A Cut Above
One Steakhouse, 250 Knives – How BOURBON STEAK’s Chef Picks his Weapons of Choice
When it comes to finding that perfect gift for any cooking enthusiast, there’s no better expert to consult than a professional chef. And if you ask Joe Palma—the razor-sharp executive chef of BOURBON STEAK at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC– he’ll keep it to the point about his essential kitchen tool: knives.
To keep its edge as the city’s most comprehensive steakhouse with over 22 cuts, BOURBON STEAK maintains an arsenal of over 250 knives of varying types, sizes and blade-degree for any given butchery need. Unroll chef Palma’s knife kit and you’ll see he has a much more minimalist approach to curating his collection. For him, it’s not about brand loyalty, but selecting each tool for its functionality and purpose…
With a strong focus on grass-fed, heritage cuts, the kitchen follows the sustainable practice of whole-animal utilization. For the break down process, Palma reaches for his Misono-brand Honesuki boning knife. Made in Japan, this differs from its Western variant with its short, pointy blade. Its unique shape coupled with its sturdy grip and rigidness makes it a choice instrument for deboning larger cuts such as lambs, pig and sheep.
For flank steaks and certain fishes, he uses a traditional Chef’s Knife in order to achieve a leaner slice. For the most delicate cuts, such as Sashimi and Tuna, he opts for a Tamahagane, which is made with ancient methods and extremely high-quality steel in Niigata, Japan. For carving, he favors his Granton-edge Knife for its semi-circular scallops, which create a series of fine air pockets between the blade and the cut, allowing for swifter movement.
Palma makes a point of never sacrificing accuracy for efficiency. While he appreciates the cleaver for its high-volume benefits, he says it has no place in his kitchen. For him, the quality of the cut deserves a knife of the same caliber. From the forging of the metal to the feel of the handle and the curve of the blade, Palma proves that he and his knives are anything but dull.
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC | 202.944.2026 | bourbonsteakdc.com