As a professional cook and demonstrator, I love my knives. They are my prized possessions, my babies, the tools of my trade and those which make life so much easier. So back in late 2013 when I had a very serious injury to my leading hand and arm, rendering my knife skill days over, I put my beautiful knives away as I could neither hold them with my now very limited grip and more importantly, they were too heavy and unbalanced for me to control the blade. And I thought another trip to the hospital was NOT what I needed, so into storage roll they went.
With just 20% of my original hand power, I had to make do with using gadgets for chopping, slicing etc and albeit very good and they certainly did the job, it really wasn't the same as having that piece of cutting steel in the palm of your hand.
So when Natalie McVeigh from I.O.Shen knives approached me at a trade show and asked me if I could demonstrate her Maoui Deba knife, revealing the knife in all it's glory, my gammy hand seemed to get a life of its own as it automatically picked it up! As I held it, it felt such a natural fit, not being too heavy, unbalanced or unwieldly as my own knives had been feeling. This was perfectly balanced, had a thicker handle and deeper heel so I could hold it safely and a wonderful arc shaped blade would allow me to "rock" the blade and cut food with speed and control. Here was my saviour, my way back to using a proper knife again and as if my hand injury had never happened. So if you have dexterity problems of any sort, this knife is exactly what you should be looking at.
So with my appetite fuelled, I wanted to scrutinise this knife more closely but first I wanted to understand how it came about. I think with something of this calibre and not (yet) a well known name, it is important to know its history to fully understand the care that went into bringing it to market. Jointly designed by Natalie and professional chef Karim Maoui (after whom it is named), the knife they created was one that would suit not only his colleagues in the trade but for the general public, those without knife skills but wanting to be able to use a knife efficiently in their kitchens at home.
Click to read the full story.
You may think that a knife is a knife, but that is far from the truth. Buying knives should be an investment and when you are parting with your hard earned cash, you ought to have some understanding of what you are buying, why you are buying it and what you need it to do. Step into any cook shop and you will be met by a wall of knives, varying in price from a few pounds to a few hundred pounds, all shapes and sizes, all vying for your attention. So why buy the Maoui Deba?
First of all, the construction.
Forged from very hard highest grade Japanese stainless steel, I.O.Shen have ensured that if dropped the blade will not be damaged by incorporating a softer shock absorbent steel during manufacture. This ensures durability, gives the ultimate cutting edge and keeps the blade sharper for longer. The whole knife is made from one single piece of steel from the handle to the tip of the knife which gives it the rigidity to cope with cutting through all manner of foods.
The Tai Tang handle is made from a synthetic material (ebonite) which is both durable and heat resistant and helps to give the knifes amazing balance. Click on science for more info about this.
My first consideration would always be what can this knife do for me. Is it purely for a specific task such fillet fish or paring vegetables or can I use it for almost every cutting task in my kitchen? Presuming you don't work in a professional kitchen and neither do the other sometime cooks in your house, most of us would choose to invest in one good knife that can be used for a multitude of things, a knife that you reach for every time, that you feel comfortable with, so in my humble opinion, this knife is the answer.
One of the key things is that the Maoui Deba cuts through all foods without any effort using its hand sharpened curved edge with arrow head point, giving it superb slicing and dicing control, even for a larger knife (measuring a majestic 170mm in length and 57mm in depth at its widest point).
Even someone who struggles with dexterity issues can make the knife work for them by using the curvature of the blade to rock the knife. This is made so much easier as the length of the handle means that the upper end of the knife handle rests against the wrist, giving a more controlled action. And from a safety point of view the heel of the knife at the handle end of the knife is deep and has a soft shape to it so your fingers cannot slide forward onto the sharp blade.
The trade must think it is good as it has just won an award at the 2017 Housewares Innovation evening, presented to the lovely and well deserving Natalie by the charming Hairy Bikers no less!
I think you can tell that I am in love with the Maoui Deba and since I was kindly gave me my very own, it has been used daily, lovingly wiped clean and stored in my knife block in its very own slot. It is a fabulous knife, perfect for so many tasks, a dream to use and will no doubt give me many, many years of service and pleasure with my newly restored knife skills. Gammy hand or not!
For more information, please contact ioshen direct, click the link.