The sculptural new cutlery collection from jeweler Stephen Webster cuts a fine figure. This special set of chef’s knives was inspired by Webster’s recent Beasts of London collection and a commission by a Scottish client for a sgian-dubh (a traditional Highland dress knife) with a carved handle in the shape of a ram’s skull over a Damascus blade. The bronze handles of the Beasts Knives ($30,000 for the set) depict a few of the creatures we eat.
The six knife hafts are a rooster, bull, ram, boar, salmon, and courgette—or zucchini, for the vegetable paring knife. Webster worked with London chef Mark Hix to test each blade on its culinary quarry, then engaged a forge in south London specializing in the Japanese Damascus technique, which yields a wavelike pattern.
“Last year I was commissioned to make the most rock and roll sgian-dubh for a wealthy Scottish client,” Webster says. “I wanted to use the Japanese Damascus technique to make the blade. I am fascinated by the labor-intensive way that this beautiful effect is achieved in samurai swords. I designed the handle as a rams skull, I embellished the whole sheath and handle with black diamonds and stingray skin a traditional material again used in samurai sword handles. I called the piece ‘The Scottish Beast,’ referencing the queen’s beasts, which represent the countries of Great Britain. The piece was so unique and special, and it dawned on me to use a similar theme to create the most extraordinary chef’s knives. The Beast Knives are something I am very excited about, because they are true to our brand DNA but take us to a place we are not familiar with — the kitchen.”
Webster has also created a Cock & Bull carving knife and fork ($7,500) to complete the collection. The set is available by commission through Stephen Webster stores and Harrods.