March 24, 2017

Kevin in Japan: Bullet Trains

Kevin Kent, CEO and owner of Knifewear, is currently on a business trip to Japan. He wanted to tell you about some of his experiences while he’s there. This one is brief because when things move fast you don’t have much time... or something. 


Ok, the Shinkansen (bullet train) in Japan is beyond cool. It really is. I love traveling on a comfortable train at 300km per hour. Who wouldn't? I especially love answering emails on pocket wifi and eating a delicious train station bento box at 300km per hour. Every 20-40 minutes a lady in a perfect uniform pushes a little cart up the aisle to sell us scary fish snacks, beer, coffee, phone cards, or anything you need.  Did I mention they travel up to 300km per hour? I don’t know what that is in miles per hour but it’s quick, matey. Shinkansens are the best.

March 22, 2017

Kevin in Japan: Squid Fishing


Kevin Kent, CEO and owner of Knifewear, is currently on a business trip to Japan. He wanted to tell you about some of his experiences while he's there. Here's his first entry.


I once read a book by an American author, Richard Brautigan, called Trout Fishing in America. It was strange and funny and eye opening. It wasn’t really about trout fishing so much. I am going Squid Fishing in Japan with Shibata-san of Masakage Knives later today. Ika sashimi here I come.

* * *

We caught nothing but a sunburn and lots of laughs. We did get a chance to shake the strawberries out of our heads though and that's something. We don't know much about Squid Fishing in Japan.

A squid lure: 

squid lure

Chefly Screen Shots

Back in 2014 Kevin was asked to participate a project called Chefly Screenshots a collaboration between City Palate Magazine, Six Degrees Music and Sound, and Nur Films, celebrating 20 years of City Palate magazine. You can see Kevin's piece of the project below. 



Calgary music scene veteran Chris Vail, along with other musicians at Six Degrees, wrote songs to accompany short films shot by Ramin Eshraghi-Yazdin of Nur Films, which showcase members of the Calgary food community 

Here's a short making-of, showing how this cool project came about. 


January 31, 2017

sharpening ›   waterstone ›   whetstone ›  

Announcing Knifewear Waterstones

As you may know we have long been knife sharpening nerds. We have opinions and experience. After considerable efforts we are pleased finally announce Knifewear brand waterstones. We are extremely happy about how these have turned out, and can’t wait for you to try them. 


These are made by Naniwa and have been hand selected by Kevin Kent. The selection is a mixture of reworked stones from Naniwa’s current line up, stones normally only available in Japan, and products from the back catalogue. We believe these stones are the best selection for sharpening anything you have. All of the stones work well with Japanese or European knives as well as carbon and stainless steel. 


“These are the stones I travel with for off site sharpening classes/demos and Guerilla Sharpening events. I can do anything with this collection from simple sharpening to repairs to straight razors and axes.” — Kevin Kent


220 Grit Oni

This 220 Grit waterstone is the fastest coarse stones we’ve found. It removes steel efficiently and dishes slowly. You will still need to use a truing stone after every 2-4 knives sharpened, but that’s minimal maintenance compared to other stones on the market. This stone requires a 20-30 minute soak before use.


The box designed by Mason Hastie features an Oni, a devil-like figure from Japanese mythology. It was chosen because in some settings it can be seen as a symbol of strength, and of becoming stronger by using a strong tool. The 220 stone definitely is a strong tool. 


Purchase the 220 stone here. 


1000 Grit Ramen and Gyoza

This is your Everything Stone. The one stone to rule them all. Every knife you sharpen will touch this stone. Either this is your starting point or it is used after repairs on the 220 grit stone. We recommend finishing most non-Japanese knives with this stone, but if you are the kind that wants to get an extra 20% of performance out of everything, you’ll want to take those Henckels to 4000 or 8000 and really have them sing. Please soak for 20-30 minutes before use.


Ramen and gyoza are depicted on this box. This is an every day stone, and let’s face it ramen and gyoza should be everyday food. Well, maybe not, but it is a staple of the Japanese diet, and we felt the analogy was appropriate. 


Purchase the 1000 stone here. 


4000 Grit Sake

This is a fast, hard waterstone that leaves a silky edge. Not many 4000 grit stones will raise a burr but this one does, it’s a race car of a stone. With this stone you start hitting the sharpness potential of your Japanese knife and make your European knives smooooth. Please do not soak, just splash water on it when it’s time to use.


Mason made a 70’s Japanese sake dream. Sake is a lovely drink that (to steal a phrase from Mike, our Operations Manager) “takes the edges off the world and makes me feel like I'm in a 1970’s album cover”. The 4000 stone takes the burr off your knives, and makes the edge that much smoother, just like sake. 


Purchase the 4000 stone here. 



8000 Grit Maguro (Tuna)

This is the first Naniwa waterstone Kevin ever bought. It changed everything. After using this stone for a day he claims he smashed his American made Norton 4000/8000 combination stone in the back lane out of frustration. He says that old Norton waterstone held him back and kept him from getting the results he wanted. Use our 8000 stone on any Japanese kitchen knife, hunting knife, woodworking chisel or straight razor. The mirror edge it leaves will impress. Enjoy smooth cutting. Do not soak this stone, just splash water on when it’s time to use.


From the moment we decided we were going to have our own waterstones, we felt one of the packages would have a fishing scene on it. Fishing and seafood have a huge role in Japanese culture. This packaging depicts fishing boats on a rough sea, along with giant blue fin tuna. (yum) 


Purchase the 8000 stone here.

All four stones are also available as a set here.  


All our stones are a standard 210mm x 70mm x 20mm for easy storage and fit easily without modification into the waterstone holders we sell.


We are very proud to offer our customers this set of spectacular waterstones and have plans to add to it soon. Look for a Knifewear truing stone, nagura stone, rust eraser, and combination stones (220/1000 and 4000/8000). 


January 25, 2017

award ›   awards ›  

Tooting Our Own Horn

We’ve always tries to destroy the classic retail mould and do things differently. We try to maintain a customer focus at all times. Our aim is to make people happier after they have visited us than when they arrived. We do this with our engaging staff and their willingness to engage, entertain and educate. Shopping with us should be a genuine experience.


We believe that retail can be a career. To make this a reality we offer living wages (not minimum wage), profit sharing, bespoke health care, Champagne Saturdays, paid sick leave, long service leave (3 month paid sabbatical after 10 years of service), great parties, staff enrichment funds and basically make our staff happy to be at work. Treating staff well is not a hardship, it is a one of the keys to our success.


Which brings us to Tooting Our Own Horn. 2016 was a great year for awards and acknowledgements. We are proud to prove that you can pay proper wages and succeed in the competitive retail environment.


Alberta Venture Fast Growth 50



#18 on Fast Growth 50

For the third year running we are in the Alberta Venture Fast Growth 50. The Fast Growth 50 tracks the fastest growing businesses in Alberta. This year Knifewear Group placed at number 18 on the list. How exciting! 


#123 on Profit 500

Knifewear Group has also landed at number 123 on the Profit 500, the list of the top 500 fastest growing businesses in Canada. Another way to look at it we were the #12 for retail in Canada, #5 in Calgary.


Foreign Minister’s Award from the Japanese Consul General

Kevin Kent was awarded this commendation for promoting Japanese culture outside of Japan. Generally, fewer than one hundred of these are awarded each year and rarely is it awarded to a non-Japanese citizen. The Consul General, Tamura-san, was impressed by the Springhammer films, the selection in our Knifewear shops and of course our staff’s impressive knowledge of traditional blacksmithing and Japanese culture in general.



Business in Calgary Leaders Award

Kevin Kent was recognized this year as an influential business leader in Calgary. This award goes to leaders in the business community who display leadership, not just within their company, but within the larger community of Calgary. Of special interest was Knifewear Group's modern vision of retail and the fund raising initiative of OffCuts 2016.


It feels good to have our hard work and the happiness of our customers culminate recognized by those organizations that track Alberta and Canadian business. It also feels good to be able to thank you, our customers, for the business that helped us get here. Here's to another excellent year together! 


February means Masakage is 15% off

Your dream knife just became more affordable! 


Knifewear holds one sale a year on our regular stock and this is it. For the month of February, while stocks last, all Masakage knives are 15% off. The Masakage sale is  happening at all locations, and


Kevin Kent, owner of Knifewear and an ex-chef himself, worked with the Masakage blacksmiths to refine the design of the knives so they would not only work well for chefs, but also be capable and easy to use in home kitchens as well. Every detail of Masakage knives has been carefully thought out, from the materials used in both the blades and handles, to the overall shape and ergonomics. All aspects were scrutinized to ensure they were suitable for Knifewear customers.


Masakage knives offer a wide range of price points and materials. Some lines like the Kiri and Yuki are perfect for those looking for their first blacksmith-made knives because of their durability and easy price point. Some lines like the Mizu and Koishi are perfect for the professional chef or experienced home cook because of the next level edge capability. Some lines are simply the epitome of craftsmanship and beauty, the Kujira and Zero lines being amazing examples of such.


The Japanese word Koishi means “pebbles”. This line of knives has the look of black pebbles that you might find in a stream. The aogami super steel core is possibly the best knife steel known to man. It retains an edge longer than any other carbon steel we know of and cuts like silk. Clad in stainless steel, owners of this knife enjoy the easier maintenance because the carbon steel is protected from rust. Suitable for the home chef, it is also a favourite of professional chefs and Knifewear staff.


This line is possibly Masakage’s most popular knife to give as a gift. The stunning suminagashi (Damascus) finish has a flashy, yet classy, look. Not to say the Kiri is just a pretty face. The VG10 stainless steel construction means that is both easy to maintain and will retain and edge longer than most Western made knives.


The Kumo (meaning cloud) has some of the sexiest Damascus steel we’ve ever seen in a handmade Japanese knife. The VG10 steel is easy to maintain and the thinness of these blades are something to behold. It has a rosewood and pakka handle which finishes the knife with a classic look. The perfect knife for those that are a combination of rustic and refined, because that’s exactly what the Kumo line is.


Designed by Kevin Kent to be his dream knife and beautifully crafted by Yu Kurosaki, the Shimo is a knife that takes a bit more effort to care for, because it is a carbon steel that can rust if neglected. For those that fall in love with this gorgeous knife it will reward you with a beautiful edge for years to come. The crisscross pattern on the blade is created using a specially made hammer and is meant to mimic the look of frost (Shimo) on a window. Lovely.


If you want bang for buck in regards to performance, the Mizu is the line for you. A full carbon blade, it takes extra care to make sure it remains rust free. For some the extra effort will feel entirely worth it every time they use it. For others the responsibility of a carbon knife is one best left to the pros. Mizus are especially great for those that enjoy sharpening their own knifes, this knife can attain an exceptional edge with minimal effort. It also looks gorgeous, with a blue black finish that looks like deep water, or Mizu, in Japanese.


The Yuki line is a chef favourite across Canada. The white carbon steel core offers a smooth, long lasting edge, the stainless steel cladding makes it easy to take care of in a busy environment. Its understated good looks are a bonus for those who are a bit more utilitarian minded. Not that the Yuki (meaning snow) isn’t gorgeous, it’s just more reserved than its cohorts.


The maker of the Kujira line, Kageura-san, is the real deal. He hand forges his own steel using whatever scraps he can find. This takes an extreme level of skill that he has painstakingly attained over the past 50 years. The unique cladding that protects the aogami super core offers a finish that is nothing like any other knives we’ve seen, you’d swear it shimmers. When asked why one could see the bevel lines on his knives, but not feel them, Kageura simply answered “Because I am a very good blacksmith.” Truer words have not been said.


If Masakage has one line that inspires knife lust it is the Zero line. The Western style ironwood handle is unlike anything else made by Masakage and is opulently finished with a rivet inset with a mosaic of a chrysanthemum. The aogami super carbon steel core lives up to the promise of the Zero’s good looks by giving you an edge that will last many times longer than even the best Western knives. This is the knife you want if you’re the type to show off just a little — or the type that wants the best in class.



January 04, 2017

Knifewear in the News - Winter 2017!

Kris Armitage, the manager of our northern-most store, Knifewear Edmonton, did a segment on CTV Edmonton Morning this past Thursday. Watch as he drops some early morning knowledge... he doesn't even yawn into the camera! We're proud of you, Kris. 


Meanwhile in Ottawa, we got featured in these fun gift guide at the 2:30 minute mark! Thanks Sharif!

Speaking of Ottawa, Chris Lord answers the question, "Is it alright if we just prefer a serrated knife because it's safer?" on CTV Ottawa.


And finally this blast from the past, from CTV Calgary.

October 31, 2016

Knifewear in the News - Fall 2016!


Well well well, the media have been talking about us again. First off is a great article in the Canadian Restaurant News about Kevin, Knifewear, and our role in the restaurant community. 



Next up are a couple mentions about the Offcuts 2017 Charity Calendar. We're extremely happy with the way this has turned out and the reception so far. If you haven't yet seen it, please come down to the shop and check it out. 

Offcuts charity calendar

Offcuts in a great article by our good friend Shelley Boettcher in the Calgary Herald. 


Another pal from the Herald, John Gilchrist, also writes about us in his column. (scroll down) 


It's not online, but City Palate were also very generous and wrote about Offcuts in their current issue. Here's a link to their digital issue, but it's also available for pick-up at many locations around Calgary. 


Kent of Inglewood


Finally, Kent of Inglewood always gets a mention around this time of year, because those folks are Movember experts. But also, just because they are so dang charming. 


Enroute Magazine has said Kent of Inglewood is one of the 15 best things about Calgary. (well, duh) 


And Metro tapped them for some Movember advice


That's all for now! 

October 24, 2016

Offcuts Charity Calendar 2017, Offcuts Profiles "The who's who!"

The Offcuts 2017 calendars are in stock! We're really excited about this. Heres a little background on the charity, the photographer, and all those wonderful Offcuts men.

Brown Bagging For Calgary’s Kids

Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids has one goal: no hungry kids in Calgary. The organization strives toward this goal each day by providing healthy lunches directly to school kids, and by empowering communities to create lasting social change. Through the work of community groups and a small army of volunteers, Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids provides more than 2,500 lunches each day for local kids who would otherwise go without.

Jeremy Fokkens

Jeremy Fokkens is a classically trained dancer turned professional self-taught photographer. His most recent accomplishment is the publishing of his book The Human Connection, which highlights Jeremy’s eight-month trip through Nepal and Bangladesh, and tells countless captivating stories of everyday people. Fokkens’ newest project ‘Back To The Land’ has taken him across all of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories, capturing some of the country’s most colourful small town characters.

Kevin Kent

Kevin Kent considers his chef years as the best education for being an entrepreneur. Being a chef takes long hours, involves hard work, both mentally and physically, and chefs must be able to put out fires, both literal and figurative, with extreme competence.

Kevin started Knifewear in 2007 after becoming infatuated with handmade Japanese kitchen knives, believing both his chef colleagues and home users would also fall in love. Over the next 9 years Knifewear grew to 5 shops across Canada (Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa and Edmonton). In 2013 he opened Kent of Inglewood, Canada’s Shave Shop, also in Calgary and now those shops have spread to Ottawa and Edmonton, with Vancouver coming soon. His newest shop, From the Wild, which is dedicated to wilderness living and cooking, is set to open in Edmonton October 2016.

Kevin sees no reason to slow down, he hopes to bring his unique vision to even more locations in the future. If you think you can keep up, you should follow Kevin on Twitter at @knifenerd and find out more about the stores


Jay del Corro
Owner, Eats of Asia / Host, The Aimless Cook

Jay del CorroJay del Corro’s first foray into the culinary world started with his hit YouTube cooking show, The Aimless Cook. Starting in 2009, his weekly recipes slowly gathered a following until 2011 when he was the only Canadian chosen for YouTube and Google’s Next Chef program. From there, The Aimless Cook has amassed 4 million views and over 40,000 subscribers worldwide.

Fast forward to 2012 when Jay finally quit his corporate job and decided to pursue a full-time focus on food by opening Eats of Asia. Starting in a small window at Millarville Farmers Market, his signature Asian street food started a loyal following which has grown and supported the family run business, following their journey from farmers markets, night markets, and pop ups to their current location at Calgary’s Crossroads Market. Inspired by childhood memories, travel, and some happy accidents, the food of Eats of Asia is a combination of traditional cooking contrasted by creations that simply satisfy a primal urge to eat like no one’s looking.

Eats of Asia is open every weekend and features a variety of Pan Asian rice bowls, steamed bao, hand-pulled noodles, and house made ramen which offers a new flavour each day.

Eric Giesbrecht
Meta4 Foods / OysterTribe

Eric GiesbrechtEric Nathan was mistakenly conceived on July 19th, 1973 and born into a family of French urbanites and rural Mennonites, exiting the womb the very same day as Tricia Helfer; he is quite likely also a Cylon and credits this for his love/hate relationship with technology.

Eric’s father soon after escaped lifelong servitude in the Canadian Armed Forces and moved the family to Calgary during the tail end of the oil boom but soon after experienced the joys and ramifications of the National Energy Program. Incidentally, the first joke that Eric can recall learning was the baited question for the facetious definition of PETRO Canada.

Eric nearly frostbit his feet after refusing to wear winter boots during a day spent watching ski jumping at the ’88 Olympics, rather opting for a pair of top-siders. Incidentally, he still refuses to refer to Paskapoo as COP and has developed a penchant for ignoring the Olympics when they take place.

Eric often told family and friends that he would never get married nor have children, both of which he has since done and thusly claims as being the greatest things to ever happen to him. Eric is now focusing on never becoming the Canadian Oyster Shucking Champion and can be found getting high on his own supply of bi-valves whilst secretly studying the effects of light, water and magnetism on enzymatic proton-tunneling at his warehouse.

Colin Leach
Co-owner, The Silk Road Spice Merchant

Colin LeachColin Leach is the co-founder of The Silk Road Spice Merchant. He has no culinary training. Before becoming interested in spices, he was a failed academic (American lit) and a passably successful marketing writer/strategist.

In 2008, he and his partner Kelci Hind began talking about their dream shop: a spice merchant that paid tribute to the colourful history and geography behind the little jars of barks, leaves and seeds that adorn kitchens everywhere. From that inspiration was born The Silk Road Spice Merchant, a single destination for every sort of culinary spice (and spice blend) one could reasonably expect to find in Canada. Focussing on quality, selection, presentation and atmosphere, The Silk Road now has stores in Calgary and Edmonton and is in its 8th year of supplying customers across Canada, from home cooks to professional chefs.

Apart from spices, Colin’s obsession with flavours also extends to ice cream, tea, candy and alcoholic beverages of every kind (but mostly whiskey and cocktails. Some beer. Not so much wine.).

Robert Jewell
Brand Executive Chef, Double Zero Pizza / Host, A is for Apple

Robert JewelRobert was born and raised in Edmonton Alberta. After graduating high-school and feeling the city wasn’t quite the right fit for him, he sought his future in Calgary. His first year there he worked many random jobs, every-thing from airline ground crew to building office furniture, but Robert still hadn’t found something that struck the right chord.

After responding to an ad in the Herald for a dishwasher position at Teatro restaurant, Robert met the well respected and admired chef Michael Allemeier. After almost a year washing dishes for Michael, Robert was asked if he would like to join the brigade on the line and start to learn how to cook professionally. This ignited Roberts passion for discovery, learning and accomplishment. His infatuation with the culinary world continued to grow and expand with knowledge he gained from many great chefs he worked under. By the age of 25 Robert was made an executive chef.

Robert is now the brand executive chef for Concorde Entertainment Group’s Double Zero Pizza. He also is the host of the original cooking series on Gusto TV, A is For Apple, the first season is currently airing, and the second season is now in production.

Kevin McLean
Manager guy, J. Webb Wine Merchant Ltd.

Kevin McLeanWay back in 1985 J. Webb Wine Merchant was started as a foray into private wine sales. It was an “experiment gone right” and helped set the stage for private booze sales throughout Alberta. Kevin got his start here in 1997, taking the role as head wine forager, a job that was too good to pass up. Like a lot of wine guys, Kevin started out serving tables and eventually taking over the wine program at the legendary 4th St Rose. From there, he moved to the Napa Valley where he learned to stain his hands red and finally made the move from enthusiastic amateur to professional drinker.

Originally he planned on staying in Napa and continuing to make wine, but the lure of running Calgary’s original wine boutique was too strong.

Since taking the reins at J. Webb, Kevin’s spit wine in every corner of the world, ever looking to expand his family of wine producers. His mission remains the same; seek out the small, the family run, the sustainable, the creative and the authentic. Just not the boring or predictable. For him, wine is important - too important to be left to big business or the corporate world.

He believes everybody deserves great wine, and finding it and bringing it to J. Webb is what gets him out of bedin the morning.

Today J. Webb has three stores including the building featured in this picture at the Calgary Farmer’s Market. You can usually find Kevin at one of these spots, tasting wine and sharing stories with anyone fool enough to listen.

Paul McGreevy

Paul McGreevyChef McGreevy vividly recalls harvesting vegetables from his family garden at a very young age, wiping off the dirt and eating them in place; his love of food and passion for local products stems from these very memories. It wasn’t until he decided to turn his love of food into a career that he flourished in an academic setting. He graduated from SAIT Professional Cooking Program and then started to travel abroad to gain some necessary experience in the ‘real world’. The next couple of years were spent in Ireland, France and Italy where he worked at Michelin starred restaurants, bakeries, cafes and hotels.

In the following years, Paul took on several other Executive Chef positions in fine dining settings before challenging himself with the Corporate Chef position with CRAFT Beer Market. After opening 3 locations and establishing the food program at CRAFT, Paul felt it was to move onto his next challenge. Paul is currently working to build a new restaurant in Calgary which will be opening in early 2017.

He is dedicated to supporting sustainable seafood, supporting local farmers and suppliers, educating both aspiring chefs and food-lovers alike – as well as sharing his extensive food knowledge and love of the industry with anyone keen to learn. He continually works with suppliers to ensure both side’s needs are being fulfilled and continually create initiatives within his restaurants to ensure that happens.

John Wildenborg
Head Cheese, Master Meats

John Wildenborg John Wildenborg started at Master Meats in1990 and quickly worked his way to the top. It didn’t hurt that he married the boss’s daughter in 1991. Master Meats which was founded in 1976, was mostly a wholesale supplier of meat to some of the finest dining establishments in Calgary. In 1999 John purchased the business from his father-in-law and over the years the vision of Master Meats slowly changed to make what was usually only available to high end restaurants available to the general public. Master Meats is a cut to order butcher shop that sells only the finest AAA Alberta Beef that is aged to perfection, along with succulent pork, farm raised chicken, and exotic meats. After 40 years in the same location, Master Meats relocated to a brand new facility in 2016, at 4127 6th Str. NE to handle the increased demand for their products. John, along with Marie, Mario, Daniel, Justin, Robin, and Cole, take pride in what they do. At Master Meats, they like to consider themselves artisans not just butchers.

Michael Allemeier
Chef and SAIT instructor

Michael AllimeierChef Michael Allemeier has traveled the world and Canada learning his craft. Prior to joining SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) as a Culinary Instructor, Chef Allemeier ran some of Western Canada’s most recognised kitchens. While in Vancouver BC, Chef Allemeier was Executive Chef at Bishops Restaurant, then Teatro Restaurant in Calgary, AB. Allemeier’s passion for food and wine pairing was realised with the call to lead the stoves at Mission Hill Family Estate in the Okanagan Valley, BC.

During his career, Chef Allemeier has received many awards and accolades the most notable occurring while he was Executive Winery Chef at Mission Hill Family Estate, when Travel and Leisure Magazine awarded him the honour of leading one of the “Top Five Winery Restaurants in the World”.

Currently Chef Allemeier is a CMC Candidate and is working on achieving this designation. The CMC (Certified Master Chef) is the toughest, rarest and highest culinary designation in Canada and is internationally recognised in the industry as a Master of the Craft.

Tony Marshall
Owner, Highwood Crossing

Tony MarshallTony Marshall is both a serial entrepreneur and a cereal entrepreneur.

He has a varied and successful business background spanning more than five decades – most recently, as the president and co-founder, with his wife Penny, of Highwood Crossing Foods. Tony and Penny also own and operate Highwood Crossing Farm – a certified organic heritage farm that has been stewarded by his family for over 120 years.

Tony is a strong community supporter and volunteer having served nationally on the board of directors for The Canadian Organic Growers Association and is a past member of the Canadian Expert Committee on Organic Agriculture. He is also an active member and past president of the Rotary Club of High River. He is the recipient of a Growing Forward – Innovation in Agriculture Award and was a nominee for the Ernst & Young 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year. Tony and Penny were recently named Canadian Food Heroes by Slow Food Canada.

Dave Bohati
Free Agent Chef

Dave BohatiKitchen duties began with washing dishes and eventually cooking at a seafood restaurant in Victoria BC in 1998. After working my way around the restaurants of Vancouver Island for 10 years, I made the move to Vancouver to see some professional kitchens. In 2010 I arrived in Calgary to cook at “Rush”.

It was after a good 3 years at Rush I had the opportunity to open the restaurant Market, on the hip and trendy Calgary strip of 17th Avenue. That is where I was able to cook the food that I really wanted too make for our guests. I was fortunate to be able to work with a team that I had assembled over the last couple of years at the aforementioned restaurant. It was at Market where I was able to travel around the world to cook at exclusive events. I battled my way into the Culinary Championships of Canada by winning the Calgary division in 2014. Although I didn’t end up on the podium for the finals in Kelowna, I came away with another great experience.

John MacNeil
Executive Chef, The Belvedere

John MacNeilMy roots are on the East Coast of Canada in Cape Breton. I love watching people’s eyes light up at my uniqueness in growing up on one of the world’s best islands. New Waterford is my hometown, a coal min-ing community, which is rich in heritage, warmness and old fashioned family values. My strong roots and family have led me to the many successes that I have had and it is in my culinary artistry that I put value, love, and passion. I grew up in a loving family with a mom, dad, and sister that all shared my strong work ethic.

My journey through life has influenced the flavours that I add to my recipes. Upon graduation from high school, I was accepted into the Culinary Arts Program at Holland College on Prince Edward Island. It was at Holland that my gifted teachers molded this interest into a passion and cultivated my eagerness to learn everything there was about the world of food. I remember seeing a video on Chef Ferran Adria where he was doing things with food that I would have never believed was possible, through his molecular cooking style. It is through his silent mentoring that I always try to integrate molecular/ avant garde cooking in my menus. Holland College allowed me to spread my wings from an island boy to the Rocky Mountains in beautiful Banff where I cooked at Buffalo Mountain Lodge from 2001- 2002. I also worked at the prestigious Belvedere in beautiful downtown Calgary, where I added to my love of the fine dining world.

Andy Fennell
Owner, Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar

Andy FennellBored with the corporate world Andy was looking for a new challenge. While sitting in a coffee shop drinking hot chocolate and contemplating his next steps in life, Andy decided to work on the concept of a European style café that not only offered coffee but alcohol too. Andy had never even tasted a cup of coffee before he came up with the idea of Gravity but now with two young kids and a thriving community based business, he drinks plenty!

If you want to talk to Andy about grind settings, extraction rates or the tasting notes of coffee then you will probably receive a blank stare. Want to talk to him about your family, job or life in general? If so, you won’t be able to get rid of him.

October 20, 2016

Knifewear News: Our unmissable Garage Sale is around the corner once again.


For those of you that may not know what our Garage Sales are all about, here's the deal. We go to Japan and visit knifemakers. We visit ones we normally carry, and buy up stock we don't normally bring in, and we visit knifemakers we DON'T normally carry and ask them what they have that is impressive. THEN, we bring it all back to you, our favourite customer to gawk and drool over. (And for us to gawk and drool over also, tbh.) 

This Garage Sale is looking especially great, with hand forged Damascus kitchen knives, higo knives and axes, all from one of the best blacksmiths in the world, Kageura-san. This blacksmith is the real deal. He is one of the best we've worked with, so we are especially excited to have these hard to find items in the shop. He doesn't have an apprentice or employee, so when he retires, his skills will go with him. He's getting up there now and more interested in fishing. The time to get his knives is now.

We also have some hand made knives from Tojiro, made by both Tomo-san, the master blacksmith, as well as by Sayaka-san who, by all reports is the only female blacksmith apprentice in Japan. Very, very cool. Speaking of Tojiro, we'll also be running a sale on their rugged and sexy Flash line. 

Other fun items: sake sets, Takamura VG10 knives, knives by the son of legendary blacksmith Keijiro Doi, and of course the usual assortment or rando stuff we found in our travels. 

This is also the second online Garage Sale! We have a few knives on our website already, but you'll have to wait until November 7th to purchase. You'll want to check that page every couple days, we'll be adding stock to it as it arrives. 

Watch our Instagram and Twitter accounts for #knifewearGS
posts to see what else we have in store!


Calgary: @knifewearYYC
Edmonton: @knifewearYEG
Ottawa: @knifewearYOW
Vancouver: @knifewearYVR

In-store the sale starts when we open at 10:00 a.m. November 7 at all locations except Calgary Farmer's Market. If you are not in a city that has one of our stores, (Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Vancouver) then you can shop online. The online sale goes live at 10:00 a.m. Calgary (MDT) time. Use this handy tool to find out when that is in your timezone.

Offcuts 2017 Calendars Have Arrived!  

Keeping the momentum up after last year’s wildly successful first calendar, Offcuts 2017, Calgary’s finest stripped-down charity calendar, is officially off the presses and ready for purchase.

Once again the irreverent 12-month calendar is a celebration of Calgary’s restaurant and food scene, and also twelve of the fellas that infuse that scene with their winning personalities. They bravely let the clothes fall to show that they are more than just pretty faces. They also have big hearts that aren’t too proud to bare it all for a good cause.  

This year’s list of Offcuts: Jay del Corro (Eats of Asia / Host, The Aimless Cook), Eric Giesbrecht (Meta4 Foods / OysterTribe), Colin Leach (The Silk Road Spice Merchant), Robert Jewell (Double Zero Pizza / A is for Apple), Kevin McLean (J. Webb Wine Merchant Ltd.), Paul McGreevy (chef/mover/shaker), John Wildenborg (Master Meats), Michael Allemeier (SAIT), Tony Marshall (Highwood Crossing), Dave Bohati (free agent chef), John MacNeil (The Belvedere) and Andy Fennell (Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar).

The Offcuts calendar is available at Knifewear and Kent of Inglewood, and also on the website


Pick up a calendar, meet the Offcuts models,
and partake in some food and beverage!  
J. Webb Wine Merchant Ltd., 520 77 Avenue SE
(near the Calgary Farmer’s Market),

November 18, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

R.S.V.P. at Eventbrite

Phil and Sebastian
Guest Chef Night: Oct 24

Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters are great friends of ours. So when they asked us to put on a meal for their guest chef series we said, "You KNOW we don't do this for a living anymore, right?" But they thought it was a good idea, and so here we are. Kevin, Mike and Nathan will be preparing a From the Wild inspired meal and a superb cocktail in true Kent of Inglewood fashion. Here's the menu: 

Bison Prairie Stew  $8
Perogies with potato, cheese, onions and rye berries $8
Saskatoon Apple Crumble with pouring cream $6

Cocktail: The Railroad Spike $8
(Alberta Dark Horse rye, lemon peel,
dry vermouth, Crème de cassis) 

No reservations or tickets required. If you're in Calgary on Monday, October 24, from 6pm (until we run out of food) come down to Phil and Sebastian in Mission, 2207 4th Street SW, and get fed! 

From the Wild

If you were subscribed to our list last month, then you already know about the pop up we're opening in Kent of Inglewood Edmonton the first week of November. Our next mailout for this store will be on it's OWN mailing list. Please sign up for it if you'd like to know more. The From the Wild pop-up will be devoted to the finding, securing and cooking of food in the great Canadian wilderness. The goods have been coming in and the store is coming together. We're so excited about this new store that we thought we'd give a bit of a teaser so you can share in it. So, here's an incomplete list of From the Wild suppliers: 

Len Thompson lures (including special edition FtW lures!)
Shimano reels
Woolpower Östersund long underwear
Trangia camp stoves
Sangudo jerky and landjaeger 
Frost River packs
Yu Kurosaki knives 
Lodge pans

...and for the first time ever, season one of From the Wild, the online show by Kevin Kossowan and inspiration for the shop will be available on DVD! 

Watch the season one trailer: 

For more information about From the Wild,
please sign up for our mailing list. 

From the Wild shop on Twitter
From the Wild shop on Instagram
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