Originally Posted by Chrismit
Couple things, as far as the lefty righty thing goes I'm not sure if you are referring to the blade or the handle. Don't worry about the blade unless you are looking at single bevel knives (which I will srongly recommend against as this is your first j knife). If there is asymmetry in the way it's sharpened you can either sharpen it out or use it as is and likely not notice any difference. There are some double bevel knives that have a fairly asymmetric grind that you may want to stay away from but that bridge can be crossed if the time comes. As for handle, pretty much don't get a d shaped handle if you are concerned. Some people find the opposite d handle doesn't bother them some do, another option is to sand it down. If you purchase western handle shouldn't make a difference.
The calphalon katana is not a bad knife, my daughter has a short santoku. I don't mind the handle, it gets reasonably sharp (kind of a pain to deburr). If you decide to go this route you should really search because a retail prices they are definitely overpriced. We picked hers up at an outlet for a stupid low price. There are going to be many knives for the money that will be better value but its all in what you like.
If you and you wife are going to be cooking together I might suggest 2 chef/prep knives. When you go to your classes you will want your own knives and if you are both prepping likely will want the same. Before making any recommendations it would be helpful to have a max budget. I know you said money is not a concern but you also indicated you would not be purchasing a 500 chef knife, of which there are many. Also when considering budget it is important to know if that number encompasses peripherals as well (such as sharpening gear, board etc). I know there is a lot of information to absorb but the end result is more than worth it.
For righty/lefty, I'm referring to both. For example, the Shun handles are specifically lefty or righty, as well as the blade. From the research I've done, I was under the impression that almost all J knives are beveled 70/30 with a righty lean. I'm not sure sharpening the handedness away from an edge is something I'm interested in, and I'm definitely not interested in sanding down handles.
You say many knives will be better for the money, do you have anything specific in mind?
We both love to cook, but due to us having toddler twins, we seldom, if ever, cook together. I'm going to get one of each for now, and if and when we do the cooking class, I will purchase more if needed.
As far as budget goes, I'm aware that $500 knives are out there, as well as $10,000 knives. I want a great quality knife that's going to last a long time (possibly even lifetime). I have the money, but don't have the desire to spend that much per knife. Assume no budget, but shopping for value. For example, for chef, paring/petty, utility, steel, etc. I don't have a total budget in mind; I just want to spend my money intelligently. I simply don't need a $500 knife.