the case for a really good kitchen knife
Published Nov 18, 2015 5:00 AM
text by SHANI SILVER
photography by CHRIS CHAPMAN
We first came acrossBehring Made
knives on Instagram. Our OITNB faveLaura Prepon is in love with hers, and that got us thinking, do we need a kitchen knife upgrade? A major one? The beauty and craftsmanship of the knives carry a trustworthy weight about them. We wanted to know more. James Behring, Owner and Maker at Behring Made, crafts gorgeous, functional, substantial knives in his Montana workspace. One conversation with him and we started rethinking the way we look at our most necessary kitchen tool.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO START YOUR COMPANY? I launched Behring Made in 2011, however I’ve been exposed to the business of knives for 18 years. I started learning the craft in my dad’s knife shop in our family’s backyard in Michigan. After working for my dad, I moved to Montana and immediately started making knives under my own mark. I was greatly inspired by Montana’s natural beauty and access to the outdoors. Nature heavily inspires my art while practical field and home use hones my trade.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE MATERIALS FOR YOUR KNIVES? There are a few classic materials used by most knife makers, which I utilize, however I’m more inspired by the desired use, setting, and even personality of my client when I choose materials. For my steak and paring knives, I enjoy working with clients to match their interior design scheme or desired tablescape. I also enjoy the challenge of using rare pieces or strange things people send me like an old fossil they found in their backyard for example. I’m not afraid to work with unique mediums or difficult materials. We have some strange and cool stuff at the shop.
HOW LONG DOES AN AVERAGE KNIFE TAKE TO MAKE? Every knife is different because I work with raw materials that have varying needs and temperaments. They are like my wife and daughter, wildly unpredictable.
WHAT IS THE ONE COMPONENT OF KNIFE CARE THAT NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE KNOW? In general, I offer two types of steel: high carbon and stainless. High carbon knives are desired because of the natural patina, a testament to one’s use of the knife. To reduce discoloration, I recommend oiling the blade after use. A lot of people don’t like the natural patina and should opt for stainless steel which won’t discolor and doesn’t require as much care. No matter the steel, don’t put knives in a dishwasher!
WHAT IS YOUR MOST GIFT-ABLE KNIFE? By far our pocket knives are the most giftable and handiest. They appeal to men and women equally. They are a small luxe accessory that also comes in handy in all sorts of situations. People go nuts for them.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE READERS WILL NOTICE WHEN USING/DOING KITCHEN PREP WITH A BEHRING MADE KNIFE? So far, our kitchen cutlery is focused on paring knives and steak knives. Our paring knife, because of its blade geometry and ease of sharpening is an excellent utility knife. Many people use our steak knives, which are patterned after nimble birding knives to make swift light work of preparing meats. But I would say other than how striking and unique our knives are, the natural materials of the handle lend themselves to fit in the hand much more comfortably than any other knife. People always think our knives are pretty, but when they hold one, they buy one.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT BEHRING MADE? Our business philosophy is paramount. Our number one goal is customer and employee satisfaction. The two go hand in hand. We treat our family of employees with respect and empower them to seek a positive work life balance. We do so, because we we want our shop to have a confident, healthy, artistic and productive vibe which drives us to constantly improve. This philosophy naturally and positively pours over into our customer relationships.