Sharpen Your Skills And Knives With Prima Kailua’s Kevin Lee

Why pay to have your knives sharpened when you can do it yourself?

Any cook knows that, when it comes to your kitchen, one of the most important ingredient in a recipe is the knife. And while the price of a good one can be overwhelming ($300 for a Henckel, $1,800 for an Azai), the truth is, no matter how much you pay for a knife, it’ll be your best friend in the kitchen as long as you keep it sharp.

That’s why Kevin Lee (formerly the chef de cuisine of Prima Kailua, now working on Prima’s new hush-hush town-bound project) sees a need to educate the public on proper knife-sharpening technique.

“There are a lot of people from other restaurants who have come over to Prima to interview who either don’t have sharp knives or the proper skills to sharpen their own,” Lee says. “So I’m trying to educate young and upcoming professional cooks on how to properly sharpen knives, as well as home cooks interested in learning how to sharpen them.”

He’s scheduled two classes at CookSpace, in Ward Warehouse, on Thursday (and again on Saturday) that will teach 12 students in two hours the basics of sharpening western knives, or knives sharpened on both sides of the blade. After demonstrating the technique, he’ll let you try it with your own knives. He asks that you bring your own knives; the sharpening stones, shipped from Japan, are included in the class fee and given to each student to take home.

Why worry about how sharp your knives are? Besides the obvious reason—it’s easier to cut things—Lee says, “How you use a knife, how well you keep it, is a reflection of your personality. It’s a positive or negative reflection of how you work. Aside from that, with a sharp knife, you don’t need as much downward force, so it’s less pressure on the ingredient. It’s more respect for what you’re preparing.”

CookSpace classroom, 1050 Ala Moana Blvd. #2360, Thursday, March 20, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., or Saturday, March 22, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., $175. To register, visit