Name: Dereyk Patterson
Title: Knife Maker
Many people use many different paths to get into this industry. Can you tell us a little bit about how you arrived at this point in your career? How did you start?
I have been making furniture by hand since 1994. I have always had a passion for making things; taking them apart and then putting them back together in more efficient and more beautiful ways. After roughly 23 years of making furniture, I was getting hungry for a new challenge and a new art form. I wanted a different creative outlet and wanted to work with and for other creative minds. With furniture, I was often finding myself spending two years custom making furniture to outfit a 15,000sf vacation home that would only be used two months out of the year. Essentially, I was filling museums with my art. I wanted to create pieces that would be used. Pieces that would be held every single day. And with knives, the things I make are actually helping other talented people, Chefs, create their own art. When I found knifemaking, I knew I had my new creative outlet.
What trends have you noticed over the past 18 months? What’s getting hotter and what’s declining?
With knives, form and function are both incredibly important. The edge retention of Japanese powdered steels are very popular right now. Core Damascus is super hot. I think a killer material is san mai layered steel over a hard carbon core. I can’t really see any changes in the future.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about your job?
As I have done with all my work: NEVER cut corners on materials. I always use the best, regardless of cost. SG-2 is harder than carbon. I love working with it.
“Keep it simple and elegant. Do not cut corners. Always provide the best. If you think it’s not 100% and it’s 99% do not let it out the door. Much of my design inspiration is drawn for the Japanese aesthetic… and if you’ve studied Japanese culture, architecture, or art, you know why: it’s austere (and I mean that lovingly) and beautiful. The Japanese understand there is beauty and purpose in simplicity. “
What are the top two things people should know about you?
I am relentless in learning how to make my product better. I also have a wicked dark sense of humor.
Tell me about your proudest professional moment.
That had to be when one of my knives was presented to the great Chef, Jacques Pépin. There is a fundraiser every year at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton, NY. The event also honored Jacques Pépin and, as a token, one of my pieces was given to him. This is a man who has dedicated his life to making great food and great experiences through hospitality. He is known all over the world as one of THE great Chefs… and now one of my knives is in his kitchen. Generally, it’s always been a challenge for me to accept credit for being a maker and I’m terrible at receiving praise but I rolled right with it. It was really a thrill to meet him.
Last time you dined out, what was your favorite dish? OR…Last time you dined out, what did you drink?
It had to be that same night that I met Jacques Pépin: there was this medium rare duck breast with peaches… it was off the charts. I don’t know if it was just the association with the adrenaline of that night… or nostalgia, but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten something that good.
Do you know an amazing individual that should be featured?
Contact us here and we will get in touch!