Originally Posted by Robo410
The majority of food service workers and chefs out there have their own knives and don't bring real expensive ones to the job. Why? Health regulations probably require plastic cutting boards which are harder on knife edges than good hard wood chopping blocks. But they can be tossed in the sanitizer. So most pros have a good professional blade costing about $35 from Dexter Russell or Forschner. Such a knife does not come very well sharpened as the pro likes to put his/her own edge on it.
A stone costs about $6, the pro knife about $30. This is how you learn to do it. (not with your $350 Japanese Sushi blade).
Many good videos of how to sharpen on YouTube.
Yes I have wonderful craft made knives from New West which I love so much I now keep them home on my maple block. I have a Russell and a Forschner/Victorinox in my knife kit...equally sharp, no where as pretty. But if some one drops it in the sanitizer sink, I won't have a melt down. :)
I'm not sure sometimes whether to chime in or not- my advice is almost always overkill!
I am the exception that proves the rule, I think. My work kit includes 10 knives, the cheapest of which is $45 and most expensive about $200. Most are in the $100-125 range. While I leave my spendier knives at home it would be a waste to have good knives but struggle thru 10 hour shifts with bad ones.
In the place I currently work about half of the cooks don't have their own personal knives. Of the other half that bring their own they have almost exclusively Wusthofs. I work with many culinary school grads and it seems most schools issue Wusties (one kid was issued Messermeisters). In my experience this is fairly rare- in most kitchens cheaper knives are more common. The cooks with their own decent knives tend to be more experienced or classically trained.
As for the OP's sharpening question, I like the Apex and freehanding on stones. I also highly recommend the Edgemaker Pro sharpeners for European knives and for those who don't want to spend a lot of money or devote a lot of time yet want sharp knives.