I enjoy the Catalog Critic each Friday in the Wall Street Journal. This week they looked at [sub. needed] a particular type of knife known as the santoku. The business side of story was equally interesting:
[Santoku] knives have been available in the U.S. for more than a decade, but only recently have they really started to take off. Knifemakers give some credit to chef Rachel Ray, who praised the knives’ handling and sharpness on the Food Network two years ago. Knifemaker Wusthof’s santoku sales have increased tenfold from three years earlier, replacing the chef’s knife as its best-seller and now make up 10% of the company’s total revenue. While houseware sales nationwide are flat, cutlery sales rose 5% last year from the year before thanks in part to a four-fold increase in the number of santokus sold, according to the marketing-information company NPD Group.