I am not a professional chef, nor do I wish to be one. Even the idea of having my culinary creations judged by a teacher according to a standardized grading system fills me with dread. It’s not that I think my cooking technique is inadequate or that my foods are not tasty enough; it’s simply that I no longer wish to subject myself to the student-teacher disciplinary dynamic any longer. I can learn new things from cookbooks and the Internet, and I can refine my skills through the time tested method of trial and error. For all the rest, the professionals can provide me with new dishes and complicated preparations when desired.
But when it comes to knives, I do tend to draw the line, especially when I am traveling and have access to a kitchen. Rented vacation homes, cabins in parks with eat-in facilities, and resorts where guests have access to a common dining room and shared commercial-grade kitchen. I really need good knives – my German made Wüsthof Trident Classic edition ones – in order to slice, chop, dice, and plate my meals. And ideally, I like to eat my grilled meats with my own set of Laguiole stainless steel, French made serrated steak knives. You just can’t enjoy quality foods – think grass fed ribeye steaks, cured king salmon, garden grown produce, sourdough rye bread – without the right equipment in the kitchen that cuts and carves them right.
The solution? A leather knife roll, of course. No, this Aaron Leather Goods professional grade model isn’t cheaply made (around $100), but that’s also the point. It’s made to last using really tough, well conditioned calf skin hide and excellent stitching with metal clasps and buckles and suede and fabric inserts that perfectly protect your prized knives and accessories. I am able to fit a full 10 piece Wüsthof knife set and 6 Laguiole steak knives inside, with room to spare for things like corkscrews, oyster knives, vegetable peelers, matches, and more. Candles, even, if you have the option of using them in your rental. What is more romantic than that?
The main reason I got this item was because my wife and I usually rent a cabin once a year in Napa Valley where we have access to a small kitchen and dining area, and we like to buy good wine directly from wineries and produce from a local farmers’ market (the Saint Helena one is our favorite). We make amazing meals at a fraction of what you’d pay if you actually had to eat out in Napa Valley, and the money we save we invest in bottles of wine.
We also visit a Mendocino hot springs resort in the middle of nowhere where the only food option is to prepare it yourself using a fully stocked kitchen – with a 12 burner gas stove, several commercial refrigerators, an outdoor propane grill, and full set of dishes and cooking pots, including Lodge cast iron skillets. But the knives are not professional quality and tend to be less than razor sharp, and I don’t want to lug an electric sharpener with me or deal with inferior blades. So, I bring my own. You can wrap knives in cotton towels or brown bags, but that doesn’t really protect the knives – or your fingers – from the blades and tips especially. Only a leather knife roll can perform this task properly.
The truth is that this Aaron Leather Goods knife roll is a bit of overkill for an amateur chef, but I’d rather invest in something high quality than make do with a cheaper alternative. A gift card from my family helped reduce the cost, but in the end, it’s money well spent if you plan on bringing your own knives with you at least a few times annually on vacation or for longer stays. It looks good, too! I would give it a 10/10 for quality and look forward to adding more Aaron Leather Goods items to my household in the future.