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Vendor Interview: Meet Taylor of Se Ecglast

Discussion in 'Life on the Edge' started by Toothpick, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

    Who are you? Where are you located?

    My name is Taylor, and currently, I live in Reno, NV. I am originally from Las Vegas, but I'm enjoying the atmosphere and community here in Reno too much to go anywhere else. Being close to Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River make the summer a pretty amazing place to relax, combined with all the festivals going on around here. On top of that, there's been a movement to grow the farm to table aspect of food in the region, which I think makes living here even better. It has been amazing to meet the local chefs, farmers, and local foodies that are sharing their passion for locally sustainable food. When I'm not cooking or playing with knives, I'm probably doing housework, building my shop, or playing disc golf. A pretty eclectic group of hobbies, but I couldn't ask for more right now.


    How do you take your coffee?

    To be honest here, it's usually in the form of alcohol like Kahlua mixed with milk, and I do make my own Kahlua. The only coffee that's ever tasted good to me, has been Turkish coffee which I make from time to time in my ibrik. Yes, I realize I probably have never had a great cup of coffee either, but there are other things that make me sane in the morning.

    What is your favorite dish to make?

    This is a hard one, since I like a variety of food. If I had to choose something, it would probably be a rib eye steak with a coriander pepper crust cooked medium rare. Paired with rice, heirloom tomato, grilled bell peppers, and a garlic lemon vinaigrette. The flavors go so well together, and a nice marbled piece of rib eye is just flat out amazing if cooked right.

    Care to share a recipe or two?

    Funny thing is, I don't really use recipes all that much. In a professional kitchen, I'd get my ass handed to me for not keeping track, but for just around the house, I like the freedom of just picking up whatever is available in season, and figuring out what to make. I just try to use quite a bit of vegetables when I cook, as they are a vast resource of flavor that really can push dishes to the next level.

    How about a cooking technique?

    Not really a technique, but my thoughts on cooking meat stem from thermodynamics. The amount of heat applied to a piece of meat is directly proportional to the pressure exerted on that piece of meat. Aka, if you put a piece of meat to high heat, there will be a lot of pressure exerted on that piece of meat that will try to squeeze juice out of it. High heat is also necessary for good flavor (Maillard reaction). So, there's a balance between how thick a piece of meat is, and how hot you want to cook it at. It explains why you want to cook a big piece of meat low and slow, while a steak you'll want to cook it as high as you can to get a good crust (but not burning it), and still getting the internal temp where you want it.

    What is your favorite "home cooked meal". (made by you or someone else).

    Again, don't really have a favorite. Just put me in a room with good friends and family with a few drinks, and I'll be happy as a dog on a lap.

    If you could have breakfast/lunch/dinner with anyone alive or dead who would it be and what meal would you eat?

    I think I'd go with a few people here, including Julia Childs, Jaque Pepin, and Martin Yan. Should be an interesting table, with a few good stories, and maybe an opposing thought on food here and there. I'd make them each cook two dishes (they aren't getting a meal for free here), and the only stipulation would be no sour cream anywhere.

    Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget? Or just something you reach for time and time again? (besides knives)

    My Wagner Ware cast iron pan. It is used pretty much daily, and can serve double duty flattening chicken breasts or crushing spices.

    Speaking of knives, do you have a favorite kitchen knife?

    My favorite knife at the moment is the one I got to make with Hoss. It was such a pleasure meeting him, and being led through the process from start to finish. It is one of those moments that pushed me in to going down this path, and I'm truly blessed to be able to actually follow it.


    How many knives do you own? What kinds?

    I have at least 25 kitchen knives of varying degrees. I have a few from my grandfather who was a butcher for a short time in Virginia City, NV. A few I got while I was actually cooking in restaurants, and a bunch since then for my own personal collection. Everything from meat fabrication to sushi knives, with almost everything in between.

    You're stranded on a desert island and you can only have one knife...what do you choose?

    I'm going with something sturdy here, and that could be used in a bunch of situations. It would have to be my Bill Burke utility knife. I could see myself breaking down a fish with it after it was used as the spear point, and I've already used it to cut through tree branches, so I know the edge can handle whatever I throw at it. Icing on the cake, is that it sharpens pretty easily, and takes a great edge.


    What's the best and worst part about running an online business?

    Worst part is never knowing when a sale is going to come. You have to constantly check the website and emails to make sure you aren't ignoring anyone. The best part is the freedom to get stuff done in your spare time. My girlfriend/fiance just got a house last June, which I've been putting a lot of hours in to fix up.

    How did you become confident enough with sharpening to offer it as a service to customers? Any formal training or was it 'learn as you go'?

    I've sharpened knives on oil stones since I was 9 years old, and in the last 5 years, switched to whetstones. I wasn't sure about offering it as a service, but local chef's and other business's that I've done demos for encouraged me to go for it. I was told the edges I created were amazing, and that Reno doesn't have anyone doing this here (a local supermarket sharpens for free, but you often see the knives destroyed when you get them back). No formal training though, just lots and lots of practice, cramped hands, and sore back. But, as you learn more and more, you find things that add to your comfort level, and make things easier while still getting great results. I honestly wouldn't sharpen any other way, but that's just my personal thing.

    What would you recommend to someone just starting out sharpening their own knives?

    I would recommend to go slow when you start, remember that speed comes with practice and experience. Worry about keeping a consistent angle with the knife, and constantly look at where the knife is meeting the stone to see where you are removing metal. It's all about creating a consistent bevel along the length of the knife. If you can do that, the rest becomes a lot easier.

    Are you a one man army or do you have a support team?

    I do most of the day to day stuff myself. I'm lucky to have a girlfriend that takes amazing photo's when I need the product to shine, but I try to keep all the design aspects to my personal taste. The community has been great where I am, and to have people truly believe in what you're doing is far more support than I could have ever dreamt of finding.

    Is this your only job? What do you do for a living?

    This is my only job right now. I quit my last job to pursue this idea, and though it has been stressful and difficult without a lot of reward as of yet, it feels like the tide is beginning to shift. My shop is almost complete, for what I can put in the garage, and the sharpening side is pushing me over the top to be able to cover all my bills. I told myself it was a sink or swim deal, since I knew I would most likely not put as much effort in to it, if I had something to fall back on.

    Would you like to add any final words for the members of the KKFora?

    I'd like to thank Jim for creating a great community. It is a pleasure to jump online here, and read what everyone is up to. I've found a great deal of people here embody why I want to go down this road. Without meeting and talking to the folks here, I'm not sure I could say it was worth it. Kind of like meeting the farmer you get your meat and vegetables from, just the other way around. I like meeting the people I do business with, even if it doesn't happen to be face to face. So, another thank you to everyone here, it's been a blast, and I hope to be able to contribute even more, as the pace starts to pick up on my end.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  2. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

  3. WildBoar

    WildBoar Founding Member Contributor

    Thanks! It's nice to read a little more of your story.
  4. Awesome!! I was born in Carson City, and spent part of my young life there. I moved back when I was 17, away again at 19, and back again (to Fernley) in 2010...then back here in 2011 lol. I love the area, and yes...Lake Tahoe and the rivers in the area are a flat out joy. If I could retire anywhere in the US (and could afford it lol), it would probably be Tahoe. I also have sisters and cousins in Dayton, and aunts and cousins in Reno. Knowing you're up there as well makes me wish I was doing the kitchen knife thing when I was living there!

    Btw, is it only me that can't see the pictures?
  5. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

  6. Yep!
  7. Taylor

    Taylor Professional Craftsman Founding Member

    Thanks for the interview Jason! I had a lot of fun doing it.

    I appreciate the kind words David!

    I wish you were up here doing your knife thing Cris! There aren't a lot of people in the area with expertise when it comes to knives, so it would be great to be able to share ideas in person. I'll cross my fingers that you can retire in Tahoe. The food scene here is miles from where it was just a couple years ago.

    Seems I got pretty lucky starting my business when I did, as Reno is currently undergoing a tech boom. Artisans are starting to become high in demand, and even without having a knife ready to go, I've got multiple people interested in getting something custom from me as I start out.

    If anyone has anymore questions for me, feel free to ask. I always enjoy sharing and hearing other peoples' stories!
  8. chefcomesback

    chefcomesback Founding Member

    Great read, thanks for sharing
  9. Jim

    Jim Old Curmudgeon Founding Member

    Thanks for doing the interview Taylor, and thanks to Jason for getting it organized!
    Great to get to know you a little better.

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