I'm working in the kitchen in the new restaurant doing a lot of prep and teaching new cooks how I like perfect juliennes, diced onions and so on, and all of them by the first time are having an experience with really sharp knives (My mac and a the Tojiro santoku), that are not only sharp, but they keep the edge much longer thatn their generic knives and some forchners, and they are experiencing it first hand and on a daily basis, and now everybody want a knife with such qualities, they can see the differences and now they want a better knife
The problem is that we're talking about people with not so high income, and when I told them that to get a Mac they have to spend almost 200 USD (The cost of the knife + S&H to México) it was discouraging for some of them (The students I'm sure that are going to get very soon a fancy one and I'm not concerned about those guys in this department) but talking to the rest of the guys (whom happen to be my "pirate crew" always ready to unclogg a pipe, working an extra shift, or getting into the exhaust duct to clean it without flinching and just saying "yes chef"), they setted up a limit of 100 Bucks (I'll pay and arrange the S&H for them) for a great knife .
So, with a limit of 100 USD and forgetting about blue carbon like this Tojiro, what do you suggest. They now know how different a western blade feels compared to a Japanese, and they liked the Japanese better. The knives will be 24 Cms for most of thems, and the girls want a 21. They don't mind about wa or yo handle.
All your suggestions will be very appreciated. I have no clue on what to get with that budget. In my particular case I'll go for a Tojiro, but I see that they want something "shiny" and not rusty.I'm talking about Gyutos that are going to be used for prep.
Thanks in advance.
P.S. The sharpening is covered, they already have a 1000/6000 stone, a stone holder, Idahone "fine" rods, corks, and a pencil and 100 sheets of sandpaper to flatten and chamfer the stone.