I have started a new position after being out of a kitchen for a few years. With my job, I am required to have a set of my own knives. I am doing kitchen hand and prep work, but will be training up over time, so I need to get a comprehensive set.
Most of my work for the time being is lightweight/delicate stuff. I am not preparing heavy slabs of meat (yet), so I don't need to worry about getting a heavy knife right away.
Here's a rough list of what my needs/wants are:
*I prefer Japanese blades over European, it's what I am most comfortable with
*I am left handed
*I have decently large hands (I'm 6ft tall), so I prefer knives with a more robust grip to them
*I prefer to buy good quality equipment that will serve me properly, rather than something to 'get by'
*The kitchen I work in only uses nylon/plastic cutting boards (I know that many knives out there don't respond well to them)
*I used a set of Global knives the other day, and the grips felt too...delicate..in my hand. Lovely knives, but they feel like they were made for someone with smaller hands than myself.
*I would like to keep the budget at roughly $200 per knife, but am willing to spend more if a compelling argument can be made. (I am in Australia as well, for price consideration)
*My knife work leans more towards the front of the blade, using the fore end for the majority of my cutting work, and only slipping to the back end for heavier/denser materials.
*I tend to also use a rocking forward/back cutting method, instead of a vertical chop.
*The restaurant I work at serves Australian and European food, so I don't need any particularly esoteric blades designed for individual tasks.
Here's what I was looking at to get me started. I like this set because it has a good array to it. I was thinking of getting this set, and then adding in some heavier German blades for when I start working with the pork ribs and lamb.
I will admit to being at least partially influenced by the hammered design. As much as they need to be functional, I would like my knives to have some sort of style or personality to them. I've been looking around, and so many of the knives out there seem to be 'lifeless'. Just there to do a job and go home (Like my Mercer set I've fobbed off on my fiance).
Another set that I have been looking at as a start to building my kit, has been this set from Shun.
I know that there seems to be a wide dichotomy in the opinions of these particular knives. Either people seem to love them, or they don't. However, the higher tip on them would work rather well with my cutting methods, and since they won't be used for anything that really demands a more robust knife, I could see myself using them with good results until I need to expand my collection.
With all honesty though, the Tamahagane kit is the one I am leaning to far over the Shun, even though the Shun would be a much faster purchase for me. I'd rather wait if I have to and save up to buy what's going to work best.