Tools of the Trade

For This Steakhouse Chef, Three Knives Are All It Takes

Home : Eats By Photo by Nicole Franzen

As executive chef of Quality Branded Group, Craig Koketsu is rethinking the role of the steakhouse in the 21st century. After beginning his career as a private events chef in California, Koketsu traded coasts and dove into the New York restaurant scene. His first restaurant, Quality Meats, opened in 2006, followed soon after by seasonal concept eatery Park Avenue and Quality Italian, all of which focus on classic American dishes with a modern twist. In overseeing the kitchens of seven popular restaurants, working with steaks, salads, and everything in between, Chef Koketsu has learned that less is more. “I don’t like to carry too many knives. I’m able to do 99 percent of my work with just three,” he said. Proof that quality trumps quantity.

Nenox 24cm G-Type Gyutou

“My main workhorse knife. I use it for everything from vegetables to meat and fish. It’s well balanced, nicely weighted and holds a good edge.”

Victorinox 3.25-Inch Paring Knife

“It’s really light and easy to hold, which makes it perfect for tournéeing potatoes. And it’s under ten dollars, so it’s not the end of the world if you lose it.”

MAC 10.5-Inch Bread Knife

“Dangerously sharp. It doesn’t tear things up like most serrated knives. Works really well for making paper-thin tomato slices, and it’s not too shabby on a crusty filone, either.”