We're excited to share one of our favorite Denver businesses with you: Carbon Knife Company. We've been lucky enough to work with Tina & Craig for the last two years and we absolutely love their shop! Every time we visit, we end up leaving with a new kitchen tool.
Carbon is carefully curated for the professional chef, but offers plenty of inspiration for the novice as well. They have done such a good job at stocking kitchen essentials, no gadgets that will sit in a drawer untouched for years. We especially love their collection of Japanese binchotan grills. Ok, perhaps these are not essential, but binchotan grilled pork belly might make you believe otherwise.
Pro Tip: Carbon also offers sharpening services for local Denver chefs and restaurants.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Denver?
Craig is from Sarasota, Florida and moved to Denver, in 2013. Tina grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii and moved to Colorado, in 1999.
What were you doing before you opened the doors at Carbon?
We were both chefs working at local restaurants in Denver.
How did the idea for Carbon Knife Co originate?
We wanted a “For Chefs, by Chefs” store where the industry can get specific tools like plating tweezers and spoons, good quality aprons, cookbooks, hand-forged Japanese knives, sharpening accessories, and also trust someone to sharpen their knives. At the end of the day, we’re just two chefs :).]
Were you nervous opening a brick & mortar store in the age of Amazon?
Yes... we are still competing with the struggles of online shopping. But most of our customers are really great; they are super supportive of buying small and local. The biggest comment about Carbon is that “Mom & Pop” stores like us are hard to come by. We totally agree. If everyone only buys from Amazon, there won’t be brick and mortar stores anymore. So, we’re super grateful that the industry has been so supportive of Carbon :). Thank you.
How do you decide which items to carry?
The items in our store are curated by both of us. We’ve either used the products or they come by high recommendation from customers/users. The knives we carry are specifically chosen. We think about how the knife is going to perform in a professional kitchen: how will the knife cut? Will it go through product with ease? How is the food release? How easy will it sharpen? How long will it stay sharp? How tough is the knife? These are just a few of the things we think of when selecting a knife to carry at Carbon.
You have a beautiful selection of Japanese knives and sharpening stones. How do you find these items?
We are honored to be able to carry the knives and stones in our store. We visit the knife makers and stone companies in Japan. They entrust us to take care of their products and to make sure we are properly representing them. We specifically select which products would be a good fit for our customers.
What is the best part of your job? The worst?
The best part of the job is that we get so many chefs and restaurant professionals in our store. It feels like we’re still in the industry. The worst is not cooking in the kitchen anymore. We both miss it very much... the adrenaline, the camaraderie, the banter, and being able to use a knife for hours a day.
What is the one kitchen gadget you can’t live without?
A sharp knife :)
Favorite thing to cook?
We really like to cook over live fire. Controlling the heat and flames is a different skill than stovetop cooking. It’s a fun challenge for us and everything tastes really good :)
I hope you enjoyed our interview with Tina and Craig! Be sure to pay them a visit if you life in the Denver area. Stay tuned for more interviews with local chefs, bartender, and restaurateurs coming soon!