"Have you ever tried to cut a sweet potato with a dull knife?" Brian Lee, general manager at Tosho Knife Arts asks. "Halfway through, you're like... I'm just gonna bake this thing whole."
Just the question alone brings back bad memories of nearly lost fingers, kitchen meltdowns and the boycotting of all future attempts at sweet potato fries. "Having a good set of knives really facilitates a more fun and interactive relationship with cooking at home because it makes things so much easier," says Lee.
Enter: Tosho Knife Arts. It started 11 years ago as the brainchild of cooks and business partners Olivia Go and Ivan Fonseca, who were surprised by the lack of knife sharpening services for food industry professionals in Toronto (at the time, Ivan was sharpening knives out of his apartment). After having several chefs drop off their knives for sharpening and ask where they could get even better blades, Tosho was officially born.
And they didn't just get better. When it comes to knives, Tosho sells the best: hand-forged Japanese steel. The amount of craftsmanship that goes into building these knives is extraordinary — it's a heavily involved process that often includes several skilled individuals creating each component of the knife, from handle makers to blacksmiths working by hand.
"Japanese craftspeople are more tolerant to this level of sacrifice in pursuit of their craft. It's very inspiring. And on the backs of their sacrifices, we're able to bring these special and different knives that balance performance and aesthetic to people," says Lee.
View on Instagram
The strive for perfection, down to every last slicer and switchblade, is what gives these knives their edge (literally), not to mention their price points. They're not inexpensive pieces, they're more like investments and with the proper care, they'll last forever.
Lee continues, "when first-time customers come in and try out the knives and see how well they cut, the joy on their faces and the realization of 'Oh, wow this is what I've been missing' — that fun aspect is really important because this is not something that you buy every day". With prices starting around $90, a Japanese knife from Tosho is definitely a luxury, but we'll take an expertly made, sharp, thin blade over a dull one any day.
From santoku (home-chef knives) to yanagiba (sashimi slicers) and full-on cleavers, Tosho has hand-forged steel that gets the job done. Sharpen your kitchen skills with knives that make butchering a breeze and less "sacre bleu!" If you're new to knives, shopping at Tosho is the opposite of a hack-job.
Let's be real, we only use the same two knives from our clunky counter-sulking knife block. If you're buying a knife from Tosho, it deserves to be put on display with one of their aesthetically pleasing magnetic holders. These boards ensure that your blades are both secured, accessible and, dare we say, enviable.
Fix up, look sharp
To misquote Top Chef, it's time to pack up your (dull) knives and go. Having an unsharpened blade isn't just annoying, it's also really dangerous. Tosho offers sharpening services that'll make your steel shine bright again and cut through squash like butter. Or, do it yourself with their whetstones and honing tools.