In a culinary world flooded with gear and gadgets (many of which are not essential for good home cooks), I often get asked this question:
"If you could have just one great knife in your collection, what would it be?"
Ask any chef and the answer will be different.
My answer is a Global 7" Santoku. I find the moderate length and light weight to be perfect for my not-so-strong wrists. And rather than switching between a paring knife and a chef's knife all day, I can perform almost all the tasks I need to do with this mid-sized knife (with the exception of slicing bread, for which I need a serrated knife).
I have used Global knives since my culinary school days in 2002. In fact, I continue to use that same set of knives today. They have held up well under more wear and tear than most knives endure in a lifetime. Granted, great knives are a great investment (the one pictured here runs about $97 on Amazon), but they're well worth the price. One great knife will last you much longer than an entire set of lesser-quality knives.