nives. Any way you slice it; you are going to use them. Imagine donating your entire block of half sharpened, thirty-year-old knives and purchasing one all encompassing knife. One incredible, precision sharp, state-of-the-art, knife. Chef Noah Cowan has created just that. Clean. Modern. Cutting edge.
I met with Noah and the Aura Knifeworks team to discuss the concept and construction behind this masterpiece and he was as warm and friendly as his knives are sharp and edgy.
He told me about his background, how he conceptualized the knife in 2011 while enrolled in culinary school and working in multiple restaurants. Out of frustration came creation. Noah was tired of working with boring, dull knives and took it upon himself to create what he, and many others, consider the Ferrari of chef knives. From a hobby in his parents backyard to their current operational headquarters in Signal Hill, California, Aura Knifeworks has built a product used by a number of the top chefs in the country including Jamie Oliver, Jason Quinn, Juan Amador, Noah Blom, Paul Buchanan and Matty Matheson. Presently the product sells itself through word of mouth, social media, and customers seeing celebrity chefs making it one of their go-to knives.
Q&A With Noah Cowan
Q : How is the knife blade formed and what it is made of?
Noah Cowan: There are thirty steps used in the production of each blade. Aura stainless steel is mixed with minuscule ceramic pieces to ensure the sharpness is superior to its competitors. Being submerged in a liquid nitrogen bath for three days at a temperature of negative 320 degrees F further hardens the steel blades. A proprietary satin finish completes the blade in order to reduce optical glare in the kitchen from overhead lighting.
Q : Tell me about the balance point of the knife.
NC: The 9.5” stainless steel blade is on a rocker, so it cuts straight or at an angle, and it has a 14-degree double beveled edge. Chefs push the blade forward and it rocks back. It is a balance of many knives combined into one knife, versatile and efficient and covers all bases needed in both the professional and home kitchen. They were built for professional chefs but home chefs will definitely want to use them as well.
Q : Let’s talk handles — wow!
NC: The handles are made from two different woods, both from California. The entire 14.6” knife is made in the USA. The signature handles come in two colors: A California Buckeye burl, which starts out white and turns into a bluish color. It comes straight from the forest without dye or stain. The other option is a California Redwood burl. Both handles are created in the redwood forests and are mixed with black onyx or white turquoise gemstones and molded into a one size fits all, three-dimensional sculptured handle. All knives have hand inlaid mosaic brass pins, and brass and copper bolsters, with an Aura steel blade that runs the length of the knife.
Q : What is the projected lifespan of the knife?
NC: With proper care and maintenance, this is a lifetime knife and comes with a warranty to guarantee customer satisfaction. Each purchased knife can be sent to the company should it ever need a complimentary tune up. The cost per use of the knife pays for itself, as it is quite possibly the only knife one would ever need.
Q : Finally Chef, how did you come up with the name Aura Knives?
NC: Aura is an extension of the self, and so is the knife. For every knife we sell, we plant a small redwood tree in the forest. The world could be more sustainable and so we do what we can. We know we take materials from the earth, so we always like to give back.
With that, I was sold. Interested in one stop chopping? You can find your knife online at www.aurachef.com or at Plaza Cutlery in South Coast Plaza or The Knife Gallery in Orange. Your purchase comes with a lifetime guarantee from a company who strives to give the best product and customer service to their consumers while continuing to give back to Mother Earth. That’s what I call high quality and pure integrity.
“Aura is an extension of the self, and so is the knife.” — Noah Cowan