Amuse Bouche: Gary Silverstein

We asked Gary Silverstein, who sharpens knives for pros and the public at local farmers’ markets: Why do blades get dull?

Illustration by Andy Friedman

It’s a natural process over time. The pointed edge begins to flatten the more you use it. The honing steel is great, but it won’t actually sharpen the knife. It just realigns the mangled particles along the edge. The wrong cutting board can make a knife go dull more quickly. Use wood or plastic, not bamboo. Bamboo doesn’t give.

What’s the one knife to have in the kitchen?
A six-and-a-half-inch santoku. It’s a great multitasker, and it feels great. Just put it in your hand and you’ll know. Does a good blade have to cost $500? No. It all depends on what you’re doing, but I’d never pay more than $200. Anything higher is just in your head. It’s the same reason people drive Maseratis.