If we are indeed a forum of experts (or those seeking to perfect their craft) we must excel at providing a better product--in this case, food.
A head chef doesn't roam willie-nillie through a produce aisle or butcher shop and glom onto the first example that falls to hand. Rather, he spends time searching out a superior product.
And this is what I mean with sharpening.
Edit: This concept is not limited to the country club set. I was once hired for a local Panera Bread outlet. I sharpened. We replaced many of their knives. One of the managers reported that the "lunch rush" went smoother and faster. The sandwiches had a better presentation, and every single employee involved reported that their work was easier.
First, a head chef "hires" me. He won't find my name in the yellow pages. He finds me by word-of-mouth. And to be fair, I don't work for anybody. I 'fired' a head chef from a four star. I won't do work for him anymore.
If the chef and I are to spend our time and patience to produce a superior product, then we make sure our mission statements are geared to the same goal.
We form a relationship. Most chefs evolve. They make a better kitchen. They seek out quality sous-chefs and cooks. The introduce signature dishes. Heck, they even buy new crockery and pans.
My contribution is taking better edges to the food. Period. If the knives are dull, I polish them. If the knives are worn or of poor quality, we replace them--sometimes over time as funds permit.
But I don't feel that the idea of "hard, expensive and complicated" is the right mind-set to begin a job of superior food service. You don't have to hire me. I don't have to work for you. But that first interview is free. And yes, I'll teach a chef how to sharpen--for free. Most come out of culinary schools with only rudimentary skills.