Staff, 2022-04-27 02:00:00,
When Evan Atwell was working at a food market in the Mission District of San Francisco, he would spend his lunch breaks looking at knives. Just down the street from the Bi-Right where he worked is Bernal Cutlery, a pioneering knife shop that opened in 2005.
“I thought it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” Atwell remembers. “Every square inch of the wall was utilizing display knives.”
So when he decided to open his own business in Portland, Maine, in 2018, he knew just the place he wanted to model it after. “Like all broke millennials, we started in a repurposed shipping container,” he remembers. “I spent thousands of hours scouring the internet and reading every book I could. You can just want a knife to cut stuff, and that’s great. But if you get really involved, it becomes anthropological and scientific.”
The result of all of his research is his shop Strata, which focuses largely on importing the best kitchen knives, cookware, and accessories from all over the world. Named for the different levels in Japanese knife sharpening whetstones, Strata is now in a bigger location and offers a vast (largely Japanese) collection of knives and sharpening services.
From owning his shop, Atwell has learned that “99% of people have never experienced a good knife” and he’s made it his mission to change that. Here, he shares his best tips and techniques to maintain sharp knives.
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