After working for a decade as a chef in San Francisco, Galen Garretson shifted his focus to knives, sharpeners, and accessories with the opening of Town Cutler, his culinary knife shop. "The guys I worked with had expensive $300 knives, but they would always be dull," says Garretson. "Even my own knives were dull." In his narrow storefront in Nob Hill, Garretson spends about half his time carefully sharpening knives with a Japanese whetstone and a leather razor strop, and the other half of his time advising customers on selecting the proper knife. He is the exclusive dealer in the city for Zanmai, the au courant Japanese brand, and also carries knives by Kikuichi, Masamoto, and others. Go to Town Cutler for more information.
Above: The Town Cutler's window displays a cleaver poised on a butcher block.
Above: A vintage saw blade used as a sign,
Above: Garretson's top-of-the-line knives are made by custom knifemaker Aaron Wilburn of Redding, California. Pictured here is a chef's knife with a Damascus-style forged steel blade and handle of antique walrus ivory; $1,800.
Above: A selection of sharpening devices.
Above: Custom leather sheaths, for the discerning chef.
Above: Garretson has a selection of vintage chef's spoons (used for saucing and quinelling) on offer.
Above: "It was the knives and the fire that brought me into the kitchen," says Garretson, who plans to hold knife-sharpening classes in his shop.