With a likeminded eye for intricate details and high standards, working with artisanal knifemaker Mathieu Dechamps was an easy decision when it came to sourcing custom steak knives for Vue de monde. Originally trained as a maker of fine furniture, Mathieu's exceptional craftsmanship is instantly evident in the detail and quality of the 60 custom steak knives he has handmade from his small workshop in the Dandenong Ranges. Each knife is made from sustainably sourced, repurposed wood and Aebl steel, and any past diner at Vue de monde will be able to testify to the pleasure you get from using one of Mathieu's utensils.
With his range of steak knives now available to purchase through Vue Shop, we took a few minutes of the busy craftsman's day to find out a little bit more about the man behind the blade.
Vue Journal: After training as a maker of fine furniture, what was it that drew you to take a new direction in your career and delve into knife-making?
VJ: Lastly, where do you see the alignment in values between yourself and Vue de monde that allowed you to create the custom steak knives?
Mathieu Dechamps: I have always had an appreciation of well-made hand tools. I was travelling in the highlands of Scotland and I stumbled across a tool maker who introduced me to the craft of toolmaking. The entire process and end result really stuck with me, and then one day I was cooking, didn't have a proper knife, and decided to try and make one myself!
VJ: Hailing from Belgium, how did you find yourself living and working in Mount Dandenong?
MD: I married an Australian and a friend introduced us to Mount Dandenong. It was perfect as we were looking for a place where you can experience the true four seasons of nature, yet it was close enough to a big city and a great wine region. We are really happy in our home amongst the trees.
VJ: Apart from the obvious beauty of where you live, what is it that inspires you on a day-to-day basis?
MD: I'm constantly inspired to continue to evolve my craft and work on my skills to keep improving every day.
VJ: From the initial concept and design to the finished product, how long does it usually take you to make a knife?
MD: It really depends on the knife, and the wants and needs of who I'm making it for, but usually anywhere between 10 - 20 hours. I usually have four or five knives on the go at any one time, so I'm always pretty busy!
VJ: What is the most satisfying part of your work, and what is the most challenging?
MD: A happy client. I love hearing back from clients about how much they enjoy using my knives. As for the most challenging? A lot can go wrong in the process, and my standards are very high, so sadly, some knives don't make the final cute (pardon the pun!)
MD: Vue de monde is obviously renowned for its high standards, and with Shannon being well-known in the hills here with Burnham Beeches and the Piggery Cafe, I was keen to explore opportunities to collaborate.