Hi I’m Kaz. First of all, I would like to introduce myself.
I’m from a small town called Kushiro, Hokkaido. It is the coldest area of Japan and famous for one of the best fishery town so the freshness of seafood is superb.
Originally, I was studying IT technology in the college and at the same time, I had a part time job at the small Japanese Koryori-ya (high-end Izakaya) for 2 years. As I was working alongside the passionate head chef, I admired his attitude for creating hearty dishes and good services for his customers. And of course, every night he was sharpening knives to provide best quality for his dishes.
This is how I got into the hospitality world.
Then, I decided to work as a professional chef instead of IT master. I came to Melbourne in 2010 for a life-changing experience. For the first 2 years, I was trained at a Japanese restaurant in Inverloch, then I was fascinated with Melbourne’s cafe culture and became a cafe chef. I’ve worked for cafes for 4 years including 2 places as a head chef.
Through my experience I’ve met many chefs asking for Japanese knives. I could not find those with good quality and reasonable price in Australia so I always ordered knives from Japan. Since then, I started wondering if I could be a dealer of Japanese knives.
In 2017 I went to Sakai, Osaka where more than 100 of blacksmiths creating swords and knives since Samurai Era. Jikko has been operating since 1900 that is a truly authentic Japanese blacksmith. Their motto is that meeting new people could be once in a lifetime encounter so they give the best performance for forging their knives.
More than 100 years, they have been listening to a number of Japanese chefs and always striving to improve the quality of knives. I was impressed by their spirit of craftsmanship as well as the quality of products so I decided to introduce Jikko knives for Australian chefs. This is how I started my business “Kaz’s Knife and Kitchenware”.
The Jikko knives that we deal with are all hand-made in Japan. I think that the most possible way of improving your cooking skill would be having good knives. The meal you cook becomes tasty when cut with good knives. And tasty meal creates more happy smiles so having good knives your life can be more fun! I would like to support choosing your best knives as well as maintaining to use them for 10, 20 years.
I've been interested in all things food and cooking ever since I would watch my mum cook dinner for us when I was very little. My parents were young when they had me and my siblings, but the tight budget never stopped my mother from creating interesting, tasty and healthy food. She supplied me with endless amount of inspiration and possibilities of tastes and creations.
Working in hospotality seemed the lodgical step for me, but hearing from by everyone under the sun that a career in hospility would lead to a life of long hours, failed relationships and minumum wage forced me to steer clear. But not for long. I was offered a job washing dishes and preparing food in a local cafe at the age of 14 that I couldn't turn down!
I've now had jobs in many kitchens, working front of house and making coffee over the last 7 years. The one thing that I could not understand in many kitchens was the disrespect shown to the equipment, in particular their knives. A tool that they use every day, and yet they throw it around and have never been tought how to care and sharpen their knives.
I bought my first Japanese knife on a trip to Kyoto when I was 15. I found myself in a little market and stumbled into a knife shop I later learnt was called Aritsugu. I bought a standerd Nakiri "vegetable knife". So sharp, balanced and beautiful.
Returning to Melbourne I searched for someone to teach me how to care and sharpen my knifes. I went to every class I could find and slowly built up my skill. I offerd my new found skills to a chef friend of mine. He was so pleased with the result he sent me round to all his friends and told me I could charge a small fee for the opportunity to build my skills.
I found that most people had never sharpened their knives at all in their home environment. And if they did they used "handy" sharping gadets that didn't sharpen but strip metal from the knives. Sharpening knives became not enough! I want everyone to know how to sharpen and care for their own knives! Caring for knifves should not be seen as a chore but a part of the whole in creating of beautiful food.