Messermeister, the women-owned, Ojai-based maker of premium handcrafted chef’s knives, today announced a new initiative titled, “Forge: Shaping the World into a Better Place,” naming acclaimed culinary personalities April Bloomfield, Edward Lee and Claudette Zepeda as the first three “master ambassadors” to launch the program. With Forge, Messermeister will work with one chef per year to design his or her unique “dream knife,” with 20% or more of the profits going to that chef’s nonprofit of choice.

“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.” 

Messermeister will work with Bloomfield, Lee and Zepeda to design knives with artisans in Germany, Italy, and Japan and signature knives will be sold on and in select retail stores.

April Bloomfield is a British-born, James Beard Award winning chef and was previously owner of some of New York City’s most legendary Michelin Star-rated restaurants. “What a treat to be able to help create a knife with Messermeister which is both functional and elegant, and one that fits in your hand as an extension of yourself."

Edward Lee is a Brooklyn-born and Louisville-based chef, James Beard Award-winning culinary author who frequently appears on TV in shows such as "Top Chef" "Iron Chef" and "MasterChef." His restaurants in Louisville and Washington DC tell the narrative of his Korean identity and Southern culinary roots.  He is passionate about telling a unique story through his knife design, and giving back to his nonprofit, The LEE Initiative which strives to bring equality and diversity to the restaurant industry, for which he was awarded a Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award. “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.”

Claudette Zepeda is a former James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalist best known for her fearless culinary style and bold approach to Mexican cuisine. Zepeda is eager to partner with a women-run knife company to help bring a female perspective to the table while supporting No Us Without You, a cause near and dear to her heart which helps to 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.”

The first Forge product is expected to launch in late 2022.

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