My God All of These Knives!
I recently just got married and my wife and I are looking into getting good knives that will last for years as we love to cook everything and anything. I am pretty much settled on the Japanese style of blades in a stainless if possible. While I know Shuns and Macs are out there, I feel as if they are too pricey and you are paying for a name from what I have read (Henck's and Wust's as well!). Our budget is roughly ~500$ and we need a just a few knives that will cover all the bases but won't break the bank. I would ideally also like to grab two knives that could substitute as steak knives (non-serrated) so probably around 5 knives total?
I know about JCK and chef-knives-to-go but my god navigating these sites is mind numbing! In addition, I do not care if it is knife-porn or a twig with a piece of metal sticking out of it. If it is sharp and holds its edge for a good while before needing sharpened then I am a happy camper; everything else is just gravy.
Robin is correct. Forschner/Victorinox knives are very good values.
If you want something nicer, stainless, Japanese hard steel, then probably you can concentrate on these two brands for now: Fujiwara FKM, and Tojiro DP. They are considered very good value (relative low price, and good performance) knives. Oh yes, cutleryandmore is a reasonable site too.
If you want a few more choices to think, then let us know. I don't want to overwhelm you. :)
I got a wushtof 6 inch chef, a pairing knife and a tomato knife. That is all I ever need i think. I know you like different styles but all brands run different sales every so often. Wuthof has a knife of the month promo. For $500 you should have plenty to buy the long lasting bunch of knives no matter the brand, might need a little time to look around and find the deals. My wuhstof was on sale for something like $60. It is the classic line. (hated the feel of the gourmet line)
I did buy the cheap version of the forschner chef knife as well ($32, with a weird foam-ish handle ) when I read that it was as good and i really hated the feel of it. It was light, the handle was not comfortable and nothing comparable to my wushthof.. I think it was not the right type.
Finally if you just got married, a few good knives will really last you a lifetime, and are a worthy investment. I wish I had known that back then. Not that it was that long ago!
If compromising , I would get the perfect chef knife no matter the price as long as you tried it and then go cheaper on the others..
I think it is really wonderful that you and your new wife enjoy cooking. Not all do in fact. + 1:
+2: Is that given the fact that you two are just starting out, you do it together. Allow for individual creative moments, even when they end in failure. If her spontaneous flambe blackens the ceiling, be kind and supporting when you step in calmly and quietly with the extingusher. Assure her it will be better next time.
+3: You enjoy cooking, but remain realists enough to budget your cooking and kitchen expenses. Most in fact do not, and splurge. The extended Wedding gift list, one year later, to achieve perfection in the kitchen.
The minute you come home finally with the Der Gizmo Whizbanger lifetime-sharp Inox, triple-creme-chrome steel knife with the electro-etched titanium handle, you will hear sadly that Der Gizmo Gmbh has just announced the Whizbanger 2 Ultimo. ( Which is why you received the huge 3 percent discount, no returns accepted ).
A luta continua.
So start with a good Chef's Knife, a good paring knife, and continue on being realists. And if you want as inexpensive as they come.
Unless you two are in your eighties, I would venture to guess that your kitchen collection, including knives and cutlery is just starting. My wife and I have well over 200+ knives and received two more Globals this Christmas. How exciting !
You will continue to enjoy cooking, no matter how close the MCD, AM/PM, or KFC is down the street. Budget funds aside including those for kids, travel, knives, pots, pans, hands on cooking classes, and other needful objects.
Life is more fun this way. Don't buy them all now.