By Jo Phillips

When we hear the word knife in this day and age it is sadly often connected with the loss of life. Yet the humble knife is essential in almost every household and although they are used daily, most people don’t know a lot about them or how to use them correctly.

This month, the new book Knife by Tim Hayward came out and it explores everything about the culture, craft and cult of the cook’s knife.

The famous chef Anthony Bourdain says that “the story of cooking begins with the knife. And just as the history of food and what we eat is a deep and fascinating one, so is the subject of the seemingly simple instruments we use to prepare it. Knife is both essential and informative, useful information and sheer blade porn. You will want these objects once you see them. There is no going back. Tim Hayward explores the world of knives with enthusiasm and authority”.


Tim Hayward’s newest book tells the story of the kitchen knife from its manufacture and history to the use in today’s times. It doesn’t matter if you are a chef, a hobbyist or just a food enthusiast, the book will take you on a journey across the world and through time from everyday utensils to visually stunning art objects. It features profiles of 40 knives including Western, Chinese, and Japanese knives as well as knives with special purposes such as oyster knives, electric carving and mandolines. The origin of every knife is explained and there are also photographs of each of them. Additionally, the book also explains the essential strokes to master, the 10 rules of carving, how to sharpen and what to do when cut. There are also interviews with several chefs, collectors and knife makers.

The author of the book, Tim Hayward, is a writer, broadcaster, restaurateur and food geek. He writes columns and restaurant critics for the Financial Times and he is also featured in The Guardian, Observer Food Monthly, Delicious, Olive, Waitrose Food Illustrated and Saveur among others. Furthermore, he is a regular presenter on The Food Programme and a panellist on The Kitchen Cabinet on BBC Radio 4. His first book was published in 2013 and is called “Food DIY” and it is a handbook of smoking, curing, preserving, baking and other manly pursuits. He published his second book “The DIY Cook” in 2016 which takes a deconstructive and nerdy approach to culinary classics.

c-mike-sim ©Mike Sim

The chef Tom Kerridge calls Knife “possibly the coolest book I have ever seen. Glorious in content, geeky in text and engaging in photography”. British author Len Deighton says that “Tim Hayward is the most serious cookery writer I know. Whatever he says, I will listen. Whatever he writes, I will buy”.

For more information on the book, visit Quadrille Publishing here.

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