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cutting edge

Knife skills are fundamental to a chef's education in the culinary arts. Cutting techniques define the experienced professional. Chefs today use a great variety of utensils to prepare food, yet modern slicing machines and food processors operate on principles similar to the older hand-powered tools of the trade.

Chefs, butchers, and grocers used the tools displayed here, all of which demonstrate the creativity of 19th-century entrepreneurs and inventors. The devices range from meat and vegetable slicers to presses that extruded sausages and extracted juices. And, although current practice doesn't prescribe meat juice as a nutritional supplement or a provision for travelers, the presses that prepared such "beef tea" offer a perspective on functional foods a century ago.

Pull out your own tool kit and sharpen your curiosity to extract new insights from these historic chef's tools.