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Don Nguyen
09-27-2012, 01:06 PM
We have so many awesome people here, but I know nothing about everyone. If it's not too much to ask, could you tell me a little about yourself?

I will go first. My name is Don The Nguyen. My middle name in indeed spelled The, but it's pronounced "Thay". My last name is pronounced similarly to "Win". So my name could actually be The Don, Dante, or Don The Win :)

I'm currently a Materials Science and Engineering student at the University of Arizona, and it's kicking my butt hardcore. I'll have to step it up a notch or seven. The reason why I got into the field was because I fell in love with knives and metal (metal a long time ago), but was determined to at least get a college degree before I try the knifemaking profession. After pondering back and forth for a while, I decided that Materials was a good field.

Well, I'm only 21, so there's not much else to my story. Going to school and wanting to make knives :thumbsup: It's been about a year since I started working on knives now that I think about it.

Carl
09-27-2012, 01:30 PM
I'm Carl (obviously), originally from Oklahoma but after HS have lived in Arkansas, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Korea, Hawaii (Oahu), SoCal, and now Oregon. Swam on the team as a kid, went to college on a scholarship for it. Joined the US Army for 11 years (thus the variety of living locaitons) and traveled the world as a GI, though never fought or was in an area with fighting, despite serving during the first Gulf War. Got out in 2000 before the big stuff happened.

My regular job is as a photogrammetrist. Short version of "what is that?" is I make maps out of aireal photos. Still curious? Wikipedia does better and explaining it than I do. Learned it in the army and still do it 24 years later.

Married for almost 17 years, 3 kids, 1 now a HS Freshman (gasp). Always had expensive hobbies, guns, hunting, cars, boats, basically anything with an engine or fire of some sort. A couple of years ago decided to go deeper into the BBQ hobby, moving from a little red bullet smoker to a big stainless restaurant surplus pit, with the possibility of opening a take-out. Decided on a food trailer, made a few bad choices, bad purchases, got hosed a couple of times, so now I'm playing catchup and invested way to much time and money into an old trailer with the intent of serving food out of it nights and weekends. Turns out to be my most expensive hobby ever, as anyone who is trying to open a food service business will tell you. But I'm enjoying it nonetheless. I have no training as a professional cook, don't count 4 years at McD's for that, but I love what I've found in the kitchen, even when it's in a trailer. Hopefully I'll be open before the end of the year. We'll see.

Cutty Sharp
09-27-2012, 02:14 PM
Hey, Don. Sounds cool - Mat Sci & Engineering + an interest in knives. I wish I'd been able to link interests and studies like you have when I was 20-ish.

Vietnamese name, but I assume you're from the US? As you know a number of us here aren't, though - including me - and at this point I'm not so sure where I'm from as I tend to move every 2-3 years due to contracts and because international jobs just seem more fun than those back in Canada.

I seem to have a big mouth when writing but am pretty quiet in person, don't worry. My teaching job involves talking, so nice to rest my mouth when not at work; same when I worked for short bits in kitchens and often didn't want to cook at home. Always been into knives and sharpening and cooking too, ever since 'Wok with Yan' on CBC and my mum buying me a wok when I was around 13. I've only invested in really expensive knives and stones recently because it just seemed too excessive or I've been talked out of it before. Not sure how far I'll go with it though; I've lived in some poor places and I think there has to be a balance.

At the moment my wife and I are expecting our first before xmas, a daughter as yet un-named, so I don't know how much more time I'll have for reading debates on primary bevel angles and so forth, though I definitely enjoy it and appreciate the community out here. Can't get any of this where I live for sure.

Right, that's all for now - one or two members may have noticed my opinions on flashy wa-handles, appropriate meat portioning, braising with Dr Pepper, Japanese 'melon bread' and so forth, but I'll leave those controversies to other threads!

Zwiefel
09-27-2012, 03:02 PM
I am Danny Owen (not so obviously). I'm an IT manager/field engineer for the consulting arm of a large IT company. Studied computer science in college, with a special interest in Machine Learning, though my professional specialty is large-scale distributed computing.

Have lived in central Arkansas my entire life, though I have done, and continue to, a lot of travelling throughout the US and a more limited amount outside the US for work.

My interest in food and cooking has been life long. I have no memories of it, but I apparently had a mini version of the old cast-iron wood-burning stoves that I would play chef with when I was very young (<5).

My interest in knives was a product of my pursuit of food, with my interest in jKnives coming from an article in Cook's Illustrated in 2009. It's been downhill...err uphill?..since then.

I'm married to my partner of almost 20 years, no kids (none planned), 4 dogs (all rescues). I also enjoy cycling and photography (very amateur at both).

DwarvenChef
09-27-2012, 03:25 PM
Like many here I could be called a Jack of all Trades... To many jobs to list but Gunsmithing, Airport Ramp crew, Aquarium and reptile specialist, Army Inf, Comic and gaming... Basicly an unfocused younger life :p After getting out of the Army (Wife and I) I went to culinary school. My Main "goal" was to be able to walk into a pantry and be able to cook something worth eating. All the rest was just a bonus :p

I've always become quit involved in my interests over the years. Some interests became jobs because in a short amount of time I knew more than the people running the shop lol A few interests survive to this day, Reptiles, Knives, Coins, and such. I had to burry my head with the guns as I just can't afford to get that itch at the moment. I left AK with about 75 firearms, cost me a fortune to send the handguns south so I didn't have problems in Canada when I drove through... not to say they didn't freak at the border when I handed them a copy of the long guns in the back of my truck all 45 of them LOL We hit the border at just the right time and they let us pass saying "If ANYTHING comes out of that truck your going to prison" Needless to say I ploughed a bee line as none stop as I could till I was out of Canada, sorry to say as I would have loved to stop and spend more time in a few areas. But I grew up kind of nomadic so this didn't suprise me.

Now days I try very hard to control my aquisition disorders. I come from a long line of near and full out horders and I have promised myself I would never let that get out of hand.

Today it's all about my kitchen knives, Razors, Bicycle riding, Reptile breeding project, and one game I just can't get away from :p

knyfeknerd
09-30-2012, 01:50 AM
Good thread Don The Win! I will post my life story later. Just really wanted to bump this. I too am curious about a lot of the awesome members here. I know some prefer to remain mysterious, enigmas for various reasons. But would love to learn more from those willing to share.

Cutty Sharp
09-30-2012, 02:25 AM
Good thread Don The Win! I will post my life story later. Just really wanted to bump this.

New vocabulary learned today: To 'bump' - ie. a thread (regular verb) Knyfeknerd has bumped this thread.

mr drinky
09-30-2012, 03:00 AM
I was in the Army then worked with the State Dept in different capacities, but mostly I was a election specialist for post-conflict countries. When a government collapses, someone has to put together an election so we Americans can bugger off and claim democratic victory. I've lived in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Ukraine, and Kosovo and have a B.S. in economics and an M.A. in International Development -- but that is just bio crap from a past life. Now I raise my children, and I married (2nd time around) my high school girlfriend and have never been happier. And after all of those years of studying politics, following the issues, and actually administering elections -- I don't vote, don't listen to the news or care about who wins in November.

k.

James
09-30-2012, 03:34 AM
This is an awesome thread. I feel like my life is pretty uninteresting compared to everyone's, but here it goes:

my name is James L. and I'm a 22 year old New York City native. I just recently graduated from Columbia with a BA in biochemistry and am in the midst of applying to dental school/searching for a year long biochem research position somewhere in the city. I guess productive activity wise, I've been involved in several research projects since high school including electron spin resonance dating of fossil teeth, geochemical uptake of ions by hydroxyapatite (predominant mineral in teeth!), protein crystallization, and trajectory dynamics (studying potential energy surfaces and molecular lifetime).

I speak a bit of German and a tiny bit of Cantonese (my grandma has been on my back about practicing more), am a competent skiier, avid gamer (battlefield 3!), ex-fish enthusiast (raising and breeding fish was extraordinarily time consuming), and am a sucker for animated films (Pixar and Ghibli stuff mainly).

I became interested in cooking during freshman year of college for a couple of reasons; the dining hall food absolutely sucked, it was a good way to attract members of the opposite sex :doublethumbsup:, it reminded me of chemistry labs (which are a BLAST!), and the food options around campus in the middle of the night during prime study hours were really limited. My passion for knives started in my sophomore year when I was upgrading a lot of my kitchen equipment. I actually started off with one of those hampton forge santoku sets, then went to Wusthof's/Henckels' German lines, and the moment of illumination came after I came back from Korin with my Ittosai gyuto.

DwarvenChef
09-30-2012, 03:44 AM
I was in the Army then worked with the State Dept in different capacities, but mostly I was a election specialist for post-conflict countries. When a government collapses, someone has to put together an election so we Americans can bugger off and claim democratic victory. I've lived in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Ukraine, and Kosovo and have a B.S. in economics and an M.A. in International Development -- but that is just bio crap from a past life. Now I raise my children, and I married (2nd time around) my high school girlfriend and have never been happier. And after all of those years of studying politics, following the issues, and actually administering elections -- I don't vote, don't listen to the news or care about who wins in November.

k.

I feel the same way, I read the info on the cantidates... and I'm sickened by it all. I only vote on food issues and special interst things that get through the din in my head. Their all a bunch of crooks and I'm going to shut up before I get bent :p

Ah yes I forgot about my beer sitting here getting warm... Cheers :)

Sarge
09-30-2012, 11:46 AM
My name is Andrew Sargent, I'm 30yrs old and work as a Sous Chef in a Japanese fine dinning establishment. I first started in kitchens at 14 working the deep fryer at a chinese take out place. Did that for a couple years then spent the next 7 doing different manual labor type jobs. Then while going to school for a teaching degree I took a line job in one of the nicer places in town and found that I loved it and was pretty good at it (over took the first guy above me in 2 weeks)

Worked there for a year and then started culinary school full-time and continued to work at that place full-time till I graduated. Since then I have moved thru a few seasonal kitchens and tried to continue learning as much as I could. I have a wife and 3 boys ages 6, 4, 1

VoodooMajik
10-01-2012, 12:43 AM
I'm Sam, and I work as a cook. I just left fairmont to work full time at my second job for a break to work on a few things with myself. I have hardly any education, Dropped out of highschool, started cooking and doing odd jobs full time to Support myself. My Father was a chef in Alberta and Ontario, and was rated top 30 under 30 in western Canada years ago. Started "Earth to Table" He taught me enough basics to be able to pick up the craft myself through hard work. I seem to have a natural grasp of things, or it could be I absorbed more then I thought as a child. I'm 22 and I modestly see myself as a strong and creative cook for my age although Nothing I do is good enough for me.

I am a Huge metal head, and play guitar though have been slacking for a few years because I have been focusing on my career. I have a huge passion for art and do digital painting with GIMP. I also love tattoo's, I did 6 months of an apprenticeship in Toronto.

I've lived in various parts of the country over my brief lifetime. I lived on the street in Toronto for a year when I was 18, did some couch surfing to get things together, busted my @$$ and assembled a career. Got myself into Fairmont hotels 3.5 years later and still pushing strong in life. Now I'm floating around the site here and headed off to Toronto or Calgary towards Jan. Not much else.

Don Nguyen
10-03-2012, 11:25 PM
Thanks everyone. It's nice getting to know a little bit more of all of you.

knyfeknerd
10-03-2012, 11:48 PM
Hey Don, I started a thread a while back very similar http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/5735-Bios-Bios-anyone-Bios?highlight=bios+anyone+bios
I got a lot of good responses, definitely worth checking out again.

jgraeff
10-03-2012, 11:59 PM
this is a great thread!

Im Jordan im 22 and im currently working as a Chef de Cusine in Highalnds NC as my first head chef job. I started in kitchens around 10 doing prep/dishes ( my mom has always been a server) Once i was old enough to work legally i started bussing tables but i didnt really like it so i went back to the kitchen. Worked at a very high end place all through high school, i moved throughout a few places to learn as much as i could and got a culinary degree. I then landed a job at a very high end place and worked my way up to a sous chef and have been there for about 5 years now and really enjoy it.

I have a daughter that is almost 4 and she is amazing i never thought having a kid soo young would turn out soo good. I hope to have my own place one day but i have along way to go before that day will come.

Don Nguyen
10-04-2012, 12:02 AM
Awesome Knyfeknerd! Did that amazing knife ever make it to Eamon? Or did it change its mind?

Salty dog
10-04-2012, 12:59 AM
I didn't respond to the other thread so I'll contribute here. I've been around a bit but for those who don't know:

Short version

I started washing dishes in 1974. In 78 I became a professional line cook. I worked for a chain called Victoria Station. A prime rib house. I worked there for four years in every position other than General Manager. But my thing was the kitchen. Traveled the country opening stores. I logged over a 1/4 million pounds of carved PR in my four years. (The company kept track) Chi Chi's heavily recruited me to open joints for them and paid well. (Probably too well) Did that for a couple years then again recruited to open a restaurant for a small regional chain in Oklahoma. Did that for a while then went to Luther's BBQ to open stores for them. Did that for a while when I decided to go home and get into fine dining. Back home I Chefed at a Northern Italian place and then I met my mentor, Claus Bienek. I hooked up with him for about a decade. We rocked.

I got fed up at work one day and decided I wanted to be a fireman. So I did. 10 years later I grabbed my pension and deffered comp and plunked it down on a restaurant. 13 years later I'm still here.

Carl
10-04-2012, 01:09 AM
Where'd you work in OK, 'Dog? I was born and raised there. Anyplace I might know?

Salty dog
10-04-2012, 01:30 AM
Texanna Reds Before that it was El Zocalo

Val Gene Chain, Dakota's, etc.

Probably 84ish

mr drinky
10-04-2012, 09:49 AM
...Did that for a while then went to Luther's BBQ to open stores for them.

There are only a few things in my ex-life with my ex-wife that I have fond memories of, but I used to eat at Luther's back then and liked it.

k.