I agree that sets are not the best way to go in most cases for quality kitchen knives. You can do fine starting out with the right two or three knives for your needs and adding more knives later, particularly if you are on a tight budget. Which kitchen knives an individual needs also depends on several factors. If you intend to put them in a dishwasher, you might as well just get the cheapest that feel decent in your hand. If you are rough on your knives(twisting, prying, aggressive chopping, marble or glass chopping boards, etc.), just get some Global or other softer, tougher steel knives. They want hold an edge as well as harder Japanese style knives, but are less prone to chipping. If you want a chef knife that slices well and holds an edge, look at thinner blades in VG-10, BD1N, and other steels hardened to 60hrc or higher. A good budget brand in this category is Zhen.