Questions About Malto Mario

Present for a Kitchen Pro

I need some help looking for a present for a kitchen pro [more inside] My wife is passionate about cooking, and although I hate to give her kitchen-related gifts (seems too cliched), I thought something special would make up for that. She's always impressed with the knives seen by Malto Mario, Alton Brown, and the Iron Chef guys, and though she's got pretty much every kitchen gadget in the world, she's never had high quality knives. So I was thinking of spending a few hundred bucks on some really kickass knives, but looking around there are all sorts of different materials, countries of origin, and brands. I see that even a single knife can run hundreds of dollars, but say I was spending $300-500. What's a good brand to look into that would be a good start for say 2-3 different sized knives?
http://ask.metafilter.com/9931/Present-for-a-Kitchen-Pro