Galen Garretson Town Cutler Owner and Founder


 In 2011, Galen Garretson opened Town Cutler after working in kitchens for over ten years. Before working in restaurants, Galen had always been fascinated with knives, learning how to sharpen knives from his father, who was also a knife nerd. Receiving his first pocketknife at five, Galen grew his collection to a few dozen by age ten. This fascination with knives was the main thing that brought him into kitchens, starting his career at the age of 16, at Heise’s Steakhouse in Carson City, Nevada.

After working in kitchens for a couple of years, Galen decided to move to San Francisco and enrolled in the California Culinary Academy in 2003. After graduating, he worked his way through San Francisco at Beach Chalet, Mecca, Town Hall, Magnolia, Wayfare Tavern, and Quince. It was at Quince when Galen decided to hang up the chef coat and open up Town Cutler. At Quince, Galen and Chef Tusk often discussed their shared appreciation for antique knives, and it was these conversations that would form the early ideas of Town Cutler. During service, Galen would write down his ideas for Town Cutler on a napkin and compile them at home after a long shift in the kitchen.

Despite being a famous culinary city, San Francisco had no local cutlery stores for cooks to visit that offered both a wide variety and extensive knowledge of knives. At the time, many cooks were left to purchase knives online without being able to talk with an expert or feel a knife before purchase, both of which seemed essential. In addition to creating a high-quality knife store, Galen wanted to offer an expert knife sharpening service, where techniques and methods could be openly showcased and shared with customers. The idea of Town Cutler was not just to be a well-informed and stocked hub for professionals and home cooks, but as a place to widely share information and help educate people about knives. 

After opening Town Cutler, Galen met Mastersmith Aaron Wilburn and began visiting his shop with an interest in learning how to make knives. A primary goal of his had always been for Town Cutler to have an in-house line of cutlery and within a couple of years, Galen started making and selling custom-made culinary knives. While there had always been American knife makers, Galen says when he started making knives, “Most of the knives available at the time were from Germany and Japan.” Feeling it was time for American made knives, Galen wanted Town Cutler to be a part of a new wave of knife makers. One way that Town Cutler sets itself apart in this new generation of knife makers is how Galen's culinary background informs and inspires the making. The experience and needs of the professional chef are at the core of Town Cutler, whether when designing a knife, creating new culinary tools, or making sure that you have a reliable and sharp knife.

Favorite TC Product: “The Hankotsu and fillet. I mainly butchered when I worked in kitchens, and these were my favorite knives. Plus they are some of the most difficult to make.”

Fun Fact: “A couple of days after owning my first knife, at the age of 5, I fell when running through the house with the blade open. The blade stabbed my head, and I had to get six stitches. I still have the scar and the knife!”

Danny - Chicago Store Manager

On a West Coast vacation in early 2017, Danny was probably one of the first Chicagoans to hear about Town Cutler’s plans to venture to the Third Coast. Little did he know, he would be working to open the second Town Cutler location. Previously, Danny had been the Executive Chef at mfk., a 28-seat restaurant owned by a Charlie Trotter veteran. After, he refined his cooking skills at the Michelin star restaurant, Entente.   

Favorite TC Product: The custom steak knives. “Throw away those serrated blades you’ve been using and upgrade immediately! They are beautiful. Your dinner guests and their pork chops will thank you.”

Fun Fact about Danny: He used to ride a vintage moped but after he totaled his (watch out for those parked cars!), he switched back to four wheels. Nowadays, he’s into driving anything with a sunroof and David Bowie on the radio.

Josh - San Francisco Store Manager

Bio coming soon!!!

Behind the scences

Heather- Brand Manager & Operations

Heather handles all things related to organizing and communicating the interworking of Town Cutler by translating our maker madness, giving it form, and putting it out into the world. She is heads our social media, website, and marketing, and is Galen's main co-conspirator at Town Cutler. Before joining the team, Heather worked in the art and restaurant industries, bringing with her a keen eye and desire to weave a sense of service and hospitality into everything we do.

Favorite TC Product: "The hankotsu! I don't do a lot of butchery, but I love the look and feel of this knife. It begs to be used."

Fun Fact: "Despite having too many unused kitchen appliances, I'd be happy with just a sharp knife and a pot big enough to cook lots of pasta."

(Photos by Alison Christiana)