The Workhorse

Origin Stories

The Workhorse

The knife world is a funny world. Although nothing really goes out of style, some things just get old and pushed aside. Over the course of many years we have seen trends come and go, handles, metals, saya materials …. But one thing has always stayed true when picking your tool of choice for the kitchen. Everyone wants a workhorse.

Its your trusty companion, your go-to, the one that always has your back.

The “name goes here” knife, usually something like Lucille, Betsy, Jo.. it's the one thats been in your dirty tool roll forever. Mcusta is that knife to us. They aren’t 100% handmade, they don’t have a centuries long tradition with old men and forging spring hammers, they are just damn good knives. Family run and operated since 1957 when patriarch Hasegawa started Silky, a scissor company and maker of our all time favourite pair of kitchen scissors - SILKY!. When piecing together the first version of the shop, the first company I thought about contacting was Mcusta.

KNIFE's First location on Queen St in 2013

Years ago I had fallen in love with the Masanobu line they had created exclusively for Korin in New York. Out of my budget at the time meant that I could only gawk at them. Fast forward a few years and I thought to myself, if I can’t buy them? why not just start selling them? These were amazing knives that hadn’t been in Toronto before.

Mcusta Zanmai KNIFE Toronto

I was first introduced to the then overseas sales manager Tomo. We exchanged what seemed like thousands of emails. The first thing he wanted to know was whether I knew how to sharpen. Imagine selling your family’s life work over to some yahoo that didn’t know how to take care of it?

We talked about food, baseball and soccer, and after he sized me up and realized that I wasn’t just some idiot trying to push knives, he sent me a price list.

Our first order was tiny. Something like 10 knives. A friend of mine was in the room when the package was delivered. One of the first ones for the store. There was palpable excitement in the air as we both looked at each other and I rushed to grab a box cutter. The knives arrived perfectly packed in tight bubble wrap. One by one we opened them to check and marvel at the workmanship. They were the original style I fell in love with. The now named Mcusta Hybrid VG-10. The handles were squeaky clean to the touch and they still had that slight scent of metallic almost acid smell that you get when you scrub stainless steel. We were in love all over again. They went straight up on the wall.

With the retirement of his father, my original sales contact of years Tomo - san, was promoted as president of the company. I will never forget that after hearing the news of his promotion, I emailed him wishing him all the best of luck and looking forward to the new person I would be dealing with.

His reply in broken English was essentially that you’re an idiot, I will always be your contact here at Mcusta. “Change your attitude”. That was that.

Tomo visits us in Toronto every year. He doesn’t have to, he just does. We have one quick meet up at the shop, talk about knives, then we go get drunk somewhere local. I think this time around maybe we’ll eat a little more before.

Exciting news! We're teaming up for something really special. Its been a little over a year, but its coming , promise. More news to come!

thanks for reading - EO


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