Quintin Middleton, Middleton Made Knives
Have you ever wondered why chef’s knives cost so much and why a knife roll is such a no-touch item in a professional kitchen? Then listen up. I took the long drive out from Charleston, past suburban strip malls then past country roadhouses to arrive in deep, wide, Lowcountry farmland to visit Quentin Middleton. It was about a million degrees and the cicadas were blasting almost as loud as my car radio as I pulled up to his home in Saint Stephen, SC., behind which was a workshop where all the magic happens. That workshop was open to the heat, filled with gospel music, the whirring of a grinder, and the man himself, bent over his work until the last minute I arrived. Middleton Made Knives are famous -- but then again I probably don’t have to tell you that -- since you’ve seen these custom made knives in the hands of everyone from Sean Brock to Robert Irvine. Quentin himself seems somewhat of a quiet man, but you get him talking about Conan the Barbarian or the technical details of knife making, and he goes there and more, riffing on thoughts of passion, determination, and dreams. He’s living his dream, deep in a part of SC that most tourists never trespass, but as he tells it, he’s just getting started.