When i was in my teens i used to really enjoy cooking but then i went to university and there were so many distractions that cooking fell by the wayside somewhat. Consequently the cookware that i purchased was not bought with much thought. Recently now that i am self employed and essentially make my own hours i find that have time in the evenings to experiment in the kitchen again. However now that i am spending that much more time in the kitchen i am quickly finding the limitations of the cookware that i purchased as a student, so now that i have found that my interest in cooking has persisted over the last several months i think its time to get myself some nice cookware.
I have looked on various sites and see that there are alot of brands to choose from and often if i look at reviews and such often opinion is split. So what i am hoping for is some advice on a set of good quality pans. Also since i often find myself thinking it would be handy to have a 2nd skillet. and since it is probably the pan i use most often i am looking for a nice skillet or 2 if 1 is not included in the pan set. For reference i have a solid plate hob and am looking to spend somewhere north of $300 but south of say $700. Those limits are a guide not set in stone, just looking for some nice value for money.
Addtionally although i have had a chefs knife for years i think its years of lack of attention as a student are getting to it and my other array of knives consists a set of knives bought for cheap in a superstore that i no longer use as trying to cut with the blade of the knives is the same is using the back! There in i am looking to spend maybe $150 or so on a Chefs knife and maybe 1-3 other knives. However i know that i can build up a nice selection of knives over time so am willing to spend said funds just on a chefs knife if you lot believe there is 1 worth investing in(considering now i have a renewed interest in cooking it will be well looked after). I noticed when looking through various chefs knives that Santoku knives seem to be very popular. Are they are superior to the European Chefs knife and if i decided to invest in 1 would my chopping motions need to be relearned that much?
My thanks in advance for your advice