I used to be truly bullheaded about my knives—as a former line cook, I took real pride in the fine edge I could get on my beloved Messermeister. But over the years, I got lazy, yet still bullheaded: While my knives got ever duller, I still refused to take them to a professional, convinced they’d be ruined in lesser hands.

Finally came a day I’d rather not remember: I found myself trying to slice a garlic clove with the blunt end of my paring knife. I hauled off to Henry Westpfal here in New York, reputed to be the very best sharpeners in the city.

Why oh why did I wait so long? I got them back last month, and ever since, I’ve been racing home after work to make stir-fries, tacos, ropa vieja, braised cabbage, and everything else I can think of that requires a maximum of sliced vegetables. My knives are like lightsabers, decapitating onions with a swift, clean stroke. I feel super-powered. I’m throwing out my sharpening stone—Westpfal can hone my knives from here on out.