View Full Version : Bad Honing Technique

mr drinky
03-11-2011, 01:10 AM
So I scheduled a series recording of No Reservations on my DVR, and I am intrigued that as Bourdain travels around the world, whenever they show someone honing a knife, they are using really bad technique. It is essentially that same Gordon Ramsey style in this video -- gone global.


So when did good technique emerge? Or even better. When did bad technique become so common?

For me, it is difficult to criticize Ramsey when you see cooks from around the globe also honing a knife poorly. There has to be some reason this honing style is so common.

Why doesn't everyone have Dave's leather bench hone set-up? The world is crazy ;).


Citizen Snips
03-11-2011, 01:26 AM
its not difficult to criticize someone for doing something wrong just because lots of people do it.

drugs are wrong but just because lots of people do it doesn't mean you cannot criticize it.

i know its a poor example but i feel like someone with his talent should at least learn how to CORRECTLY take care of his equipment.

Eamon Burke
03-11-2011, 01:31 AM
I was raised to do something similar to that. I learned better the hard way, by damaging edges for weeks on end and staring at the chips like a half-brained steer.

I don't think good technique has ever really happened. I foresee it happening in about 10 years, unless the U.S. economy experiences a strong recovery. Then disposable, careless, wasteful mindsets will rule again. That is where knife skills went--into the freezer with dinner. The frozen dinner freed every housewife, and the everyman got his boss to supply cases of cheap box cutters and "food-service knives". That way we can get things done, move on, and get to the part where there's drinking and jet skis and football.

I recently read a short story from the depression about a traveling scam artist/handyman. His tools were criticized by the author for being covered in grease and dirty, and he goes on at length about how he can sharpen scissors correctly, while other characters are shown to have proficiency in sharpening their own blades. It was an interesting perspective.


In short, the rampant ignorance is caused by financial excess over 3 generations.

mr drinky
03-11-2011, 01:42 AM
Sure, with that example it is hard to disagree. And I agree with you that Gordon Ramsey should definitely know better, but I guess when I see an elderly man in South America who doesn't get the Food Network or YouTube videos doing it improperly, I start to wonder how the whole bad honing technique started off. Poking fun at Ramsey is fun (that's fine), but criticizing an elderly street vendor isn't that cool.


03-11-2011, 03:39 PM
I used to use the honing technique shown by ramsey because I saw butchers and folks about to carve a Thanksgiving turkey doing it. After awhile I figured out that doing it too vigerously would do more harm than good and found it better using little pressure with just enough strokes to realign the blade. I think honing with rod …correctly is necessary with softer steel blades, but prefer to strop harder steel blades.

03-11-2011, 05:26 PM
Improper honing technique probably goes back in time as far as the invention of the steel, chefs have been probably showing each other the Ramsay style of honing since before long before Escoffier, or TV, or computers. I bet anyone who was given a steel, was shown this method of using it as the only way of using it. I don't think they even realized there was any other way of using a steel.