I Tried Ina Garten’s Favorite Knife Sharpener — And It’s a Total Game-Changer

published Jan 14, 2022
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Credit: Leela Cyd

Time for an embarrassing admission: I almost flunked out of culinary school due to poor knife skills. Seriously. I even had to go in for extra tutoring around the art of chopping, slicing, and, um, generally handling a knife. So it likely won’t surprise you to learn that I also never really got the hang of the whole “sharpening” thing. Fast-forward more than a decade later, and my chef’s knives are all shockingly dull. 

Unfortunately, I also cook with a lot of butternut squash and other winter veg, which are notoriously challenging to chop through. Folks, the times and the veggies are tough in my kitchen. I’ve admitted to myself that I’ll never feel comfortable with a whetstone or steel, but my knives needed help. Thankfully, I knew just where to turn. After asking myself WWID (What would Ina do?), I ordered the electric knife sharpener that she lists as one of her all-time favorites.

At first, I was intimidated by the Chef’s Choice Flexhone/Strop Pro Knife Sharpener. I don’t even know what a third of those words mean! But not only does it come highly recommended, but it also sounds legit. See, it works with straight-edge and serrated blades and has a two-stage sharpening process. The first stage uses 100% diamond abrasives to sharpen. The second stage handles the stropping and polishing. (Turns out, stropping is part of the polishing process; it helps remove inconsistencies and is usually done with a leather strap.)

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

After unboxing the electric sharpener, I realized it couldn’t be easier to use. It’s small — about the size of two mini ciabatta rolls — and very simply designed. After reading the instruction manual, I was ready to sharpen.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

Every knife in my kitchen was good as new in less than five minutes. I’m not exaggerating! The brilliance of an electric sharpener is how efficient it is; it only takes a handful of runs through the grinder. I was particularly pleased with how easy it is to get the right angle. When I tried to use manual sharpeners, I could never quite nail that part. But this takes all the guesswork out of the process, helping me feel confident as I run the blades through the machine. This thing is so incredibly easy to use. And guess what else? It’s fun to use too. Pull the blades through the mechanisms and let the machine do all the hard/complicated work. That’s it.

Are there any downsides to this electric knife sharpener? I don’t think so. It’s small enough to tuck into just about any drawer, and it’s not nearly as dangerous or scary as I was anticipating. Best of all, it’s cut down (hehe) on my prep time: I can now chop and slice veggies much faster, thanks to my brilliantly sharp knives. In short: I wish I’d taken the plunge and gotten this efficient knife sharpener much sooner. As Ina would say, “How easy is that?”

How do you sharpen your knives? Share your methods with us in the comments below.