I'm aware there have been quite a few posts about knives, but having gone through them I still had some questions. I'm considering buying a 2 knife set (chef's + small knife) as a christmas present for my mum. She just cooks at home, but enjoys cooking quite a lot, and has one of these 14 knife sets which isn't much good (don't think she has a sharpener either).
First of all, I'm not sure to what extent a good knife will make a difference (as opposed to sharpening bad knives often). Are they worth the money for an amateur cook? (hard question, I know, thought I'd ask anyway..)
In any case, if I did get them, the main options I've seen recommended are:
Henckels 4 star: £62
Mac (the cheapest line): £70
Togiharu moly: £70
Prices are for a chef's knife and a small pairing knife. I'm buying in the uk, which makes it harder (the mac and togiharu are from US stores, but they seem to deliver), and the prices are on the upper end of what I'd want to pay. Realistically, I'd want to pay less, given I still need to factor in a sharpener. Cheaper options I've read about are Mundial Elegance (£40-50?) and Forschner (haven't found them in a uk store though). In any case, any thoughts on the options?
What about sharpeners? What is the easiest method (with good results) for sharpening these knives? I'm considering buying a sharpener myself (for my crappy knives, as a first step before buying a decent knife in the future). Will the same sharpener work for all knives?
As a short aside, I find the kasumi titanium knives incredibly beautiful (and they're marginally more expensive than the options above). Are they actually any good?