FOUR speaks with Michael Bach, CEO Sknife, to find out more about the Swiss brand…
Can you give us a brief overview of Sknife, including how/when it was founded and its philosophy?
We were asked from different Swiss top chefs, if we couldn’t or wouldn’t develop an knife because we have a lot of experience with Japanese knives. We set the focus on steak – and pocket knives – “in the style” of the well-known Laguiole knives, but with a much higher degree of perfection, high-end materials and a modern design.
Can you describe some of the Sknife products and their uses?
We tried to re-invent the knife with the following important features:
- The back of the handle is round – to ensure that the knife always turns to the side once it is on a plate
- In the middle of the knife back the knife is thicker – so that the index finger is placed on the blade
- Center of gravity is far forward – to prevent the knife from falling off the plate
- Smooth transition – possible with stabilized wood
- The knife-edge is “free”– does not make contact with the surface to protect it
See adjacent image for explanation of knife design, beginning at the top and continuing from left to right.
What makes Sknife products stand out in comparison to other knife brands?
Perfect craftsmanship, sustainability (even the packaging), and regional materials (only Swiss wood used). The design was also developed in close cooperation with top chefs.
Can you tell us about Sknife’s success at the Design Awards?
The Design Awards Jury said the following about Sknife: “This steak cutlery is notable for the care with which it has been manufactured – a quality that very persuasively conveys love of good craftsmanship. The cutlery features a clean design and is made of superb materials that allow for untrammeled enjoyment of steaks.”
What are some of the other awards that Sknife has won?
- Good Design Award
- RedDot Award: Best of the Best
- German Design Award
What is the history behind the design and production of the Sknife products? Is it a traditional method that has been passed down over generations, or is it a new method that undergoes constant innovation?
We combine craftsmanship with perfection. You can also feel the love for the craft at the fork. With the pocket knife, we have broken completely new ground by incorporating a technology that is used in the watch industry.
We took the art of knife-making to a new level. The pocket knife which is made of surgical steel, high-tech ceramics and components from the watch industry has only one thing in common with all conventional pocket knives: it cuts. Even opening the pocket knife is a sensation; thanks to the worldwide unique sliding bearing made of high-tech ceramics, the knife can be opened very easily like the movement of a watch.
Tell us about your work with Michelin-starred chefs – which chefs do you work with?
Sknife has endorsed the following restaurants with their knives:
- Mauro Colagreco, Le Mirazur, Menton, France
- Roca Brothers, El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
- Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago, USA
- Franck Giovannini, Hôtel de Ville, Crissier, Switzerland
An example: the first day when Franck Giovannini received his Sknife knives from us and put them in his restaurant on the tables for his guests they all were immediately sold; the guests were thrilled; eating perfectly prepared meat with a perfect knife.
Why do you think Michelin-starred chefs choose to work with Sknife?
Because we are doing the same as top chefs are doing. We work regionally, we have developed new technologies (stabilized wood), to make the Swiss wood suitable for gastronomy, we improved functions and set everything in a modern design, where the handcrafted production (craftsmanship) is still noticeable. All that goes along with a modern kitchen.
Why is it important for Sknife to be associated with these chefs and their restaurants?
Our knives are very expensive, and often the customer doesn’t understand why. So it is very important that he feels the product, that he can touch it; the tactility is VERY important. Then he feels the high-quality materials and if the knives are in top restaurants, he can touch it and use it and he immediately sees “his perfect function”.
Why are Sknife knives essential tools in these chefs’ restaurants?
By dealing intensively with Japanese knives, we know how the knife-edge of a blade has to be to make it perfect. The blade (knife-edge) is ground extremely thin to avoid that the fibers of the meat are torn/ripped. And if the meat is not torn it keeps his juice, what is an immense pleasure for the palate.
More information on Sknife can be found on their website.