So I'm looking to put together my first set of knives, and I've decided to just skip buying crappy knives as a learning process and go straight to getting myself a decent set. I currently use a set of Zwilling Five Stars from Henkels. They were great knives to learn on, moreso since they were a gift, but I'm ready to start building my own set. I'm not too concerned about steel, so long as it sharpens well and holds an edge well. I tend to be pretty good about washing and wiping my knives immediately, so stainless is not neccessary (semi or carbon are fine). I've been lurking for awhile now, and picking up on a few of the knives that seem to be well regarded, as well as doing my own research. I've settled on a few finalists and was hoping for some input on my choices. Bread knife: MAC Superior Series 10 1/2" (is it just me, or do the Japanese tend not to do bread knives?) Chef's knife and Utility knife For the Chef's knife, I'm quite familiar with a 10" blade and a 8" blade, so I'll probably keep more to the 8" or 9" side of things. The brands I'm taking a long, hard look at are: Masamoto HC (probably a 150mm petty and 240mm gyuto) Hiromoto Aogami SS (again, probably a 150mm petty and 240mm gyuto- any reason to go the thicker version of the 240mm?) Hattori HD (same dimensions again-- though not as keen on the damascus thing) I also took a look at the Hattori JCK Original, but that's starting to migrate out of my price range. That said, if the extra money is worth it, I'll consider it. So, any input? Any other companies I should take a look at? Any other knife roles I need to fill? I figure I can hold off on a slicer and fill that role with the chef knife.