I grew up in the kitchen.
A Tuscan kitchen that is.
Since my young age I have been allowed (and left alone) at the stove, where I experimented with food and discovered a natural passion for feeding the people I care about. Our home in Fiesole, a small village perched on the hills north of Florence, has always been a farmer’s house: a big fireplace, a large bread oven and a collection of ginormous murder-like rusty knives do indeed represent my very first form of entertainment… even before I started pedaling on my off road bicycle.
The knives my mother allowed me to use, since I was about three years old, would send shivers down the spine of any modern parent: the blades were longer than my forearms, the wooden handles would sometimes splinter, and their weight was something to reckon with for a little child like me… interesting was to me how poorly they would cut. Those blades were so dull that anything I tried to slice with it sounded like a fistful of cornflakes; it was in fact more dangerous (and most probable) to drop a blade on my foot, than actually even cutting one of my tiny fingers.
Those knives are still with me, tucked into my cookbook library, acting as dividers between Meat and Vegetable literature… also readily available for self defense, you know, the way I have learned to keep a baseball bat by the front door while living in the US; I can imagine protecting myself and my family from an imaginary horror-movie-like intruder. Although I suspect the above mentioned fellow running scared not because of the fear of getting stabbed, but rather because of the possible multiple infections that these rusty blades could possibly deliver.
Oh how much has changed through the years.
I have in fact come to appreciate high quality knives, eventually.
They allow me to cook better, prepare faster, be more precise and I have to say… some of the tools I now carry in my roll, or keep on my kitchen counter, are true pieces of art. There is tradition and heritage in knife making, especially in this central area of Tuscany, and I am now home to embrace it to its fullest!
Many years ago, as I was getting ready to start shooting my very first TV show, I was lucky enough to find in Andrea Berti a true mentor (and sponsor) of all things sharp; it was him who gave me those absolutely beautiful red handled knives you have seen me using constantly for the past few years. They are not just gorgeous blades but also extremely well balanced, steady in the hand, and they still are looking like knew… after several thousand cuts.
I am home now, about a half hour from the town of Scarperia, where Andrea has his factory, a family business now grooming a fifth generation of knife makers, in the persons of his two children.
While packing my kitchen in Brooklyn, last summer, getting ready to relocate back home, I have lost (lost?!) a small pairing knife that completes my kitchen set… finally, a couple of weeks back, I decided to pay Andrea a visit and buy a replacement blade. We had not seen each other in a few years, but from the moment he greeted me by the front door of his building, we both felt like only a few days have passed… since our last discussion: “We should make knives together!”.
A wonderful idea indeed, just a bit complicated to make it happen from the other side of the pond. Indeed, I needed to be home to get this project started.
While his catalog would make you drool, we decided to shy away from anything that his company has produced so far, so to create together something original and absolutely unique. The intent was to design an ever evolving line of knives that will only live on my page, where every blade is numbered and limited, where every handle is different… each knife a piece. It had to be a representation of the historical heritage of Coltellerie Berti and an affirmation of my Rock ’n’ Roll-ness: they had to be Super Tuscan Knives!
Let me introduce you to my very first custom blade, a 9” chef’s knife mounted on a black and white lucite handle.
While the blade itself is their traditional chef’s work horse, we scouted Andrea’s storage containers in search of a material that would set my pieces apart from anything else you can find currently on the market.
Andrea had commissioned a few slabs of lucite about 20 years ago, and produced a few small pocket knives to celebrate his participation to the Milan international trade show. That material was until now forgotten on a shelf, covered in dust… I guess, just waiting for me to come home!
Two handles are available for this very limited run (60 each) of Super Tuscan Chef Knives: one traditional riveted and more elegant handle, and a solid one, a tad more masculine and aggressive, designed with a slightly larger had in mind. Both knives carry the same measure stainless steel blade (over 0.40% carbon).
In total and absolute respect of Berti’s tradition, each knife is built by a single Artisan. There is no assembly line at Andrea’s factory, and once a blade is laser cut to measure, one and only one specialist will be in charge of actually bringing a knife to its completion. At the end of that process, whatever the knife is, the Artisan will mark the blade with his initials! There are only two master knife makers at Andrea’s company!!!
We all would be incredibly honored if you decided to own one of our creations!!!
- These knives are a special order, and they will enter in production when and only if more than 50% of the offered quantity is sold. If the threshold for production is not reached (uh?!) your payment will be fully refunded.
- While we expect, based on the measurements of the piece of lucite we have chosen to work with, to be able to produce 60 riveted and 60 solid handles, it is always possible, due to the nature of the material we are working with, to insure in breakage or splintering during the cutting process. If your order does not get fulfilled because not enough material was available, you will be able to either ask for a refund, or transfer your payment toward our next design (of the same value).
- ABOUT SHIPPING. Each purchase will be shipped via DHL. We have arranged a fixed price with them for shipping and custom taxes regardless of your US zip code. The flat fee is 50$, as you will see if you get as far as adding a knife to your cart.