Knifewear's Knife Store (Hamono-ya) quietly opened in March 2008. The Knife Store has become a destination/hang-out for those who love Japanese steel and are addicted to sharp. We carry knives not found in any other shop in Calgary. We like exclusive, scary sharp, high performance blades.
We aim to offer expert knife knowledge, an enjoyable purchasing experience, after sale support and knife passion.
Knifewear owner and president Kevin Kent’s fascination with handcrafted Japanese knives began while he was working as sous-chef for the legendary chef Fergus Henderson at St. John restaurant in London, England. Back in Canada in 2007 he began selling them out of a backpack from the back of his bicycle, while working as a chef in Calgary.
He 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.
Today, Kent is still just as obsessed with Japanese knives as the day he first held one. A couple times a year, he travels to Japan to meet with his blacksmith friends and drinks far too much sake. Each visit he learns more about the ancient art of knife-making. Through this obsession Knifewear has expanded to include five Knifewear stores in Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Edmonton. Plans are also underway to open a store in Kyoto, Japan. He refuses to confess how many Japanese knives he owns … but he admits the number is rather high.
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @knifenerd and find out more about the stores at knifewear.com, and if you meet him in person, ask him to tell you his Lou Reed story.
Follow Kevin on Twitter @knifenerd
Kevin's Knife: Mugen HAP40 Petty 150mm
Mike was a chef for 15 years and and has been a knife aficionado for most of them. His love of Japanese knives began, coincidentally, when Knifewear began. Mike decided that it was time to get out from behind the stoves and hanging out at Knifewear wasn’t paying the bills so he hired himself. We rehabilitated him into a life of knives and shaving in 2012. He loves to talk about food and cooking as well as knives. Mike is the General Manager of all our shops.
Mike's Knife: Masakage Kumo Sujihiki 270mm
Since early 2010 Kasumi has been bringing a bit of class to Knifewear. Though she insists she's not a knife nerd, we often catch her contemplating her next purchase. She makes bagels at home and ice cream too, how cool is that? Kasumi is now our Manager of both Calgary stores. We often wonder how she ended up with a bunch of misfits like us.
Kasumi's Knife: Takamura Uchigumo Sujihiki 270mm
Naoto came to Canada 7 years ago and we aren't letting him go back. After getting angry with his roommate's dull knives, he started to dream of sharp Japanese knives. Naoto graduated from University of Calgary with a bachelor degree of art, majoring International Relations and finds that selling Japanese knives is his own way of doing international relations. Naoto is our Head of Shipping and receiving. You can also see him in SpringHammer looking cool and holding it all together.
Naoto's Knife: Masashi SLD Gyuto 180mm
After wrestling crocodiles and dingos for the first five years of her life in Australia, she moved to Canada to go into hiding as a Canadian. If you want to know about the benefits of a straight razor or a safety, she uses both and loves to wax poetic on the subject. You'll most likely meet Kate with a Doctor Who mug full of coffee in hand. She loves Doctor Who, classic rock, chocolate, and above all, dogs! Catch her on the right day, and she might even be nice to you.
Kate's Knife: Ironwood Handle Fujiwara Denka Petty 120mm
Chantal likes horses and knitting and dying her hair and karaoke. She's originally from London Ontario. Her favourite colour is purple.
She hates the smell of patchouli. Her favourite food is tacos, least favourite is most seafood.
But especially tilapia (they're the racoons of the sea).
Chantal's Knife: Kotetsu R2 Ko-Bunka 130mm
Mason's job is to make Knifewear and Kent of Inglewood look cool. Which is an easier job than it looks (don't tell Kevin) since both are much cooler than Mason. He enjoys owning knives that make him feel like a much better cook than he actually is, and looking at razors that make him wish he shaved more than once every five years.
Mason's Knife: Masakage Yuki Gyuto 210mm
Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Yuji is no stranger to crazy Dotonburi nights, tako yaki and NIhonshu. He is a mad guitar player and one of his bands seem to be playing somewhere every week. If you hear a blues record playing at the shop it’s a sure bet to be something from Yuji’s collection.
Yuji's Knife: Masakage Kiri Nakiri 165mm
Spencer is currently training to become a professional marshmallow roaster with the hopes he can one day go pro. Between training he enjoys a plethora of food from all over the world. He likes Calgary because there is always such good food to be found around the city these days. Talk to him about cooking and he will be a happy man.
Spencer's Knife: Fujiwara Denka Gyuto 210mm
Hailing from rural Victoria, Australia, Luke spends his days selling knives, axes and shaving gear. When not at work, you'll find him engaged in a variety of projects in the kitchen, or cruising around town on his bicycle (which he rides year round). He also claims with confidence that any meal can be improved with jam. Luke's Knife: Masashi SLD Gyuto 240mm
TJ is man of few words. He sharpens all the things, and loves anything with a kiritsuke tip.
Sandy is a board game nerd. She loves to experiment with cooking and baking delicious goodies. She loves her shoes and is a big sneakerhead. Gotta have her Jordans!
A veteran of many great kitchens, Kris spent over a decade chained to stoves cranking out fine dining. After easing back into civil society by cheese mongering he found his way to Knifewear in the summer of 2014. Kris has a soft spot for 210mm Gyutos and an affinity for the amazing Aogami Super. He believes that no kitchen is complete without at least one Koishi.
Kris' Knife: Fujiwara Denka Gyuto 150mm
Owen is another ex-chef among our ranks. he has been Chef-ing in Edmonton for around 12 years but gave it up to be a human being again! An avid music lover, he plays guitar, loves Radiohead, and has probably been to about 500 concerts. Oh, and he can most definitely beat you in a game of Street Fighter. come chat with him about football, and steel!
Owen's knife: Kitaoka Suminagashi Kiritsuke 240mm
Adam has been in the culinary industry for ten years now. He’s a vegan, a husband, and he’s heavily invested in animal rescuing. Adam is also our resident axe nerd. If you ever have questions about axes or a good recipe without meat, he's the man to talk to!
We’re very proud to have Ai Yamamoto from Kawaguchi-Ko on the team in Edmonton! She left Japan to come to Vancouver in 2004 and has called Edmonton home since 2007. She says getting used to our harsh winters was the biggest challenge to overcome, but she loves it here because of all the friendly Canucks! She fell in love with all our awesome Japanese knives through working at restaurants, both back in Japan and here in Canada. Come see her to exchange recipes for Udon and to share photos of kitty cats!
Ai's knife: Masakage Zero Bunka
Dan’s a spicy meatball! As one of the few knife nerds who’s never ever worked in a kitchen, he brings the home cook’s perspective to the shop! He’s always experimenting with exciting flavours. Maybe sometimes too exciting. Ever made a kimchi and banana cake? Well, he has. Weird. When he’s not mad-scientist-ing in the kitchen, you’ll probably find him on the river valley’s bike paths or skateboarding with his kids.
Dan's knife: Moritaka Ishime 165mm Nakiri
Chris is a relocated Maritimer that can be found slinking in and out the back doors of Ottawa's restaurants, often with his daughter in tow. Chris has been a fixture in the Ottawa food scene for the past 10 years and has recently laid down his apron to learn the ways of Knifewear. Chris loves cooking big pieces of meat over a live fire and spends his summer feeding wood into his BBQ, Lemmy Smoke-mister.
Favourite Knife: Moritaka 240mm kiritsuke
An expert gardener and amateur hunter, angler, & forager, he is always
looking for delicious ways to utilize what he wanders home with. A staunch
believer in living simply and using quality tools, the rest of life falls into place.
Favourite Knife: Masakage Zero Honesuki
Another ex-chef turned professional Knife Nerd, Alex hails from the
metropolis of Trenton. His career in the kitchen started at The Niagara Food &
Wine Institute and finished at Union Local: 613 with our very own Lordy. Just
ask him about the time Chris drank a bottle of honey for $5…
Favourite Knife: Takeda NAS Bunka
One is not simply born a 'punkrock assassin', for it is a title that is thrust upon him." Our man Eric hails from the East coast, born and bred in Moncton NB. When he's not dazzling literally dozens of fans with whatever band he's thrown together, he can usually be found at home alphabetizing, then chronologizing his record collection. Once quoted by Reader's Digest as being perhaps 'the most polite guy in Canada', Eric has quickly fallen in love with all things Knifewear, and Knifewear has quickly fallen in love with him. Eric's knife: Masakage Koishi 165mm Santoku
An Ottawa native, “Jon Ben Jovi” spent 6 years slugging it out in the finance world ‘til he drank the Knifewear Kool-Aid. He’s the drummer for the world famous Yips, completed the Batman Challenge, and loves the Sens more than any man should.Favorite Knife: Masakage Koishi AS Bunka
Nic is an Ottawa native and Algonquin college culinary program graduate. After leaving the kitchen, he was drawn to Knifewear's rock and roll vibe. Nic can talk knives all day, and sharpen all night and be perfectly happy. He always has his knives on him, and is notorious for whipping out his 210mm Denka at any opportunity. When he isn't at the shop he is known to host fried chicken parties, and bus across the country for fun. Often seen out frequenting establishments with amazing beer and cocktails; however, he isn't above visiting a hole in the wall either.
Francis started his Culinary journey under a decade ago. He was always bashed around the kitchen for having the dullest knives and was only good for one purpose, cutting cake. He knew at some point he had to give up his chef whites to see what it was like outside the culinary world. It was only recently that his love for knives began thanks to a certain knife loving cyclist. Now he's all about being sharp.
Francis' knife: Fujiwara Denka Nakiri 195mm