No tools define a cook more than his or her knives. Why do you think we carry them around in rolls instead of hauling backpacks full of pots and pans? Exactly.
Pictured above are some of my personal favorites, including two Murray Carter knives, two Cut Brooklyn knives, and one very old Sabatier knife. All are made of carbon steel which can be sharpened to near light saber sharpness. They tend to discolor, however, and require more sharpening. The bottom is a good example of a nakiri, and the second from the top is a utility knife with a santoku-style tip.