade as it makes contact with the board. Some chefs and home cooks prefer plastic, which is also gentle on blades, and has the added benefit that it can be sanitized in a dishwasher. There are also a number of new composite cutting boards that are made of materials like resin and paper combined, which offer a great balance of durability and blade protection. Knives are one of the most important kitchen tools there are. Buying the best quality that you can afford is just a good investment. Maintaining them properly helps that investment last as long as possible. With proper maintenance, use and care, your kitchen knives will last you a lifetime.


Chef’s Spotlight: Florian Bellanger

florianOur chef this month has a list of credentials that is incredible and the list of his friends is a virtual who’s who of the culinary world. Florian Bellanger is a French pastry chef, formerly the executive pastry chef at the famous Parisian pastry and candy shop, Fauchon. He is a permanent judge on the Food Network’s competition series Cupcake Wars, appearing in over 9 seasons and 115 episodes to date.

Florian grew up in Paris and spent much of his free afternoons baking for his family. However, a childhood chocolate allergy prevented him from enjoying sweets and desserts for 6 years which had temporarily discouraged his desire to bake. At age 15, Bellanger applied to one of Paris’s prestigious pastry schools, the École de Paris des Métiers de la Table (“Paris school of table skills”), but was rejected for being a year too young. By 1986, he graduated from the school with a specialization in pastry cooking and a specialty in chocolate and ice cream; he now says chocolate is his favorite ingredient and admires its versatility, claiming it is “fun” and something “taken for granted.”

Before starting his own company, He  was the executive pastry chef at Fauchon and oversaw 24 other pastry chefs at its Tea Salon flagship store in New York City, a “legendary French Epicurean emporium” of cakes, cookies, ice creams and sorbets. There, he became known for creating inventive combinations of flavors outside of the norms of tradition, such as éclairs flavored with orange zest, passion fruit or coconut and raspberry marshmallow cake, Toulouse violet ice cream and raspberry-chili pepper sorbet. From 1991 to 1994, he was under the command of famous French pastry chef Pierre Hermé and was also the executive pastry chef for Fauchon’s flagship store in Qatar from 1994 to 1996.

Florian was pastry chef of the world renowned (3 stars Michelin) restaurant Le Bernardin from 1996 to 2001, where his desserts were described as “light and dreamy” by Ruth Reichl of The New York Times. Bellanger is now the chef and co-owner of Mad Mac Macarons “the Authentic French Macarons and Madeleines” an acclaimed French cookie and pastry company, which he helped found in 2006. Bellanger is a member of City Harvest’s Food Council and a guest chef at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, New York. He also spends his free time donating to charities such as C-CAP Careers Through Culinary Arts Program, the Wolfgang Puck Charity and the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation.

cupcake-wars-florian-bellanger-7Bellanger is a permanent judge on the Food Network’s hit competition series Cupcake Wars which airs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, the Philippines and South Africa. Cupcake Wars is a Food Network reality-based competition show hosted by Justin Willman based on creating unique and professional-style cupcakes that began airing in June 2010. The show is similar to Chopped in that it started with 4 contestants who are eliminated one by one in 3 rounds. During seasons 1-3, the show’s time-slot was Tuesdays at 8 pm, EST, but at the beginning of the 4th season, the time-slot changed to Sundays at 8PM EST.  The show challenges its contestants to create cupcakes with unusual ingredients with the winning team receiving $10,000. Each team consists of a chef and a sous-chef.

Bellanger was named one of the 10 Best Pastry Chefs in America in 2004 and 2003 by Pastry Art & Design magazine. In 2000 and 2001, the James Beard Foundation acclaimed Bellanger’s accomplishments with a nomination for “Outstanding Pastry Chef. Bellanger he is also the Jury President of the US Pastry Competition that is held every February in NYC, and has been featured on many networks including CNN, NBC, Food Network and Martha Stewart Living. Bellanger’s cake and pastry works have received attention in various magazines and publications including House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Weddings, Forbes, Brides, Modern Bride, GQ, Time Out, People, The New York Times, InStyle, Pastry Art & Design, Food Arts, Chocolatier Magazine, The Nibble, Delta Sky and New York Magazine, and PastryScoop.com.


Recipe

raspberry macaron florianRaspberry Macarons Recipe by Florian Bellanger

Makes 24 macaron cookies/48 shells

Ingredients
Almond Flour 1 cup (100 gms)
10 X Powder sugar 1/3 cup + 1 tblespoon (80 gms)
Egg white 1 unit (30 gms)
Apricot Jam 1 tbs (8 gms)
Sugar 1/3 cup (68 gms)
Egg white 1 unit (30 gms)
+ 1 Jar of Raspberry Preserve with seeds (ex : Bonne Maman Brand)

Method

Pre-heat your oven at 375 F

Using a whisk Combine in a mixing bowl, almond flour and powder sugar, add the egg white and the apricot jam, mix until combined.

In a Mixing machine (kitchen aid) using whisk attachment, Whip the egg white / half way, start to add the granulated sugar little by little, to strengthen the whipped egg whites (stiff peak). Add food coloring at the end until a nice bright pink color (has to be bright because color will fade away a bit during baking.) Add 1/3 of your egg whipped white (meringue) into the first mix, mix using a spatula, until combined, (repeat) …. add the rest of your egg white and do the mix by hand with a rubber spatula, mix until combined and shinny.

Using a piping bag , form the macarons shells on a sheet pan tray lined with non-stick parchment paper, no more than 1 inch diameter .

Important before baking : Let the macarons shells rest at room temperature (for about 15 minutes) or until the top of your cookies get dry a bit and does not stick to your fingertip anymore. Bake at 375 F for 12 to 14 min.

Once out of the oven, let them cool at room temperature, then take out (gently/French macarons shells are very fragile) Flip over your macarons and using your thumb press a bit the center of it to get a small hole, then using a pipping bag or teaspoon, apply filling (raspberry preserve) on only one side of the cookies and stick both part together .

Note: Once all done, refrigerate Macarons over night on a tray covered with plastic wrap or place them in an air-tight container. The inside will absorb some moisture from the preserve and they will get even more tender.


Gourmet Store Spotlight

Cooks’deqAYWfB_400x400 World was founded by George F. Wiedemer Sr, in 1978 as a Gourmet Kitchenware Store for those who love to cook. Run by his son, Chris Wiedemer, since 1994, Cooks’ World carries an extensive line of superior quality cookware, bake ware, cutlery, tools and gadgets, unique hard to find cooking products, giftware from around the world and specialty foods. They offer a friendly, knowledgeable staff, who have been at Cooks’ World for up to 32 years. Services include, but are not limited to FREE Gift Wrapping, FREE cup of coffee all day, every day, Knife Sharpening, Product Demonstrations, Private Events, Special Ordering, Shipping.

They represent products from over 300 companies, including All-Clad, LeCrueset, Cuisinart, Calphalon, Staub, Lodge, Swiss Diamond, Nespresso, Zojirushi, Wusthof Trident, Ergo Chef, Zwilling JA Henckel, Victorinox, JK Adams, Messermeister, White House Coffee, Harold Imports, Kitchen Aid, Nordicware, Norpro, Breville, Capresso, Bunn, Casafina, Polish cooksworld fall staff pict 2013 homepagePottery, Chicago Metallic, Kitchen Supply, John Boos, RSVP, and many, many more. Chris does an amazing job at finding the best new products for his kitchen store. This year he has added some Crimson Knives in store and can order up any of the Ergo Chef products you like if he doesn’t have them in stock. Chances are you’ll find an amazing selection of quality items and his great personal staff ready to assist. So get Cooking with the Cooks World in Rochester, NY. For special offers, coupons, newsletter, and new product early notices, please get on their email list and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Store Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9am – 6pm, Sunday: Noon – 5pm ~ Phone: 585-271-1789, Toll Free: 1-800-825-1833, Fax: 585-271-6113 ~ 2179 Monroe Ave, Rochester, NY 14618


Product Spotlight

My Juicer complete kit LErgo Chef is excited about introducing a new product in Kitchen Electrics called “My Juicer(TM)” A Personal Juicer/Blender with Sport Bottle to quickly and easily blend all your Fresh or Frozen Fruits & Vegetables into delicious healthy smoothies. 

The Ergo Chef’s brand new My Juicer(TM) is made with top quality components for easily blending up healthy smoothies and shakes. The powerful 300 watt motor and 4 Stainless Steel blades are engineered for quick and easy blending of frozen fruits, veggies and even desserts. My Juicer(TM) is the first part of Ergo Chef’s new “Kitchen Collection” of electrics. Estimated Ship Date is April 2015. Includes: High Quality Stainless Steel & Black Plastic Base with NON-Slip Suction Feet. Durable BPA Free Plastic Sport Bottle with Removable Lid with Handle and One Juicer Blade Assembly. Pre-Order My Juicer today and  save!  To order click here: My Juicer.

Till next time,

Ergo Chef

Mike StaibHow To Care For And Store Your Kitchen Knives & Chef Florian Bellanger

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Join the conversation
  • Andrew Flintoff - June 7, 2017

    very nice article chef knives is very nice i like it :)

  • Kitchen Virtue - February 1, 2019

    Informative and interesting Blog! Beautifully written, as usual, I like the post. Thank you so much for nice sharing with us. Keep posting!

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