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A Cut Above the Rest

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A Cut Above the Rest
Photos by Paul Cheney and Jonathan Boncek

QUINTIN MIDDLETON, BLADESMITH EXTRAORDINAIRE

The June/July 2013 issue of TLP features an outstanding line-up of knives that were selected to inspire home cooks to build a solid collection of these everyday essential tools. One standout in the group is the blade created by Lowcountry local, Quintin Middleton. It is clear that he excels at his craft because he is genuinely passionate and enthusiastic about knife-making. With a personality as big as his smile, we were eager to sit down and learn a little more about the man behind the knife.

The Local Palate (TLP): Knife making is such a specific skill—how did you become interested in it?
Quintin Middleton (QM): My interest started when I was a young boy watching fantasy movies such as Conan The Barbarian. I would make a play sword out of metal tubing that I would flatten with a hammer and cinderblock.

TLP: What is the process to become a bladesmith?
QM:
 There are many ways to become a bladesmith. I had a passion to make sword and knives at an early age; the drive was there but I didn’t have the knowledge. I later became an apprentice to Mastersmith Jason Knight and learned the trade from him.

TLP: How has the reception been in the South? We, of course, are big fans of your product—has there been a solid demand for them?
QM: To have success in any business you need to have a great product. Maybe because we’re in the South, Southern hospitality plays a big part in my reception.

TLP: Who influences you?
QM: Jesus Christ and my deceased Grandfather, Issac Middleton.

TLP: What influences you? For instance, the landscape, a skill or trade, a specific shape?
QM: I can’t give credit to any one thing, but I watch a lot of chefs at work and I ask myself, How can I make my knives better? Watching different chefs inspires me. I live by this quote: “My Passion Creates My Quality”.

TLP: How long does it take to make a knife, from start to finish?
QM: I can make a knife from start to finish in one day, but I work on twenty knives at time! That why my wait list is eight to ten weeks long and growing.

TLP: How long does one of your knives last?
QM:
 A lifetime, if it’s taken care of properly.

TLP: What does the future for Middleton Made Knives look like?
QM: The future of Middleton Made Knives is very bright. My business is all over the United States and international.

TLP: A good chef needs a good knife—what are you cooking in the kitchen?
QM: I use my own knives. My kitchen is like a research and development lab.

TLP: If you could have any other career (feel free to be as wildly optimistic as you like!) what would it be
QM: 
The CEO of Middleton Made Knives as a mass-produced product under my guidance and instruction, beating out or competing with top knife making manufacturers.