Ben From The Blok
Gunning down the M4 to the South Gloucestershire town of Chipping Sodbury and home to my friends, Tom and Henry Herbert aka C4’s Fabulous Baker Brothers I knew we were in a for a treat at the launch of their spanking new Hobbs House Cookery School. We turned up hungry knowing that their super talented pastry chefs Sasha and Carla would be presenting examples of their chocolate éclairs, pastel del nata and their gorgeous salted caramels not forgetting their double chocolate and seasonal fruit tarts. The brothers would be entertaining us with freshly made pizza from a counter top portable oven, all washed down with a glug of superbly crafted beer from the mildly eccentric chaps from the Wild Beer Co, an amazing blend of hops, spices and zesty citrus notes (perfect for curry pairing).
But boys will be boys and I was drawn to the sound of blade against steel, the high pitched clash was deftly delivered by a heavily bearded fella with remarkable tattoo sleeves and a slightly menacing twinkle, a 21st Century incarnation of Sweeney Todd, yet slightly cooler. The aforementioned belonged to Benjamin Edmonds, who crafts these knives of distinction in either carbon steel or stainless steel.
In his subterranean grotto Ben crafts, sharpens, files, sands and grinds chefs knives, each one unique and each a practical work of art taking up to 9 hours to create. Handles are carved from English Burr Oak and Spalted Birch, working the burr of the grain into smooth yet grip-able hilts packing natural flaws with customised coloured resin. Quizzing him over his chef knife fascination, he replied, “I saw a short YouTube video about knife making and I was hooked, so I set up in my folk's basement to produce stunning British made knives and I’ve never looked back.”
Each knife comes with a ‘Ben’s Lifetime’ guarantee, so the next time you curse your mass produced blunt chopping instrument, quit the cursing and invest in a Blok knife, beautiful to look at, comforting to hold and it’ll slice through your shallots in seconds.
These knives definitely aren’t a chip off the old the block. Here's Ben's top tips:
- Keep on top of your knife edge. Hone little and often so as not blunt too much.
- Find a knife you are comfortable with and stick with it.
- A sharp knife is much safer to use than a blunt one, with less chance of slipping.