I’ve been wanting to blog about Hacher & Krain since I first stumbled upon the shop many months ago. The small space on Toronto’s Dupont Street is so beautifully designed I think it merits a post even if the product can’t really be considered decorative.
Owner Greg is a bit publicity shy and didn’t want his last name or photo used: “The store’s not about me, it’s about the knives,” he insists. What’s so impressive is that he designed the small shop and chose all the wood himself to lovingly show-off the knives he is so deeply passionate about.
Greg reveres the knife as the quintessential union of form and function. Displayed like jewellery in exquisite cases, Hacher & Krain’s knives represent the best in knife craft from around the world and not a Henkel in sight. Greg is a knife snob who says, “Henkel is not a knife company, it’s a marketing company.”
Greg opened Hacher & Krain in February 2012 following a first career in publishing and graphic design. A home chef who loves to cook, he knows the importance of having a good knife at the ready and his interest led him to research and seek out the best knives in the world. And while Hacher & Krain is certainly a specialty shop, its prices seemed eminently reasonable to me. Knives from Spain, France, Germany, Japan, Finland and Italy mostly fall in the $100 – $200 price range. “You don’t have to spend huge money to get a great knife,” says Greg.
Cutting boards, which Greg makes himself from beautiful maple, cherry and black walnut, range from $25 – $150: one of these beauties is definitely coming home with me on payday.
From the biggest, most intimidating clevers — apparently Greg sells a lot of them to vegetarians who find they make tidy work of a tough old squash — to the most precious pocket knives, Hacher & Krain has a knife for every purpose and occasion.
Of course, I asked Greg what kind of knife he uses at home and he expressed a preference for one of the world’s oldest and best knife makers, Sabatier-K from France. I also asked about knife sharpening, which Greg is happy to do for his customers, and he gave me a little primer on how to handle a honing steel (apparently I’ve been applying too much pressure).
I thoroughly enjoyed my time chatting with Greg about the arcane and fascinating world of the knife. What he doesn’t know on the subject isn’t worth knowing. If you’re in the market for a great knife I highly recommend a visit to Hacher & Krain.