Just when I thought my trusty little Wusthof Culinar paring knife would be fucked up for a little while - at least until the weekend when I could take it to my sharpening stone - a strange man darkened my doorway. I was working away on my mise en place and I noticed my co-workers here and there approaching this stranger. One by one they handed over to him their knives - their very own knives! He seemed to consult them - console them - and take each knife in like some orphan charge. He wrapped each one in a bit of cloth - like a foundling - and tucked it into a big metal toolbox. And then I realised that the Knife Man was here. Every once in a while in the top kitchens in France, a skilled Knife Man comes around. You hand over your knives - your very own knives! And he heals them. He takes them away for a day or two - does what he needs to do to them - and then returns them to you. Quite honestly I've always been a little leery of anyone else sharpening my knives - except my mom who's had her own wetstone for as long as I can remember. I thought about it for a second - but then saw Christian - one of the other Itinerant Chefs/chef de parties in my kitchen who also worked at Ducasse - turn his knife over to the Knife Man - his very own knife! I picked up my trusty little paring knife and approached the Knife Man. I showed him the tip. "Can you fix this?" He looked at the knife, then me, then nodded with an understanding and assuring smile. And then it was done. I'd done it. I'd turned over my knife - my very own knife! I have to admit that I worried about it a little all day. The knives were due back right before dinner service. As soon as the Knife Man came back, I swooped over to the pass and claimed mine - where he'd laid them all out - the bigger ones with a bit of cork protecting the tips. I can tell that it's different. It's a shade shorter - really just a hair - but slices effortlessly. I think my knife is still forgiving me - or maybe I haven't forgiven myself yet for letting it out of my sight. She's almost as good as new. But maybe better. Having been damaged - and survived. And now honed to a new gleaming edge.