Michael Romano studied and flourished as a cook at the New York City Technical College, then became one of the first Americans in some of France’s most important restaurants. As the Executive Chef of Union Square Café, which he presently runs with partner Danny Meyer, Romano has helped the restaurant earn a glowing reputation; for the past seven years the New York City Zagat Survey has ranked it ‘Most Popular’.
What are the superior qualities of your Japanese knives?
Japanese knives are sharp, reliable and beautiful. With different shapes and characteristics for different tasks, Japanese knives are very clearly built for specific work. You can tell they are made for people who are deeply involved in their craft. They also demand more of the user. I bought my first traditional Japanese knives, an Aritsugu Kamagata Usuba, a Deba and a Yanagi at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo in 1982 and I quickly realized these were very different! The Usuba got stuck in cutting board a lot and I had to learn what the knife would and wouldn’t let me do.
I bought my first Misono in the late 1970’s when Japanese knives were still relatively unknown to most in the US. Now when I go into my kitchen it seems everyone has a Japanese knife! It’s amazing! You know the popularity of Japanese knives is a reality and not a fad when German makers start making a ‘Santoku’ knife. I noticed the lightness and quickness of the Misono blade right away; it started out sharper and took an edge faster than my other knives. I started with using Japanese knives there and never went back.