Dear all, First of all, may I say how impressed I am with this website and the insightful posts provided by you all. Having recently taken an interest in home cooking I have been trawling the web in search of some advice on cooking knives for the beginner on a budget. The general consenus appears to be Victorinox/Forschner range. My questions are: How many knives would you recommend for a novice home cook? Many online guides recommend a total of three: a 10 inch Chef's knife (used 90% of the time?), a small (3-4 inch) paring knife and a bread knife. However, on several of BDL's (the resident expert I believe) posts on this forum, he recommends four basic knives: a Chef's knife, a 'Petty', a 'Slicer' and a bread knife. Could you please explain what a 'Petty' and 'Slicer' would be used for (excuse my ignorance)? I am leaning towards 3 Victorinox knives: 10 inch Chef's Knife, 10.25 inch bread knife (should I go for a cheaper alternative as it will dull?), 4 inch paring knife. However, after getting some feedback on the 'Petty' and 'Slicer' I may add them to my Xmas list too. I may also from time to time carve meat or thinly slice fish; is there a one-in-all knife for carving, slicing, cuting bread as opposed to purchasing three separate knives? Sharpening - I have no experience of sharpening knives so was considering purchasing a steel for honing and having the knives professionally sharpened once a year. Question: would you really bother having a paring knife (Victorinox <£5) sharpened or just buy a new one (same goes for the petty)? Would you recommend buying a stone at this stage as opposed to having the knives professionally sharpened annually? If so, any recommendations are welcomend. I have seen many endorsements for the Idahone ceramic steel but I am unable to locate a retailer in the UK...do you know where I can source one? If not, can you suggest a good alternative? How often should you hone a knife (is there a video guide)? Storage of knives - I am thinking of using a magnetic strip. Other suggestions welcomed? Once again, your input is greatly appreciated and I thank you for your time. Best regards, John p.s. can you recommend any online video tutorials regarding knife skills and also sharpening?