A Cut Above

Chef at top Hill Country restaurant designs kitchen must-have for the luxury home

Chef at top Hill Country restaurant designs luxe kitchen must-have

Vaudeville Knives
Vaudeville’s handmade knives are designed by chef Jordan Muraglia and crafted by Russell Montgomery of Serenity Knives. Photo courtesy of Vaudeville

Vaudeville is more than a culinary destination in the heart of downtown Fredericksburg. It’s a luxurious, epicurean, and sensory experience that transcends every detail of the three-level gourmet food, retail, and art venue.

It’s evident in the delicately sliced Alba white truffles that crown the handmade pasta served at the V Supper Club. It stuns with decoration and ambiance, starting with the Christmas tree made of vibrant poinsettias. And it’s reflected in the chef knife set designed by chef Jordan Muraglia, which recently debuted in the Vaudeville Showroom and at Vaudeville.com.

“I think there’s a movement toward a more advanced home chef,” Muraglia says. With that in mind, Muraglia was compelled to design a set of chef knives worthy of a restaurant kitchen, but marketed for the luxury home.

Last year Muraglia reached out to Houston-based knife-maker Russell Montgomery, founder of Serenity Knives, to pitch a collaboration on a set of chef knives. “I think he’s one of the best bladesmiths in the country,” Muraglia says.

Montgomery has crafted knives for some of the top chefs in Houston, including Justin Yu of Oxheart. “I spend a lot of time talking to chefs, learning how knives get used in a professional kitchen, what is comfortable, what works, and [what] doesn't,” Montgomery says.

Vaudeville’s eight-knife set includes the boning filet knife, bread extraordinaire, chef knife, dynamic utility knife, master chef knife, paring knife, slicing knife, and the ultimate cleaver.

The knives are exquisite — even in photographs. But their grand scale and sheer elegance are best appreciated in person, when you can feel the heft of the knife in your hands, as you gently trace its contours and marvel at the seamless integration of the stainless-steel blade into the smooth pecan wood handle.

The “glorified standard, the extra-large chef knife … it just feels good,” Muraglia says. “Feel the edge; it’s extremely sharp. [Montgomery is] all about points; that is a serious point,” he adds, touching the tip of the blade.

Muraglia uses his slicing knife nearly as much as his chef’s knife. He raves about the slicer’s “linear design” that’s common in professional kitchens but rarely found in home sets — ideal for getting that “perfect slice of meat or tomato.”

But if you only go with one knife, choose the “sexy utility,” as Muraglia describes it. “It’s a hybrid of your boning, your chef, even your slicer.”

The co-branded Vaudeville-Serenity knives are delicately engraved with brand logos on both sides of the blade. The knives are available for pre-order at the Vaudeville Showroom and at Vaudeville.com. Montgomery begins fabricating the knives immediately after purchase. Single knives take about 30 days to ship; the full set, priced at $5,385, is completed in about 60 days.

The making of Vaudeville
Vaudeville spans three floors of a magnificent, 1915 building in the heart of Fredericksburg’s Historic District. The white-columned venue stands out from the crowd on Main Street, a bustling strip that reflects its German ancestry and Texas charm. 

When Denver native Muraglia and his partner, Richard Boprae, a visual artist and sculptor, visited the Muraglia family ranch in the Hill Country in 2011, they noticed the growth of the region’s wineries and the opportunity to fill a niche in downtown Fredericksburg — catering to the upscale clientele. “We saw the need for more — a broader, more international, higher-end establishment,” Muraglia says.

The pair purchased and refurbished the interiors of the landmark building, respecting its original architecture. They opened Vaudeville on Mother’s Day of 2012. Vaudeville is a hybrid of gourmet cuisine, unique home goods, and art. A common thread runs throughout: exquisite taste. 

The all-scratch Bistro, dedicated to new American comfort food and reinventing the classics, is situated downstairs, in an elegant, European atmosphere complete with a gourmet market and wine cellar. Guests of the V Supper Club, the multi-course chef’s tasting menu offered exclusively on Friday, Saturday, and Monday nights, as well as Sunday brunch, dine at intimate, candle-lit tables, in the attached vestibule and courtyard.

Muraglia’s family background is Northern Italian and New Orleans southern. As a chef, he merges his infatuation of global, sumptuous delicacies with his appreciation of seasonal, Hill Country ingredients. “I love being in the agricultural community of Fredericksburg,” he says. “We take advantage of our local market. But we’re on the luxury [end] as well, so I fly in a lot of fresh seafood — whether it’s from the West Coast or East Coast, white truffles from Italy, caviar.”

His penchant for high-quality doesn’t stop at food. It infiltrates every facet of Vaudeville — from the design to the service. The V Supper Club delivers another level of decadence. “In the Supper Club, that quality, it resonates. It’s in the food, it’s in the china, it’s in the furnishings. Quality is the underlying theme,” Muraglia says.

Special events
Members of Vaudeville’s Wine Club have the opportunity to attend quarterly wine tasting parties and pick up their seasonal curation of boutique wines sourced from around the globe. “It’s a four-bottle send-out, $200 per quarter. There is an optional bubbles add on,” Muraglia says.

As Vaudeville approaches its fifth anniversary in May, things will pick up speed. “This spring, we’re going to have probably more [events] than ever,” Muraglia says. Plus, the V Supper Club may open for an additional night — “on Thursday for a different concept than our tasting menu, so stay tuned,” Muraglia adds.