Jeremy Fryer-Biggs describes himself as a creative problem-solver. “I just have a curious soul and a fascination with how things work and making them better,” he said.
The focus of his Somerville startup, NextGen (nextgenknives.com), is chef knives. “The basic chef’s knife hasn’t changed in hundreds of years,” Fryer-Biggs said. His company has combined tradition and technology — as well as his background in science, art, and product development — to produce the next generation of chef knives.
We talked with Fryer-Biggs, 31, of Cambridge.
Q. The idea?
A. Most knives aren’t properly shaped for how they’re used — the proof is in the callous hands of nearly every professional chef. This got us thinking that other areas, like the steel, could benefit from redesign, too. By leveraging advances in modern materials and fabrication technologies, we created an extremely comfortable knife that’s incredibly sharp and a lot of fun to cook with.
Q. Just for chefs?
A. It’s for everyone: Chefs, cooking enthusiasts (like himself), and maybe people who are science-minded. It’s also good for people with medical or hand issues, such as arthritis.
A. Why not design a grip the way people hold it? I covered a knife handle in clay and got people to grab it and they left an imprint. I scanned it and made a three-dimensional model. The shape is not remotely the shape of a standard knife handle.
A. Two ergonomically designed knives, the San Sebastian Pro 8-inch [$109] and the San Sebastian Elite 8-inch [$179]; then there is the San Sebastian Custom 8-inch ($599).
A. The handles are built from a scan of the user’s hand. People can order the custom knife, scan their hand on a flatbed scanner or copy machine, and e-mail us the file.
Q. Benefit of customization?
A. It’s more comfortable and less wear and tear on your body. We are the first in cutlery to do it, but it’s all going to trend in that direction in the next 10 years.
A. We are now working on crafting the knives and hope to be taking orders on our website soon, with expected shipping in early December.