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July 13, 2022 2 min read

Cooking with Opinel Culinary Ambassador, Chef Mike Kubiesa

Now that it’s peak summer season, there’s nothing better than going to a local farmer’s market or your own garden to source fresh ingredients. My motto is “if it grows together, it goes together.” 

I paired watermelon with fresh basil from my garden as well as jalapeno to add a nice spice that goes well with the honey and lemon dressing. The salad is light and refreshing, with the perfect combination of sweet and salty. The crisp watermelon adds nice texture along with the sharp and crumbly feta cheese. This is the perfect salad to accompany any summer spread. 

While I’m always focused on pairing fresh and flavorful ingredients, it’s also important to ensure your kitchen knives are well maintained and sharp. It’s much easier to cut through produce with a sharp knife as opposed to a dull knife, which can actually present a safety hazard. I use my Opinel Manual Sharpener along with honing steel to make sure my knives are always sharp and well maintained.

Mike Kubiesa Mike Kubiesa

Watermelon and Feta Salad with Lemon Basil Honey Dressing


  • ½ mini watermelon, diced into ½ inch cubes 
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (more if needed)  
  • 1-2 small jalapeno, thinly sliced 
  • 2-4 French radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced  
  • Handful of basil leaves, torn 
  • ¼ cup honey 
  • 1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice 
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped 
  • 1 tsp lemon zest  
  • Cracked black pepper 
  • Flaky salt 
  • Herb blossoms for garnish (I used basil and chive)
Mike KubiesaMike Kubiesa


Start by peeling and cubing watermelon and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Add the sliced jalapeno, radish and shallot (set some aside for garnish.) 

In a small mixing bowl, add honey, lemon juice, olive oil, cracked black pepper, lemon zest, thyme and a pinch of salt and combine well. 

Add the crumbled feta and torn basil to the mixing bowl with the watermelon and carefully combine using a rubber spatula to help from breaking up the watermelon. 

Next, pour the lemon honey dressing over the top and carefully combine. Let salad sit in the fridge for 10-15 minutes and then plate up on a serving dish. Garnish with herb blossoms, basil, extra feta and cracked black pepper. Add some more flaky salt and a drizzle of olive oil if desired and enjoy!

Mike Kubiesa

Intempora Santoku Knife

Intempora Santoku

Intempora Paring Knife

Intempora Paring Knife

Recipe courtesy of Chef Mike, a private chef based in Chicago, Illinois, and the Opinel Culinary Ambassador. Along with seasonally focused recipes, Chef Mike will spend the next few months offering up tips and tricks for cooking at home and outside with Opinel. See more recipes from Chef Mike here.

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