A tool so vital, her restaurant is named after them.

By Margaret Eby
May 14, 2020
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It should be no surprise that Eunjo Park, one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2020, is a diehard fan of kitchen shears. After all, she works at a restaurant named Kawi, a play on “gawi,” the Korean word for scissors. At Momofuku Kawi, Park uses shears in the kitchen, but they also make an appearance tableside. At Kawi, certain dishes, like the coiled, deliciously chewy rice cake, come with a side of handsome gold-colored scissors so you can tackle it. 

Chef Park uses them as both kitchen tool and utensil, so it makes sense that she doesn’t just have a favorite pair of kitchen shears so much as a small-scale scissors arsenal. “They’re integral to Korean cooking,” Park wrote in an email interview. ”I use them for barbecue, pancakes, fried food, and noodles. I use them for butchering fish and cutting herbs. I use scissors all the time.” 

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It’s perhaps not surprising that when asked for shears she’d recommend, Park came up with not just one, but three pairs. The first set is a heavy-duty pair that her Dad gave her, a pair that’s hefty enough to break down chicken and fish. “They’re less than $10, sturdy, and I use them a lot at home. I pull them out for snipping scallions or chilis for soup or for a garnish,” Park said.”I also use them a lot for cutting kimchi. They’re great for avoiding a mess of drippy kimchi juice.”

At Kawi, Park also uses a smaller pair with blades just under two inches, ideal for delicate tasks like breaking down fish and snipping herbs. They’re small enough to easily slip into a pocket without fear of accidentally stabbing yourself. And finally, at the table to cut up that coil of rice cake, Park offers solid steel tailoring shears, which she chose for both their functionality and their aesthetics—lined up with forks and spoons, these serious gold-toned scissors don’t look out of place. 

If you aren’t already a fan of kitchen scissors, Park may turn you into a convert. When you’re not feeling up to using a cutting board and chef’s knife, a handy pair of snips can save you the hassle. Try one and you may end up with a shears arsenal, too.