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Jean-Patrique have terrible customer service. I ordered a 7pc stainless steel kitchen set through a voucher company, received an order confirmation and was advised delivery would take 7-10 days (quite a long lead time by any companies standards). 12 days later I had not received my goods, and so took to e-mailing them. Twice a day. To no response. I went to the voucher company (Coinks) who eventually sorted the issue for me. Still not received the goods, but I have been informed they should be with me in the next 5 days. We'll see. Don't bother. Stick with a company you know and trust.
Although probably best known for its kitchen knives, Jean-Patrique actually has in its catalogue almost everything you could ever want for the kitchen, but were afraid to ask (the price). In our case it was the knives that we bought. We have a set of serrated edge steak knives and a 7 piece set of chef's knives. Both sets come with a fairly substantial wooden block into slots in which you slide the knives between usage.
The knives are all of a similar design: one-piece solid carbon stainless steel with a bulbous handle that provides a fairly decent grip. Standing on the work surface they look quite attractive but, what are they like to use?
Well, the steak knives have a fairly wicked serration to the blades and they are certainly very effective in slicing through steak although I am pretty much of the opinion that if you need to saw through the meat to separate it then you've probably got a fairly poor piece of meat in the first place. However, it is not unknown for even a decent piece of steak to have the odd bit of gristle along an edge, and here these knives come into their own.
In our house we are not regular steak eaters so it's the chef's knives that get the greatest use. The seven knives consist of two long, thin bladed knives, one of which is serrated, that serve the purpose of slicing large joints of meat. To go with these there is also a two-pronged fork for holding the meat still and using as a slicing guide.
There is a shorter, broad-bladed knife for general use. The final three knives are a short-bladed paring knife, a longer knife of a similar type and finally what is to all intents a knife identical to the steak knives we have in the other knife set. It would seem that Jean-Patrique don't mind doubling up on functions! With these sets of knives we got, as a special offer, a knife-sharpener, of the sort that has two sharpening rods set in a V, across which you draw the knife blade in order to sharpen it.
List price for these knife sets are £60 for the 7-piece chef's knife set and £30 for the steak knives. You can order them directly from the Jean-Patrique website but, more likely, you will see them in those catalogues of things that come around especially at Christmas time, containing suggestions of stuff to but as presents for your nearest and dearest, which is where we got our.
Now, these prices are not that special. Agreed, they are marked down from the "Regular" price on the J-P website but, let's be honest, the sort of prices indicated as regular are laughable. No one is likely to pay those sorts of prices unless they have more money than sense. I guess we all would suspect that they are there to make you think you've got a real bargain. So, have you?
Well, I have to say that as far as the straight-bladed knives are concerned, I am less than impressed with the edge they present or with their ability to retain such edge as they have. I have used and have in our kitchen knives that are far sharper and which keep their sharpness even through prolonged usage. Using the provided J-P sharpener does make a difference but, even after sharpening, you can draw you finger along the blade without any danger of drawing blood. However, they do seem fairly effective in use, so long as you don't have anything really tough to cut.
So that's the product but what about Customer Support? I guess you're wondering why anyone would need customer support. After all, what can go wrong with a knife? Well, you'd be surprised, and so was I. Purely by accident the longer of the two short-bladed, straight-edged knives in the chef's set was dropped on the floor. Totally unexpectedly, it snapped in half, just below the handle. Now, I certainly didn't expect that to happen. How many times have you dropped an knife without it breaking in two?
I felt that this reflected a defect in the knife. I contacted Jean-Patrique Customer Support. Initially I used the fax number listed on the J-P website. I was truly surprised to find no email address published for the use of customers. I left it a week but when I had received no reply, let alone an acknowledgement, either by fax or to the email address I included in my message, I then resorted to phoning them. They publish an 0871 number on the website but I found a normal rate number to use on the SayNoTo0870 website.
The initial automatic announcement informs you that the cost of the call is 10p per minute so the normal rate and the 0871 number are obviously one and the same although you will be paying standard national call rates on the non-0871 number.
I spoke to a support representative and asked why my fax hadn't been answered. I didn't get any explanation but the person with whom I spoke was very helpful. However, she wanted to know if we had bought directly from them and when we had bought the knives, to which the answers were, "No" and "Can't remember"! Eventually, after a lot of discussion, (including mention that I planned to write this review!) she agreed that such damage to one of their knives should not be expected and that I was probably correct in thinking it might have been defective to start with.
So, a replacement was agreed but first I was required to return to them the broken knife. So, I dropped it in a Jiffy Bag and posted it to them, Recorded Delivery, just to make sure I could prove it had arrived. It did and quite quickly but still, after another week, I had heard nothing. It took two more phone calls before the replacement knife was eventually received.
All in all I am less than impressed with Jean-Patrique's knives, such as we have experience of them and, although I did get satisfaction from their Customer Support service, I feel it took far longer than it should have and more phone calls than should have been necessary. Agreed, the knives are attractive and look good on the kitchen work surface. Pity they don't work as well as they look. I doubt Gordon Ramsey or Jamie Oliver will be beating a path to their door!
Jean-Patrique / Manufacturer of kitchen knives and related products