JUST BOUGHT A SHUN CHEF'S KNIFE
Yes, I finally junked my 15-year old no-name chef's knife that recently produced a one-inch slice to my right index finger. My local cutlery purveyor was trying very hard to sell me a Santoku, but I am a tall guy with big hands, and felt that the Shun 8-inch was better. Honestly, I had a hard time choosing betwen the 8 and 10 inch. Oh, and he sold me a Haenckels paring knife and a diamond steel also. So far have chopped an onion, garlic, and a chile de arbol. So far so good. I don't know if it's changed my life yet, but seems OK so far. If I keep all my fingers for the next 50 years I guess I'll be satisfied.
Globals and Shuns are the two I know. If you watch Food Network, Everyday Italian, Giada uses Globals, so you can see what they look like. I worked at Williams Sonoma and had the luxury of working with a variety of knives there before I bought my own. An absolute must is to hold all of the knives in your hand before you buy a brand. Do not go on look but on reputation for quality and feel in your hand. I have five knoves and that is absolutely all you need--no huge block full of ten knives. A bread serrated knife, a short serrated knife for tomatoes, etc., a pairing knife, and chef's knife--eight inches or so, and for me, a shorter vegetable knife. I have the Global 5 inch or so and I use it for everything!!