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p1040498This is a REALLY GOOD address, either for those of you who live around the Riviera or those traveling with a swiss knife.  We found a real knife sharpener, in the pretty village of La Turbie, just above Monaco.  Michaël, the owner of Belloubustou, is a true artisan, who speaks with real passion about his craft. This handsome young man has run his shop for 8 years, after an intensive one year training with a family friend who wanted to retire and to transmit his skills of four generations.

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He works for a lot of “top chefs” from Monaco and across the Riviera, as well as for a lot of cooking students, butchers and just regular clients like you and me. He says that the previous generations used to know that knives are not supposed to be disposable goods you throw in the rubbish when it doesn’t cut so well anymore. They are precious, and more and more young people are back to the value of things, and want to treat well their knives, to keep them as long as possible. He says that with a little love, a good knife could last 20 years. It’s worth the trip to his little shop, no?p1040508For regular cooking knives, it will coast you around 10 euros for 3 pieces, and of course the prices change depending on the size and the amount of work and time it needs. For personal use, once a year is enough.

Sharpening is a 3 stage process, first the knives often need to be reshaped as they go blunt from bad attempts at sharpening (inappropriate stone or metal sharpening). Second, the sharpening itself with a special grindstone. Every professional sharpener is very secretive about his own specific grindstone, that’s his trademark, and Michaël told me this element is what makes all the difference. Third, polish time with a buff wheel to erase the scratches and obtain a “razor cut”.

In his tiny workshop, you will find all sorts of curious knives, swords, and gardening tools, waiting for their makeover. You’d better call before passing by, as in the morning Michaël sometimes makes house calls at his regular clients. Usually it’s a 24 hour process, so it’s really quick, and you won’t miss your kitchen tools very long.  Home delivery is also possible.

Belloubustou  (strong boy) is the nickname Michaël’s grandma gave him as a little boy. In his first life, he was working in the telecommunication field, and was not fulfilled by it at all. Now, he works without gloves, cause he says that like a surgeon, he needs to feel the material! He became friend with one of Monaco’s best japanese chefs, who was amazed by his work, which it’s a great compliment considering the sophistication of japanese traditional sharpening, with stones and water.

img_4131He also carries a line of professional cooking knives from Thiers, the french city famous all around the world for traditional quality knives. The range goes from little kitchen knives (5 euros) to a Tuna giant dedicated knife (80 euros).

And don’t forget that a dull knife is a real danger, since you have to force it to make it cut, that’s when it slides most of the time, so best to get sharp!

Belloubustou “Aiguisage et coutellerie”. 13, place Theodore de Banville, 06320 La Turbie. Tel: 06 62 66 30 79.