Gregg Kurtz has a ton of experience keeping things sharp – nearly 40 years worth. Visiting the Chef’s Edge booth at the Audubon Market, such immense experience might not be so apparent. But as a user of a dull knife knows: there’s more than meets the eye at first glance. For nearly 40 years, Kurtz has made his difference in millimeters. With stints as a custom knife maker, award-winning wood carver and the Alfond Inn’s go-to sharpening guy, Kurtz takes a closer look at his materials, making changes as crucial as they are miniscule.
The Chef’s Edge helmsman booth, welcoming shoppers into the market is often the most spartan with little to know clutter.
In a three-step process, sharpening all kinds of knives including serrated edges and food processor blades, Kurtz uses different machines moving from from one the next in a precise, measured manner – first establishing an angle of the blade, then refining the bevel, and finally polishing it to give it the razor’s edge for quick, accurate cutting. Upon returning the knife, customers are reminded to be careful, as they are now dealing with a much more effective blade where they might have been accustomed to hacking away at meats and vegetables, both raw and cooked.
Chef’s Edge also sharpens mezzalunas, or anything that will fit on Kurtz’ machines, including scissors and garden tools – but no ceramic knives.
“A good quality knife that is properly taken care of should last 6 months to a year, especially if you use the honing steel,” Kurtz says. “Having a sharp knife is important because it is safer to use by virtue of having more control.”
While Kurtz doesn’t have any formal culinary experience, a penchant for cooking runs in the family. With aspirations to become Central Florida’s premier sharpening service, his passion comes from providing people with the tools they need to make good food the right way. “One of the great rewards of what I do is to make people happy,” Gregg says. “You would be amazed how excited people get when they discover a professional knife sharpener. When they take one of my newly sharpened knives home, the first slice they make will put a smile on their face. A sharp knife is a joy to use.”