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.
Kasumi / Manager
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.
Back in the day Colin cooked at a couple restaurants in Edmonton, and he used to make knives too. He later moved to Toronto and was seduced by a career in music, though he continued sharpening knives for friends and family. By night, he DJ'd and produced beats as Ronin E-Ville, and by day he taught music at several universities, all while training to become a kung fu master. Colin eventually moved to Ireland, working as a music researcher for a couple years and learning to make shillelaghs. Since returning to Canada, Colin is stoked to be getting back to his roots with knives, happily nerding-out on steels, blacksmiths, and sharpening. If you want to know about Chinese-style cleavers (chuka bocho), Colin’s your guy!
Samii is our expert ceramic artist in the shop. Having spent years in the food industry while attending art school she is a lover of art, good food and beautiful knives! Fanatic of all things funky, flashy and perhaps a little gaudy. You're guaranteed to spot Samii in the shop rocking some flamboyant bright hair and fashion, and she's a big ol’ ray of sunshine and spunk in or out of the shop. You might see Samii out in the world at her art studio in Inglewood, hustling at markets being a badass local maker for her own brand Fox Den Studio or enjoying beers, punk rock and trivia in the city.
If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, you’re not the type of person for Connor, because he hates both of those things. He’d rather replace those rainy days and slushy drinks with Dungeons and Dragons, metal and punk, and comically bad puns. Connor comes from an industry background, graduating from the culinary program at SAIT, and busting out plates at local joints before making his way to the knife life. There’s good reason that we all refer to him as Sunshine, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with a shinier personality and positive mindset. With Connor, we’ve always got Sunshine on a cloudy day.
Kyle joined us all the way from Manila, Philippines with a prolific background in coffee and photography. He found Knifewear when he used to work at the coffee shop down the street, coming in on his breaks to see cool knives was foreshadowing, and now he's a fellow knifenerd like all of us. His culinary endeavors involve mixing his traditional Filipino food with other cuisines. Catch him on his days off taking incredible photos, looking for hidden local coffee shops and killing a filipino cosplay of Jacob Black 24/7.
Joining us from Manchester, UK, by way of Vancouver, Matt was introduced to Knifewear during the pandemic when West Coast Knife Nerd Ryan hooked up the kitchen with free sharpening (rewarded with a super sexy grilled cheese, of course). Since then, Matt has put his 10 years of kitchens behind him to get a grip (geddit?) on some awesome knives! Rocking some colourful tattoos, be sure to ask Matt about mid-west Punk, Pork Belly, and Pizza.
Meet Jacob! While bouncing around national parks and the west coast of Canada, one thing remained constant for him, his love of Barbecue. If you see him, feel free to ask him anything smoking related, because he loves a good brisket. Hailing from Calgary, Jacob came back from his adventures to be closer to family, and to go to marketing school. His love of food and sharp things eventually landed him a job at the Inglewood location, where they needed someone to reach stuff off the top shelf. If you see him, you’ll be greeted with a smile and wave, and he’s happy to help you find something that fits you perfectly!
From chef to knifenerd, Sebastien came to us from Sky360 when he realized his favorite part of being a chef was talking about the knives he owned. If you like random fun facts and out of nowhere tips and tricks, Sebastien is your guy. He often spends his free time refining his game builds and using molecular gastronomy to deconstruct his food like an alien from the future.
Meet Kat! A born and raised Calgarian who joined the Knifewear team after she escaped her life as a manager at a grocery store. She is a lover of flavourful body-builder food who wanted to explore the world of cool kitchen knives. She can often be found attending local shows and throwing herself into the mosh pit. If you ever need advice on which local shows to attend or how to make your recipe allergy friendly then Kat is your gal.
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.
After a decade of being chained to the stove, Adam enrolled in the Knifewear Chef Rehab Program, meaning he's almost a normal person! Our resident axe nerd and outdoor enthusiast, he's also a Kiritsuke connoisseur. Stop by with any axe questions or ask him about that time he won third best Donair in Edmonton!
Steve came to us from the world of bartending but has quickly realized that awesome Japanese knives are where it’s at. As someone who loves to cook at home, his approach to knives and how to use them is so helpful for everyone who is not a professional chef. He started off with a Masakage Koishi Bunka, and is now adding a Kurosaki Shizuku Gyuto to his collection. It’s safe to say that if Steve can use a sharp knife and not cut himself to pieces, anyone can do it.
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!
Mary brings a youthful energy to the store, and her passion for Japanese knives is infectious! She is excited to help everyone find their perfect knife and is your go-to gal for all the neat info about each blacksmith. Mary also runs an awesome hand-pinched ceramic company called Skavenger Ceramics. Pop in, and ask her about her love for Masashi-san’s knives and her new Fujiwara Denka!
Oh Hey! It's Gabe from Knifewear! Gabe is not a burned out chef but rather a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada! Ask him about his love of Oreos, he was in a commercial once. An instant convert to the world of Japanese knives, Gabe now has a growing collection and some sick sharpening skills!
Look! It’s Lauren, aka Lucette aka our resident rockstar! Lauren loves sharp knives, cooking like a seasoned pro in her home kitchen, and blue jeans! Seriously, she really likes blue jeans. Of no little fame, you can stream her music on any platform and even hear it in store! Come by and ask about her favourite bars in Nashville or chat about smoking meat.
It’s Jess! After 9 years of cooking, Jess has finally made it to chef rehab and is officially a classic knife nerd! She loves making pasta and sushi, and her ability to work with her hands has made her a quick study of knife sharpening. Ask her why the Tadafusa Hocho Kobo petty is the most important knife a line cook can own.
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.
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…
Bainer is about two things, cooking and eating; she likes a hole-in-the-wall as much as she does 3 Stars and always has the best recommendations. When she isn't talking knives with us, she's hustling & bustling over at Citizen or cooking up a storm at home. Her cookbook library rivals Cordon Bleu's and she's actually cooked out of all of them! Need a good recipe for bibimbap? She's got your back.
An Ottawan through and through, Mr. Mekki, the prefix he officially picked up in his year of teaching English in China, may be the most seasoned traveler of the Ottawa bunch. Having worked as a cook for the better part of a decade he is also no stranger to everything pickled, cured and fermented. In his spare time, you’ll find him grooving to hip hop or shreddin’ to punk and metal. A wealth of mostly useless factoids, Mekki is as quick answering any trivial question as he is shaping a pierogi. If you get the chance to meet Mekki, you should ask him how many pierogies he’s made, the count is very impressive and definitely too high.
Familiar story with this fella, a decade spent in the kitchen led him to Knifewear. Since joining the “Knifewear Restaurant Workers Rehabilitation ProgramTM” he’s back to enjoying actually cooking at home with his wife, who’s really the one in charge in the kitchen. With a fierce love of all things food, particularly pasta, he’s a natural fit with the rest of the crew at the Ottawa shop. Make sure to wave hello when you’re walking down Bank Street and he’s eating lunch on a bench in the sun.
Jessie is Knifewear Ottawa’s resident croc-wearing vegetarian. They’re passionate about cooking, gardening and community food security. Jessie has been working in hospitality and kitchens in both Ottawa and Toronto for over 12 years. In their spare time, you can catch them cycling around the city, drinking way too much coffee or having a picnic with friends in the park. Ask them about their favourite Keanu Reeves movie or tips on how to best take care of your house plants!
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!
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.
Hailing from Chiba (also home to Teruyasu Fujiwara) Ayumi moved to Vancouver for a holiday and never went back. When she was 18 she began a cooking career but eventually found her way out of the kitchen and behind the counter at Knifewear Vancouver. Aside from her love of Japanese blades, she's also into fermentation cooking, snowboarding, sewing, and being incredibly pleasant. If you're really nice to her, she may let you try some of her delicious home-brewed Sake!
Jordan Siu is a “Siurious” fan of food, cooking, knives, sharpening, and METAL! Not only has he got a badass set of pipes in that neck, he’s also a gigantic knife and sharpening stone nerd. Swing by and pick his brain about the practical uses of Autosol, and the somewhat more impractical uses of a mirror polished Higo knife. Also, grab some good headphones and check out his band “Inpathos” on almost any streaming service.
David used to be beer people, but now he’s knife people and loving every razor-sharp minute of it. His culinary goal is to cook like a mom or any matriarchal figure really. David is a simple man and thusly enjoys simple man activities: going for long walks, drinking good beer with good friends and watching The Mummy (the Brendan Fraser masterpiece, obviously). Come to the shop and talk with him about restaurants, music, life or even about your problems, he’s a good listener!
Regann Leavitt (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic. Leavitt is best known for her poetry and short stories, particularly her tales of mystery and the macabre. She is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States, and of American literature.
Upon further inspection, this appears to be the wikipedia entry for famed American writer Edgar Allen Poe. Thanks Regann!
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.
Ellie is a Shopify expert and tinker with with all types of software solutions. She started selling knives in the store, but saw how things could run more efficiently, and made it so. Ellie is passionate about products (just ask anyone she knows about quality canned seafood) and does her homework on every single item she purchased for herself and the store. In her free time you can find her arguing about mop buckets and planting the seeds of queer femme joy wherever she goes.
Naoto came to Canada several 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.
What can we say about Tiffany. One day she bought an axe from us, and then another one, and then she decided she wanted to work with sharp stuff all day long! Now she's crushing it running the warehouse, making sure that your packages get out in a timely manner. Tiffany has no problem getting her hands dirty out and about with axes, knives, and here in the shop sharpening. When you need insight on your next outdoor excursion, give Tiffany a call.
Nathan started at Knifewear in 2013, when he left the restaurant industry to slang knives. Nowadays, he handles our communications, social media, and YouTube channel. If you're reading words on this website or watching one of our videos, Nathan was involved. He spends his spare time growing food, cooking, fermenting food and booze, and enjoying the great outdoors.
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.
Brenda’s first passion in life is pizza. She also loves dinosaurs, Ninja Turtles, crocheting and cycling. She is wildly talented at customer service, and is the fastest in the West at quick draw telephone pick-up. She’s usually the one you talk to when you call the warehouse, she is amazing at solving a shipping problem, and sometimes she brings cookies to work which makes her team happy.
With a background as a professional photographer, Skye has done more than a few light tests with the shiniest knives she can find. Her big passions are food and photography, but ask her anything about cicadas, obscure church plays, or sharp things if you want her to seriously nerd out. Other interests include cozy video game nights in, wild day trips out, and cooking with obscene amounts of really good confit garlic olive oil.
Nolan was a chef with an extensive knife, spoon, and maybe every other kitchen utensil collection. As his collection grew, he became aware that the only path forward for him was to come to the source of his addiction! He’s brought his extensive collections and ample cooking knowledge to the warehouse where he truly shines as an ace customer service rep, shipper, receiver and bringer of treats.
On top of being awesome for advice on tools, cooking and camping, Nolan has amazing tattoos with great stories behind many of them– you should ask him about the greatest prank ever pulled sometime!
Tiago is an international man of mystery! He reveals himself to be funnier, more hardworking and a better problem solver every day. He keeps us on our toes in the warehouse and can move a pallet of charcoal with only his mind! (we think-- we haven't tested this). Tiago's favourite activities are waiting for the bus on super cold days and writing lists.