A one-stop-shop, he provides on-site sharpening services to the city's time-pressed chefs no matter the manufacturer; he's also branched out into repairs of cutlery-oriented kitchen appliances. Currently operating out of his garage, he's looking for space to expand. As Edges points out (pun intended), with more than 3,000 restaurants in the metro area and about 300 clients, the business has a tremendous future.
Creative Loafing: OK, I gotta ask: Do you have all your fingers? What about your customers?
Geoff Edges: Yep. I've been to Piedmont Hospital a time or two: I've stabbed myself pretty good. Our admonition to every customer when we leave is "watch your fingers." None of them are missing digits, but some have digits that are pointed. None of the hospitals have treated ragged wounds from the knives I've sharpened.
Any idea how many knives you have sharpened in two decades? How long does it take to sharpen a knife?
I've probably sharpened 1 million knives. It doesn't usually take long to sharpen a knife, but it depends on the shape it's in.
Is Edges your real name?
Yes. From very beginning, people commented on it. I say, let there be mystery in your life.
If you're a home cook, what's a good knife set to buy?
You don't need a set at all. Unless you are doing specialty items, you only need four knives: a paring knife, a serrated knife, a chef or chopping knife and, if you are so inclined, a slicing knife. They will do everything a home cook wants to do. They don't even need to be by the same manufacturer. In varying price ranges, there are a lot of good knives. The best knife is like the best shoes: It's the one you feel most comfortable with. But an expensive knife will go dull as fast as a cheap one.
Besides restaurants, who do you sharpen knives for?
There's two aspects to the business: commercial and residential. Besides restaurants and hotels, I work with stores like Eatzi's and Whole Foods. The seafood and meat, bakery and prepared food departments each have their own requirements. When Zell Miller was governor, we sharpened his knives. Williams-Sonoma refers their customers to me and I pick up knives at Cook's Warehouse and Star Provisions. I used to have a drop-off at hardware stores, but people forgot to bring their knives.
Myth or not: A dull knife cuts worse than a sharp knife?
A dull knife often cuts worse than a sharp knife because you're forcing it to do something it wasn't designed to do. But a really sharp knife will nick you pretty good; it might cut you just walking by it.