Filipino company Nacionale Bladeworks was a project born out of couple Ryan & Karen David’s love for the rugged and fast-paced nature of a professional kitchen.
Ryan has been fascinated with kitchen knives since culinary school. He collected Zwilling knives and Chinese cleavers. In 2017, he saw a YouTube video of Anthony Bourdain visiting Bob Kramer’s knife workshop. That triggered his fascination with knives and he got so obsessed that he continued exploring knives at a deeper level. He learned the various steel types, knife styles, hardness ratings and history and learned how to sharpen using whetstones. He even bought a belt grinder to learn how to shape knives.
Ryan and Karen started Nacionale Bladeworks so they could provide alternative, more personalized knife options for cooks and chefs. Their knives are a bridge between factory-made knives and ultra-expensive custom, artisanal knives. Their goal is to make beautiful, high-performance knives that use the best materials at relatively affordable prices.
They use high-performance steel for their blades and unique, repurposed handles assembled locally with a team of small artisans.
Some chefs that use Nacionale Bladeworks’ knives include JP Anglo of Sarsa; James Beard Award’s Best Chef Mid Atlantic 2019 and former chef of Bad Saint, Washington, DC, Tom Cunanan; Charles Montañez, the chef of Alegria Manila, Alegria Singapore, Kilo Kitchen SG, and Camp Kilo Charcoal Club; Kevin Carvalho, executive chef of Dean & DeLuca Hawaii; Tyler Kessler; sous chef at Wine Market at Fountain Square, Indiana; and Jordan Borlaza, executive sous chef of Wood & Salt Tavern in California. I am thrilled to see these Philippine-made knives being used by chefs around the world.
Their bestselling knives would be their skateboard-handle knives, which are currently out of stock, but they are constantly improving the material so they are excited about their new batch of handles. I myself have been using their 215-mm San Mai Gyuto knife with skateboard handle for a little over a year and I love using it! Cutting and slicing vegetables or meat has never been easier for me!
If one were to get one knife from Nacionale for an all-around beginner's knife, they suggest getting their western-style Gyuto, which is very easy to maintain and care for. Its edges stay sharp for a very long time.
Aside from knives, they also offer plating tools (spoons, tweezers, spatulas, and thermometers), knife rolls and knife guards, and sharpening tools (whetstones, leather strops).
Check out www.nacionalebladeworks.com.
Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.