KIKUSUMI FOUNDER DEL COOK
Del Cook has been a prominent figure on the global food scene since becoming a chef in 1993. He has extensive experience working in both urban and rural cooking environments across the world inlcuding Montreal, New York, HongKong, Osaka and Tokyo. In 2002 he embarked on an eleven year project in rural Japan near Kyoto where his reputation for championing local farmers and artisans grew. The Nosé Project took place in a traditional farming village and began as a French food restaurant perched on a mountainside full of chestnut, persimmon and fig trees. The glorious view from the dining room window was like a landscape painting, offering pristine views of heritage rice fields and ancient mountains that changed along with the seasons. Adjacent to the restaurant was a small pottery studio within which porcelain ceramic works were crafted exclusively for the restaurant by artisan Chieko Ueno. Gourmands from all across Japan were drawn to the terroir focused food served in one of a kind pottery. As each year passed the food became less ‘French’ and more ‘local’ with almost all of the ingredients, artwork and craft sourced from within the village itself. Del was regularly featured in magazines and television shows across the country in recognition for both the exceptional qualities of the food and his leadership in championing the local farmers and craftsman to a national. The restaurant’s signature dish was Tajima beef grilled slowly over Kikusumi (oak charcoal) with Nakanishi farm kiku-imo (sunchokes) and shitake grown in a mountain forest 540m above the valley. Every ingredient was grown locally by traditional farmers, most with a family history extending back to the Pre Edo period of Japan. This dish was the realization of a decade long collaboration between farmers, artisans and a chef – each with a different history – but bound by a common desire to harness the forces of nature and create better food.
Since arriving in Japan Del has spent time in the very best kitchens working alongside Japanese chefs just as he worked together with French chefs in Montreal & Toronto. Through this process he has developed an extensive understanding of the best kitchen tools needed to craft high quality food for both Western and Japanese cooking. By the late 2000’s, Del began writing about his food experiences in detail with the goal of seeking a broader understanding of the best way to cook food that is both highly flavorful and healthy. A lengthy study of the history of cooking methods and tools across the globe combined with extensive conversations with chefs and craftsmen from various cultures eventually lead to a series of sketches for kitchen knives and tools. By combining the traditional craftsmanship of the past with newly emerging technologies of the future, a vision that would create a blueprint for an exciting new venture was born.
In 2014 Del began building the foundations of a new brand to represent his vision and called it Kikusumi. Kikusumi would represent both the past and future of cooking with a series of fine crafted knives and kitchen tools designed for cooks with passion. The knives would begin with the fulfillment of a promise to his customers to make an easy to maintain series for the home cook. This would be followed by a series of limited edition and hand-forged knives for the professional or connoisseur of high quality knives. Each product design is a result of a lengthy process born initially from the passions that inspire us to cook in the first place. Once sketched the designs are modeled, prototyped and tested extensively before entering production. Del Cook works exclusively with handpicked artisans and select, top tier manufacturers. Kikusumi brand was launched in 2016 with the Black Ceramic Collection of knives. Future products include ceramic graters, hinoki cutting boards with urushi details, peelers and hand-forged knives. A second line of electronic cooking devices is also in the the works.
Cook with Passion.