New Kitchen Knives
Finally getting rid of my old junky knives to get a real set. I am not looking to by a block set but 3 good quality knives that will last a long time. Don't wana spend stupid money but willing to spend a couple of hundred. Any suggestions?
I have not read through what others have said, but here are some of my suggestion.
First: Do not buy a block set unless you really need it. For most people, a block of knives are very wasteful.
Second: Buy what you need, so you must know what you need. Do you want a German's Chef's knife? A French's Chef? A Gyuto? A Santoku? What do you want? Carbon steel? Stainless steel?....etc.
The three knives I use all the time are a 10" chef's knife (classic design), a 4" paring/utility knife, and a 9" slicing knife with a serrated edge for carving meat and slicing bread. There's also a boning knife and a cleaver in the drawer but I have never used either, as far as I can remember.
Since you don't want to buy as a set, you don't need to match them, but can consider each knife on its individual merits. So, for example, you can mix Japanese and Western style knives.
First, decide on your large cook's (or chef's) knife. Not only Japanese vs. Western, and French vs. German, but also size. I use an 8.5" western-style knife, and would find a longer knife inconvenient in my small kitchen.
I prefer a vegetable knife separate from my cook's knife, and like a nakiri-type design (although mine is not actually a nakiri), so my choice for three good knives would be: chef's, vegetable, paring. I wouldn't be satisfied with a three knife limit, however.
First, before you spend your money, understand what you WANT and what you NEED.
Classic patterns - French or German chef's knives? Then there is the Japanese Gyuto which is basically a really thin French pattern.
Do you cleave (rocking cut or vertical chop) or slice with your chef knife? How much belly do you need?
I found the molded handles on the Wusthof knives fit my hand the best and were most comfortable for long term use. However, I like the Japanese patterns much more because there thin profiles don't "wedge" the food apart so they require less force to actually cut something and don't "crush" the vegetables close to the cut.
re: Sid Post
Just to add this - make sure you touch the knives before you buy them. How they feel in your hand matters. My wife prefers lighter knives, I prefer heavier ones. Look to reviews to point you towards good quality knives (my faves are the Henckels pro-S series, my wife the Wusthof classic), then let personal preference guide you. At the end of the day, my favourite knife is a Shigefusa handmade Tokyo-style Nakiri bocho that I picked up in Tokyo. I knew it was a high-quality knife before I bought it. But I didn't know it would be my fave until I held it in my hand.