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all about joy

Ethan Becker

August 6, 1945-

1963-2006 editions

editor, co-author, kitchen despot,

knife maker, recovering mountain climber, 

outdoorsman, primitive skills enthusiast,

conversationalist extraordinaire


Born in 1945, Ethan grew up watching his mother Marion labor tirelessly over JOY, and was often the first tester of the fine meals created by her dedicated hands. As one might expect, Ethan gained a healthy appreciation of food and enthusiasm for cooking at an early age. He began helping his mother with JOY-related tasks in the early 1960’s. Ethan's extensive cooking apprenticeship at home was supplemented by study at the Cordon Bleu in Paris (1971) and additional travels in Europe. He combines a knowledge of classical continental cuisine with an affection for traditional American cooking and stays well versed in regional tastes and trends. Marion entrusted Ethan with authorship of JOY in 1976.

An avid outdoorsman from childhood onward, Ethan has created a number of innovative outdoor equipment designs over the years, ranging from the versatile Becker Patrol Pack (used extensively by Special Operations units) to the CMI Figure 8 Descender—which set the industry standard for safety and quality since its introduction in 1974—and other mountain climbing gear.

Ethan founded Becker Knife and Tool in the early 1980's and set about designing, manufacturing and selling knives geared toward serious outdoorsmen and tactical professionals. Knife industry experts, writers, and critics have consistently given rave reviews to BK&T knives ever since Ethan started grinding, sharpening, and assembling them in his garage (including the 1990 Blade Award for Most Innovative American-Made Design). Though his garage is no longer big enough to keep up with the strong demand of his many loyal customers, Ka-Bar Knives continues to produce his best-selling designs with the same uncompromising commitment to quality of BK&T’s humble beginnings.

Of course, Ethan is always hard at work designing new tools and products: Ka-Bar has just released a new series of his outdoor knives and, after much delay, ESEE Knives is producing a trio of kitchen knife designs that reflect Ethan’s many years toiling in the kitchen and design expertise.

Ethan spends as much time as possible outdoors testing his designs and expanding his knowledge of outdoor skills. He is also an avid reader of military history and political science, and enjoys martial arts and hunting. He was awarded the prestigious 1979 President’s Stewardship Award from the Nature Conservancy, a reflection of his commitment to the outdoors he loves.

A true Cincinnatian at heart, Ethan now lives at Half Moon Ridge in the mountains of East Tennessee with his wife, Susan, and their four beloved (albeit utterly useless) dogs. Despite relocating, he has not forgotten how to whip up the best bowl of Cincinnati Chili anyone is likely to have.