WÜSTHOF Performer


Professional show cook & passionate swimmer

I like to compare the extraordinary power of my black, diamond-like-carbon (DLC) coated WÜSTHOF Performer Santoku with the dive of an Olympic swimmer into the pool: thanks to the lotus effect, my blade glides powerfully through all fresh ingredients, just as a swimmer does through the water.

Chef de Partie Anika Schmidt on the perfect knife

Energetic career woman with staying power

Determined and unstoppable – this how Chef de Partie Anika Schmidt has established herself as one of the best show cooking specialists. As a swimmer, she gets a lot of inspiration from sports and knows that even in the Olympic pool you are only successful if you combine your peak performance with the perfect gliding technique.

Inspired by her relaxation routine when diving into the water, as the first long gliding phase after immersion is particularly motivating – the easier and longer it is, the better – this young power woman, with her razor-sharp observation, has had a decisive influence on the development of the Performer knife series.

When I dive into the water with my full body tensed, I have always compared myself to a stable, sharp knife that glides almost weightlessly through food. I started to wear a bathing cap to have less water resistance and to be able to glide even further: the bathing cap is my DLC coating complete with lotus effect, making the water just pearl away!'

‘Out of the kitchen and closer to the guests!’ – that was the Chefs Trophy motto when Anika won the coveted title of Junior Show Cook 2017 and her career was taken to the next level. And the amazingly energetic chef has delighted her guests on so many stages: she first tried show cooking during her training at the Lufthansa Seeheim, a conference hotel, where she still cooks as Chef de Partie. In addition, she is on the trainer team of the ICA Frontcooking Academy in Hadama, north of Frankfurt, Germany, and appears regularly in front of the camera for the WÜSTHOF Knife Skills Academy.

As soon as she has some free time, she loves to go wild swimming for a few hours to recharge her batteries. And whenever she has time to spare, she packs her bags and sets off to try out distant waters. Anika is a true ‘power woman’, a real performer with the world at her feet.      

‘Where do I get my energy? It’s there the moment I see a satisfied face, someone relishes my food and I know my efforts have been worthwhile. Food is one of the few things that everybody needs and I can just never get enough of creating such moments!’  

A knife expert with stage experience, Anika Schmidt was one of four professional chefs on the Performer development team led by product designer Björn Berger and design engineer Dominic Trautmann. Her passion for swimming inspired the high-flying cook: she was the creative force and performance representative when it came to planning the black Performer knives with the new Hexagon Power Grip. As ‘godmother’ to the Performer Santoku with its Asian blade shape, the globetrotter is known across the WÜSTHOF family for her confident leap into exotic waters.


I love it: black, sharp, unsurpassable!

As a show cook, I have to perform at all levels. It's not enough just to cook well – preparation and plating must be staged in an exciting and appetising manner. In this process, the knives are important tools that I have to rely on blindly.

The Performer Santoku is my absolute favourite. It sits comfortably in my hand and its wide, extremely sharp blade ensures that I have the perfect knife technique. The captivating design looks really amazing while the lotus effect of the DLC coating ensures that the Asian blade glides effortlessly through food – and nothing sticks, all ingrediens just slide right off my blade. Extremely useful when you have to work fast. And also a cool effect for my show.


When chives dance

The delicate sound when my blade glides through an ingredient is a the best moment for me, creating total relaxation while I am working. I especially love this when I'm working with chives, because an additional effect comes into play: first, I hear how the blade dives into the green stems and then I see small, perfectly cut green rings bounce off the blade, a performance that always puts a smile on my face.


Fortunate to be free

My cooking style is quite deiberate and healthy: I like to charm people with great ingredients. For me, cooking is a pleasure, my passion and it's what I do best. Many just use water for cooking, but for me it's so much more than something to cook in, it's my element! When I swim, it gives me freedom. And when I combine water with fire, when I'm cooking, I discover endless possibilities and have the best of both worlds. In the kitchen I am free.

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