Women-owned kitchen cutlery brand Messenmeister, a word composed of the German words for “knife” and “master”) has found a new way to give back. The Ojai-based company recently launched a new initiative called “Forge: Shaping the World into a Better Place” in which they will work with acclaimed culinary personalities April Bloomfield, Edward Lee and Claudette Zepeda; the three culinary master chefs have been named the first three Master Ambassadors for the program.
“Giving back has always been an important part of who we are as a company,” said Kirsten Dressler Wilson, Vice President of Messermeister. “We were already working with organizations such as World Central Kitchen, but wanted to create a partnership in which we could create unique new knives in partnership with some of our favorite chefs, while at the same time being truly purposeful to make an even greater impact.”
Through the Forge program, Messenmeister will work with one Master Ambassador per year to create their unique dream knife and 20% of the profits will go to the non-profit of the chef’s choice. The teams will work with artisans in Germany, Italy and Japan to design the perfect knife which will then be sold directly on Messenmeister’s website.
THE MASTER AMBASSADORS
April Bloomfield, James Beard Award-winning chef, looks forward to supporting her charity of choice, GreenWave, through her creativity and expertise. “GreenWave replicates and scales regenerative ocean farms to create jobs and protect the planet” by training and supporting regenerative ocean farmers in the era of climate change. Bloomfield’s knife will be crafted by artisans in Italy.
Edward Lee, another James Beard Award winner, is a culinary author who you may recognize from his frequent appearances on shows like “Top Chef,” “Iron Chef” and “MasterChef.” He owns restaurants in both Louisville and Washington, DC that tell the story of his Korean identity plus Southern culinary roots, which he hopes to continue telling through his knife design. Proceeds from his knife will give back to his non-profit, The LEE Initiative which aims to bring diversity, equality, sustainability and compassion to the restaurant industry.
“Knives are so personal,” says Lee. “A good knife is both practical and functional, not just beautiful. But the best knives also tell a story. I am excited to be working with Messermeister to do just that, while at the same time giving back to a cause that’s essential to me.”
Lee’s knife will be crafted by artisans in Japan.
Claudette Zepeda is a San Diego-based culinary entrepreneur best known for her fearless style and the bold approach she brings to Mexican cuisine. She looks forward to bringing a female perspective to the project while supporting No Us Without You, a non-profit that helps provide food security for undocumented restaurant workers and their families.
“Femininity has been missing in the knife world,” she explains. “I was brought up in Mexico seeing the women in my country who were feeding their entire family and selling food at the mercados using these rudimentary bulky metal knives. Working with Messermeister gives me an opportunity to create a knife that can truly be a woman’s knife.”
Zepeda’s knife will be crafted by artisans in Italy.
The first Forge product is expected to launch soon.