Thanks again everyone for the suggestions. As I said I'm partial to playing things by ear, so I'm sympathetic to the recommendation to buy a gyuto now and a nakiri later, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be a lot harder to buy a good knife in Toronto than it is here, so I'd rather take care of this stuff now. OTOH it would be nice to save the money :\. I should say that I'm only here (in Mountain View) up until the end of August, so I'd need to have acquired everything by then (or found someone willing to ship to Toronto without paying outrageous shipping costs... though even then I'd get boned by UPS/FedEx/whoever due to their brokerage fees). I'll be visiting SF on occasion, so could get something from there, and will also be in San Diego for a couple of days so could do the same there. LA, unfortunately, is not in my itinerary :(
OK, I've got the Tojiro ITK in my list for the bread knife. I took a gander around and the FKS 240mm gyuto seems like a nice choice (I'm willing to pay that extra bit for the hollowed edges, unless you guys really think it isn't worth it).
Do you have any recommendations for a good nakiri around $100?
For the stone, I saw this Shun 1k/6k stone that also gives you a good honing steel:
Would that suffice? And speaking of Shun, what do you think of their knives? The Shun Premier Chef Knife is $120, which is in my price range, if a bit on the high end (and obviously more than the Fujiwara). The nakiris are more like $160 so I'd probably hold off on those for now. (So regarding the Carter recommendation: out of budget.)
I should have mentioned before that I'm also looking for comfort. A more ergonomic handle would be worth paying for, I think, but I'm also pretty cheap so if it's too big a difference I probably wouldn't go for it. I'd appreciate any recommendations along these lines as well :)
I just had a Nakiri in a pass a round a couple of weeks ago. Yamawaku Nakiri is about 80$ on ebay. here is the pass a round thread.
There is something about a thin blade on a nakiri that you don't really want to get a cheap one. I can not recommend any others yet, I haven't tried any others out.
Hm OK. Guess I'll hold off on the nakiri for now. I'm about ready to pull the trigger on the Tojiro ITK and the Fujiwara FKS 240mm from Chef Knives to go, so if anyone has any other ideas or recommendations, please speak up :) I'll probably buy them a little later in the week, depending on what other purchases I need to make.
I'm sure you will enjoy those choices and the ITK bread knife is very popular, but nothing wrong with a Forschner for your bread...cheaper, better f&f and it is only a bread knife...
Actually there was one more thing I wanted to double-check. How are these knives for knuckles hitting the cutting board? That was one problem I have with my current chef's---if I go for the pinch grip and rocking motion I tend to knock/rub my knuckles against the board, which can start to hurt or at the very least get annoying.
If you usually live in Toronto and haven't made a decision yet don't hesitate to visit KNIFE Toronto or Tosho Knife Arts, they know what they are talking about and give lessons on sharpening. Lessons are free at KNIFE and Ivan at Tosho knows his stuff. You can handle the knives they have to see what you like. They have some more expensive stuff like Konosuke or Suisun, Good luck!