Louisville-based chef and James Beard Award-winning author Edward Lee, who routinely appears on Top Chef, Iron Chef and MasterChef, made an appearance at Saltie Girl in West Hollywood this week to introduce his limited edition Messermeister chef’s knife.

As part of the women-owned, Ojai-based maker of premium chef knives and culinary tools Forge initiative to “shape the world into a better place,” the signature knife reflects Lee’s style and passion for bourbon, with charred handles reclaimed from Kentucky-based Maker’s Mark Bourbon barrels with 53-layer Black Damascus steel, into a clean Asian Bunka design.

Edward Lee

Kirsten Dressler Wilson and Chelcea Crowley-Dressler with chef Edward Lee (Courtesy Messermeister)

People always ask me how to be a better cook,” the chef told an intimate crowd that included Kirsten Dressler Wilson and Chelcea Crowley-Dressler, the daughters of Bernd and Debra Dressler, the founders of Messermeister who fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and came to Los Angeles.

“It starts with what you have in your hand,” Lee said, whose new cookbook, Bourbon Land, was released last week. “The most important thing in your hand is your knife. For me, it’s an extension of my body. When I chop, it’s not a utensil but something that lives inside my hand. This one is light. Just because a knife is thick and heavy doesn’t mean it’s better. That can hurt your arm and wear you down. You’re more nimble with a lightweight knife.”

Only 750 knives were made as part of the special limited edition, which when sold out, will not be recreated. The knife retails for $499.95, with 20% of the proceeds going to The Lee Initiative, founded by the winner of the 2024 James Beard Humanitarian Award.

Edward Lee

Lunch at the Saltie Girl (Michele Stueven)

As far as knife no-nos go, Lee says don’t throw it in your knife drawer with everything else. Use a knife block — wooden or magnetic. Some even come with UV lighting to sanitize the knives. He keeps his in a leather sheath. Never put them in the dishwasher, which will dull the knife and change their shape.

“When I go out to dinner, I still like to dress up,” Lee said over a lunch of tinned fish delicacies, mussels meuniere, oysters and clams on the half shell. “It makes you feel more confident, your posture straightens up, and you feel more beautiful. It’s the same with cooking. You can buy a $50 knife that will do pretty much the same thing, but it won’t make you feel as ambitious to be a better cook. Everything is going to be just a little more precise. It’s that mindset that will make you a better cook, not just technique. Buy something you respect and it will keep forever.”

Check out the video demonstration here.















































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