A History of Chef's Choice

"I am basically an inventor," says Daniel D. Friel, Sr., "I have tried to apply entrepreneurial and inventing talents to everything I have done. And I have always wanted whatever I create to be the very best of its kind."

Friel founded the EdgeCraft Corporation in 1984. How he built an enterprise, that in only a few short years has become the world leader in cutting edge technology, is a true American success story.

As he neared the end of his 40-year career with the DuPont Company, Friel inventoried his skills. Born in 1920, he had worked as a scientist, development engineer and manager of many diverse businesses. He had done research in a variety of areas including physics, chemistry, optics, electronics and even gravity. He garnered numerous patents for development of sophisticated instruments.

"I decided I wasn't going to play golf," Friel says, with a laugh, of his retirement. Instead, he began constructing a list of possible second careers and evaluating them in relation to his skills, limitations, required energy and time, potential for success and compatibility with his family interests.

Always enthralled by knife sharpening, Friel included in his list the invention of a truly effective electric knife sharpener that would work on a wide variety of knives, particularly, fine quality gourmet knives. He rescued a 20-year-old set of Gerber knives from a closet They were a present from his wife June, and to his great frustration, he had never been able to put a satisfactory edge on them.

With fierce determination and a personal deadline of three years to show himself adequate progress on the project, Friel set to work in a basement laboratory and then sought the assistance of other professionals. "They were the nucleus of the EdgeCraft team," recalls Friel. He created thirteen prototypes before he came up with one that satisfied him. Soon after its introduction, the Chef'sChoice® Diamond Hone® Sharpener earned the acclaim of food experts and chefs worldwide, including Pierre Franey, Jacques Pépin and the late Craig Claiborne.

Friel compares the day he left DuPont to follow his second career to the day he walked away from Johns Hopkins University after earning a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering."Unlike the day I left Johns Hopkins, when I left DuPont I could proceed with the knowledge and confidence gained from some 40 years of hands-on experience," Friel recalls. "I saw a need and I had the confidence that I could deliver."

The formation of the EdgeCraft Corporation in 1984 was followed shortly by the launch of the original knife sharpener, the Chef'sChoice® Model 100. Incorporating 100% diamond abrasives and precision guides to produce a unique and razor sharp edge, this revolutionary sharpener won immediate worldwide acclaim. Over the next several years EdgeCraft's line of sharpeners expanded rapidly and today this superb family includes electric knife and scissors sharpeners, manual sharpeners, diamond steels, diamond stones and sharpening rods. The Model 120 represents the company's newest sharpening breakthrough. Incorporating 100% diamond coated conical disks in stages 1 and 2 and a proprietary stropping/polishing stage 3, this advanced sharpener produces in seconds an edge of unprecedented sharpness on straight edge and serrated knives. Manufactured at the Avondale, Pennsylvania manufacturing facilities and sold in over 50 countries, Chef'sChoice® sharpeners continue to receive worldwide recognition for their quality and superior performance on kitchen knives, pocketknives, a variety of sports knives and scissors.

The introduction of the Chef'sChoice® Commercial Diamond Hone® M2000 knife sharpener in 1995 marked EdgeCraft's official debut into the commercial market. The Model 2000, specifically designed for restaurants, caterers and other commercial establishments is lightning fast, sharpening both straight edge and serrated knives in less than 60 seconds. This feature, along with the removable/replaceable-sharpening module, has made the M2000 a compelling alternative to old-fashioned sharpening services. Recently, EdgeCraft introduced the Model 325 commercial electric sharpener aimed at offering smaller commercial establishments with limited budgets similar sharpening benefits.

From that first electric sharpener introduced in 1985 to the revolutionary models now available, Chef'sChoice® offers consumers and professionals worldwide the most extensive line of 100% diamond abrasive sharpeners ranging from the economical Model 480 compact sharpener to the M2000 commercial sharpener.

In 1992, EdgeCraft introduced its own line of premium kitchen knives, Chef'sChoice® Trizor® Professional 10X® Cutlery that is fully forged and handcrafted in the United States. Employing a technologically advanced, higher-carbon stainless alloy and aerospace manufacturing technology, these knives feature edges that last up to ten times longer and are two-to-three times sharper than leading European and domestic brands. Chef'sChoice® recently broadened it's line of cutlery to include two professional quality cheese knives, the bell-shaped Campana for firm and semi-soft cheeses and the heart-shaped Coure for aged hard cheeses.

Responding to the need for high quality electric food slicers for the home, EdgeCraft introduced the first Chef'sChoice® Gourmet Electric Food Slicer in 1994. Encouraged by favorable consumer response, nine other models have since been introduced ranging from premium to commercial quality. Built to professional standards, Chef'sChoice® slicers feature rugged construction, excellent stability, precision slicing and easy clean up. With numerous models, some offering unique features such as true gravity feed or fold-up capability for convenient storage, Chef'sChoice® is now recognized as Americas leader in professional quality food slicers for the home.

In 1997 EdgeCraft expanded into the hot beverage market, responding to the growing popularity of tea and coffee. Today the company offers a number of innovative high-end electric hot beverage appliances. The elegantly styled Chef'sChoice® Teakettle lifts from its base for cordless serving, making it both practical in the kitchen and elegant enough for the dining room. The high capacity Chef'sChoice® HotPot quickly boils water for convenient preparation of tea, coffee, hot chocolate or instant soup perfect for the home kitchen, office or dormitory. Both units feature automatic steam shut-off, double boil dry safety shut-off, stay-cool bases and handles and a 1500-watt heating element hidden below the stainless steel floor that heats water faster than an average microwave. The Chef'sChoice® Electric French Press-Plus® brews at the optimal temperature recommended by the Pan American Coffee Bureau, yielding superb coffee flavor and aroma. Water boils faster than a stove or average microwave and in the same vessel used to brew the coffee or tea, saving a step and eliminating the cool-down that occurs in conventional press preparation. The French Press-Plus® can be lifted from its stay-cool corded power base for convenient filling and elegant serving.

EdgeCraft's determination to provide the consumer market with delicious and foolproof homemade waffles lead in 1999 to the introduction of the most technologically advanced line of waffle makers. The breakthrough entailed a baking system that allows the user to determine not only the color, but also the texture of the waffles as well. Incredibly fast, these waffle makers bake waffles in less than 90 seconds and conveniently notify the user when the waffles are done. Some models have an audible beep. All have "baking" and "ready" lights. The instant temperature recovery feature allows for uninterrupted baking. The family of waffle makers has quickly grown to include specialty waffle irons for making ice cream cones, pizzelles, krumkakes and petit cones as well as a line of gourmet dry mixes and innovative accessories.

In less than 18 years, EdgeCraft Corporation has grown from a small manufacturer of a revolutionary electric knife sharpener to a world leader in gourmet kitchen appliances. The ingenuity and passion for excellence that lead to the development of the first knife sharpener remain corporate commitments and are present in all products that carry the Chef'sChoice® name.

Chef'sChoice® consumer products are sold in leading department stores, hardware and sporting goods stores, cutlery, cookware and specialty stores, as well as through mail-order catalogs, online catalogs, and online retailers. Chef'sChoice® commercial sharpeners are sold by commercial foodservice dealers.

(courtesy of Chef'sChoice® )

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