If I had a dollar for the number of times I've been asked - by friends and random strangers - "what knives should I buy?" (usually accompanied by a rundown of a boyfriend or husband who has recently graduated from the BBQ to the kitchen due to an addiction to cooking based reality tv) I'd be a rich man.
So let's talk about knives. Yes, you can go out and spend five or six hundred dollhairs on a fancy set of German or Japanese knives, but I generally wouldn't advise it. These kind of knives are serious bits of kit and need a lot of looking after. They need sharpening - and I mean proper sharpening - with skill, using a stone at the correct angle, or inevitably your expensive, kitchen equivalent of Uma Thurman's 'Hattori Hanzo' sword, will end up in the back of your drawer blunt. Blunt knives (shudder) they'll bruise your herbs, but more importantly hugely increase the risk of cutting yourself, so quite dangerous unless you want a side of finger with your salad.
So, now I've got that rant out of my system, I do have some advice. Most Asian grocers sell wooden handled cooks knives in all shapes and sizes. The steel isn't folded a million times which makes them sharpen very well with a just a little tickle over a steel. And guess what? They're cheap as chips, normally around $5 dollars each, so after you've lived out your Marco PW fantasy and your blade is done, you can wrap it in newspaper and dispose of it carefully, and go buy yourself a replacement.
Sadly, often when I deliver this news to the person enquiring, I commonly see a glazed look appearing in their eyes which tells me they stopped listening sometime around the time I didn't say "yes, go buy that set of Global's". It's just not what they want to hear and I guess in our society of people driving 500K sports cars as their daily A to B get around, it's more about the fantasy than the reality of what will perform best under the circumstances.