This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what people in the food industry are obsessed with eating, drinking, and buying right now.
There I was, staring down a cabbage as big and heavy as a medicine ball. I was supposed to slice it into wedges through its core. I was having neighbors to dinner. Witnesses to my relentless mealtime Instagram posts, they had texted me, “Can’t wait to eat your cooking!”
I had to bring it. When I saw a pal’s post with a recipe for Senegalese mafé, I knew my plan. Now I had to break down this beast.
What tool to use? My chef’s knives were too stubby to span the cabbage’s width. So I went for the only knife I owned with the length to take that veg on: my new Cutluxe 10” Bullnose Butcher Knife. I had bought that knife, an affordable impulse purchase, for grilling season. Meant for breaking down a side of beef, its nearly foot-long, wide, tough blade made quick work of spatchcocking a chicken and trimming a brisket before smoking. I hadn’t figured it for vegetables, but I reckoned it could halve that head of cabbage in one fell swoop. Cradling the handle in one hand and pressing on the bulbous blade with the other, I pushed that stretch of hard-carbon German steel into the cabbage and—boom!—two halves fell away, perfect semi-spheres with flat faces and equal shares of core.
I held up the knife and admired it: With a curve that ends in fat whoosh and a scimitar tip, it looks like a prop in a pirate movie. But it’s for real. Hand-honed and super-sharp with an elegant balance between handle and bullnose, it rocks steady and slices smooth. The bullnose itself—the curved end of the blade that comes to a point where it meets the spine—adds reach and weight for making longer cuts through large, dense material. (Plus, for added fun, the tip can be used to stab the cabbage wedges and move them to the roasting dish.) Dimples along its length—called a “Granton edge”—let air in between the steel and its quarry, minimizing drag and raggedy cuts. For sturdiness, the blade’s full tang is triple-riveted into the durable, slip-resistant pakkawood handle, tapered so it fits my slender palm. At only 1.5 pounds, the knife looks ferocious, but it’s user-friendly.
Since the cabbage, I’ve unleashed it on all sorts of the produce world’s toughest customers. I’ve chunked kabocha squash, broken down watermelon, skinned cassava, sliced jicama, and cubed turnips. For a party trick, I lined up a trio of apples and bisected them in one mighty chop. I’ve even fan-girled Cutluxe, writing them to describe the bullnose’s adventures in produce. Their reply: “This knife is a professional slaughtering/butcher knife. While those functions are not its cup of tea, they should pose no problem for it.”
Another type of food the Cutluxe folks might not have considered when designing their bullnose knife? Fish. For his birthday, I sent a knife to pal Scott Clark, chef-owner at Dad’s Luncheonette in Half Moon Bay, who spends his spare time baiting hooks. He tested the tool on his latest catch. “Oh, man,” he texted me, “that knife is nimble and really fierce. Used it to break down some yellowtail, cleaned up a ton of king salmon, and chopped parsley just for the fun of it. Surprisingly agile for its size. Going to be a staple in the kitchen for sure!!”
Two exclamation points. Not bad for a $44.99 knife. Not bad at all.