Before Bala Paiva became a knife-wielding master fish cutter, arguably the best in the business, his passion was playing soccer, and he did so professionally.

“Everybody in Brazil wanted to be a soccer player, and I was right there,” he says. “It was everything for me. It was my life.”

At 17, Paiva was doing what most would only ever dream about, but a few years later, he suffered an injury that would end his career. Understandingly devastated, he went to stay with his friend in Connecticut to clear his mind, and it’s there that Paiva started working at a seafood restaurant. As they say, the rest is history. Now working at Wulf’s Fish in Boston as the Director of Product Quality, he’s amassed a humble 79.2k followers (and counting!) on Instagram for his fish cutting skills and magnetic personality.

“I got another passion now."

Paiva makes it look easy, but he’s been doing this for a while.

From the biggest fish...

To the smallest...

And everything in between...

Precision is key:

“I’ve been doing that for 15 years. Every day.”

We feel sorry for any fish that’s at the end of his knife.

Except maybe this guy...

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Stay up to date on free recipes, new radio episodes, classes, events and more with our newsletter. Sign up here.