Former Azumi chef Andy Gaynor embarks on cutlery business

After 12 years in the hospitality industry, most recently six years as Executive Chef at Azumi, Andy Gaynor decided last December to take his knife skills to the next level.

He retired from the Harbor East Fishing Point to start Fire Knives, a custom knife company specializing in Japanese knives.

“When I was young, my parents were afraid because I sharpened things on my father’s mill,” says the chef. “I have always been fascinated by swords and weapons. I have a primary urge to do something that you can survive with.

Gaynor, who is also a beginning carpenter and furniture maker, tapped into his inner artist from an early age.

“I was fascinated by building things,” he says. “My mother was an architect. She taught me to draw. My grandfather was a steam pipefitter. He built boats. He grew up in a time when if you wanted something, you did – I grew up with that mentality.

With their screws and buffalo bone scabbards and maple or walnut wood handles, Gaynor’s handmade steel and carbon knives are works of art. They come in a variety of styles, from hammer-forged san-mai yanagi for slicing fish to a universal gyuto chef’s knife.

While they are easy on the eyes, they are also excellent ergonomically, with features not commonly found on store-bought knives, such as custom-made handles and a special channel on the blades. that prevent vegetables from sticking when chopped.

All of his hard work has paid off: chefs have embraced his knives, both locally (Julian Marucci from Tagliata and Pensiri Thammasathiti from Mayuree Thai Tavern are customers) and nationally.

“Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, a knife is something you hold onto all the time,” Gaynor explains. “It’s the most important thing in a kitchen.

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