Melbourne-based knife company develops sharpener for pros, home cooks


Within the time earlier than coronavirus, Phil McMahon was busy juggling fairly a couple of knives, provided that his Melbourne-based firm, Rhineland Cutlery, had workplaces in Canada, England and Dubai, and an enormous workforce of distributors. In Rhineland’s first 12 months, the corporate amassed greater than $2 million in gross sales.

Rhineland’s knives, which vary in value from a couple of for a single knife to greater than a thousand for a presentation assortment, have been flying by way of direct gross sales at annual commerce occasions corresponding to meals and wine festivals. Though McMahon and accomplice David Ring opened Rhineland in 2012, their firm had already grow to be a well-recognized identify within the hospitality trade, due to its energetic participation in occasions such because the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Affiliation Present and the Nationwide Restaurant Present in Chicago.

All was proper with Rhineland’s world and its philosophy that knives can and ought to be each utilitarian and good-looking. Whereas the knife gross sales have been taking off, Phil used his time and sources to give attention to fixing a standard drawback he discovered amongst many within the meals service Business: uninteresting knives. Who higher to disrupt the knife sharpening trade than a 20-year veteran knife designer? 

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After greater than a 12 months of researching, designing and prototyping, COVID occurred. Whereas a complete world was grappling with a attainable financial collapse, McMahon was getting ready to launch a brand new product. Whereas, on the floor, this may occasionally not seem to be optimum timing, the fact is extra nuanced. With social distancing shortly turning into the brand new regular, direct gross sales have been turning into rather more of a problem; the enterprise mannequin needed to pivot towards web and retail gross sales. 

Advertising is in McMahon’s blood, and after reaching out to all of the trade contacts accrued through the years, there was no query the market was nonetheless ripe for this modern new product.

Skilled cooks usually regard their knives as beloved members of their household. Once they depart a job, their knives go along with them, as a result of they know that solely with the proper tools can they work their gastronomic magic.

The necessity to maintain knives effectively maintained is a truth of life. Knives is not going to stay sharp by themselves, and a uninteresting knife doesn’t reduce it for anybody who cooks for a residing, or simply who enjoys mixing substances within the kitchen. 

“Over time, the blades of all knives will curve and develop burrs, affecting the sharpness,” stated McMahon. 

A pointy knife is a crucial want within the meals service trade, and eating places pay large bucks to maintain sharp knives within the kitchen.

“They are going to use sharpening companies that are available each month to exchange the uninteresting knives with sharp ones,” stated McMahon.

“These companies cost about $200 a month. Restaurant homeowners hate the worth, but it surely’s a necessity for them.”

It’s possible you’ll marvel why restaurateurs simply don’t get a knife sharpener and be accomplished with it. The issue is that knife sharpeners are set at a set angle and never all knives are created equal. Whether or not they’re top-of-the-line chef’s knives or these greenback retailer affairs, knives have completely different levels of blade angles. Blades can range from 13 to 21 levels. Sharpening knives with fixed-angle sharpeners is usually a ineffective train. 

“Folks haven’t any method of realizing what angle their blades are, and few individuals actually know how one can correctly sharpen a knife,” stated McMahon.

The Rhineland Angle Professional Sharpener can treatment that state of affairs, because the product encompasses a gauge that reveals the angle of every knife. Tungsten carbide rods and a set of diamond-coated wheels present various levels of angle to sharpen and re-edge all kinds of knives. Moreover sharpening, the AnglePro may even hone your blade; it’s three tools in a single.

“Your knife will grow to be new once more,” stated McMahon, who’s taking pre-orders for the patent-pending product. With 1000’s of models presently within the manufacturing course of, the corporate is planning to launch a Kickstarter Marketing campaign on Sept. 1 to boost cash to ramp up manufacturing. 

Though McMahon initially aimed the sharpener on the restaurant trade, he quickly realized dwelling cooks would additionally need in on the deal.

“It’s additionally good for dwelling use,” he stated. 

Chef James McGuinness, dean of Keiser College’s Melbourne Middle for Culinary Arts, was one of many panel of testers who fell in love with the Angle Professional Sharpener.

“It lets me do all of it, grind, sharpen and (put) true edges on my knives,” stated McGuinness.

 “It’s straightforward, environment friendly and foolproof.”

The Rhineland Angle Professional knife sharpener is $199, however presently is on sale for $99. For extra data, go to angleprosharpener.com or name 321-725-2101 or 561-373-1925. For extra on Rhineland Cutlery’s knives, go to rhinelandcutlery.com.

In case your kitchen knife assortment can use some upgrading, McMahon additionally has you coated at RhinelandCutlery.com. Rhineland knives are additionally out there by way of Amazon. The corporate affords free engraving on their presentation units, so maintain that in thoughts for presents.

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