Don Nguyen

During college, I cooked a lot like an escape from coursework. I was at a friend’s house making chili, or curry, or something that involved a lot of onions. Well, all he had was a serrated steak knife. I don’t really want to recall that memory of trying to process through several onions with a small serrated knife but I think you can imagine what it was like. It triggered me to bring my own knife, which triggered me to learn how to sharpen, and many YouTube hours later, that triggered me to somehow get the idea to make knives – as a living. It was that sudden; I wanted to drop out of school right then and there to pursue a knifemaking career. There was a compromise of course – I did machining and welding at the community college, then Materials Engineering at the University of Arizona, while making knives part-time.

I just went full-time in 2017. I have an apprentice who is a good long-time friend, I’m working on improving and expanding in every aspect. The goals are to make more knives, the best knives that I can, and connect with the local community as much as I can. I'm immensely proud to call Tucson home and it is growing immensely as a food community – it was recognized as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in North America in 2015, and it’s got the closest network of food friends I have ever seen.