Unless you are a knife expert or military historian, you may not have come across the Kukri knife. The Kukri, variously spelled ‘Khukri’ or ‘Kukkri’, is the traditional knife of Nepal and is used there both as a tool and as a weapon. The Nepalese Gurkha regiments that are part of the British Army use the Kukri as their signature weapon.
Walk into King of Knives Carindale and you will see a small selection of genuine Nepalese Kukri knives on display in the cabinets. They are apparently now very popular as gifts, costing around $200, although we doubt they get too much use in kitchens.
Maureen Hamill is the owner and manager of the King of Knives outlet in the Westfield shopping centre in Carindale, south of Brisbane. She has worked at King of Knives both in Queensland and Victoria for seven years, after a previous career in retail bakery, and took over the Carindale store as a franchisee in November last year.
“Most of our customers are home users,” says Maureen “but we do get our fair share of chefs and hotel staff coming in. We’re pretty much the only King of Knives south of the Brisbane River until you get down to Robina on the Gold Coast, so people do travel to get to us.”
People coming in generally fall into three categories – they are either coming in because they have blunt knives and want to replace them (or at least see what their options are), or they are looking to buy a new knife or knives for themselves, or they are buying a gift for someone else. Customers with blunt knives do have the option of getting their knives sharpened by King of Knives, which costs $80 for a full set. As Maureen points out, a Nirey electric sharpener costing $170 (Nirey KE198 model) pays for itself after two sharpens, and she sells a lot of sharpeners this way (and it’s their most popular sharpener, of course!).
The outlet stocks and sells a wide range of kitchen appliances and knives, everything from their biggest seller, a $10 kitchen/steak knife, up to their top of the range professional grade knives which can cost up to $340. Maureen stocks almost all of the Total Knife Care range – the Nirey sharpeners and the I.O.Shen and Bolt Action knives.
“I.O.Shen are good looking knives, and are made of good steel, plus have a great handle – the 21cm and the 24cm are the most popular models here.” Maureen explains. “The Bolt Action knives are also a good choice for someone looking for a smaller knife for hunting/shooting/fishing – they are nice and compact and the Damascus steel is a standout.”
Much like some of our other stockists (see Brulee torches, pasta machines… and knife sharpeners) Maureen has noticed a few recent trends – all of the cooking shows are driving people into the shop to find whatever equipment or gadget they saw on the TV, plus she’s noticing more and more men getting into cooking and coming in to buy professional grade equipment for their new hobby. And of course the Kukris. At least now you know where to go if you need one.