Back at the start of the year, I was approached by Rob Beagley-Brown of TOG Knives, about his product. For those au fait with ChefHermes.com & how we review products, you know it isn’t just based on a brief honeymoon period. No, no, no; We go the whole hog, witness the IO Shen knives review for reference. Products which arrive from companies are given a decent going over for a minimum period of six months. Often they’re put through their paces in the professional environment, as well as domestic.
The first thing that will strike you about TOG Knives, is the five orange streaks running through the bottom half of the blade. Consulting the PR blub, we are told that these are layers of antimicrobial copper, to aid with blade hygiene.
Also on one side is the normal label, make etc. However, on TOG Knives they go one step further. Each knife is a numbered piece, my sample was 47 out of 200, worried that over time these bragging rights my fade? Don’t, all TOG Knives are laser etched with these details.
Now to the technical part. TOG Knives say they:
…are made from a special steel, roll-forged in Seki City, Japan, using 800 year old Samurai Swordmaking techniques. 21 layers of metal are combined to produce the ridiculously sharp blade and ensure that it stays sharp.
Ten antimicrobial copper alloy layers give TOG blades their unique stripes and make TOG blades the most hygienic on the market. Each copper layer is about half the thickness of a human hair.
What are they like to use?
I’ve been using TOG knives since February this year, till the present day. Verses my usual weapons of choice, either MAC or IO shen, there is a finesse, delicacy and deftness to the blade. If you’re a fan of the larger handled IO shen, then TOG Knives aren’t going to be for you, that said, the eco-friendly Norwegian Kebony Maple handle has a beautiful grip, well rounded, making it easy to fit into your hand. The pattern is laser etched, so again, your knife’s appearance will have a much coveted look, long after others have faded.
Like most things which are high performance, they require a little more maintenance. The copper in the blade must be absolutely dry before storing, and the blade requires marginally more time with a steel to maintain the razor like edge. And that’s TOG knives best asset, for the appearances & laser etching, it is a great knife, possessing all the immediate qualities you need: Balance; great product quality; sharpness; finish; stylish; form incorporating function.
The main sticking point for TOG Knives, is going to be the price. These are knives which are aimed at those view the tools of their trade as an investment, possibly those that work in the rarefied atmosphere of Michelin starred kitchens. Those for whom life is food and nothing else. Currently the TOG Knives range is at three different sizes, my test knife was the top of the range, 21cm Chef’s knife @ £170.
TOG Knives range:
- 12½cm Paring/Utility knife – £100
- 17cm ‘Santoku’ knife – £150
- 21cm ‘Gyuto’ Chef’s knife – £170
There is no doubting that TOG Knives is a labour of love for Rob Beagley-Brown. He’s researched, developed & created over a period of time, a fantastic product. However, as I’ve said earlier, the price is a sticking point which may limit those who wish to elevate their tools to new highs. I’m sure that those that experience using TOG knives will extol their virtues, in fact some starred chefs have on the testimonial page, including:
- Phil Howard – 2Michelin stars “I’m not a knife geek but I do truly love a great knife. My TOG is one such piece of crucial kit.”
- Anthony Demetre – 1Michelin star “My new favourite knives – Fantastic, beautifully crafted, a joy to work with.”
My verdict: Recommended.
You can find TOG Knives, using the following details:
TOG Knives Ltd.,
Glenside, Oxleaze Lane,
Bristol, BS41 8LA, U.K.
Website: TOG Knives