My personal opinion? Based on 30 odd years working in kitchens around the world?
You just need good knives.
90% of knife work is "grunt work", cutting soup vegetables. For this you need a good 10" chef's. Nothing fancy, it has to be durable to cut squash, cut and core cabbages, cut tops off of carrots, whack a lobster shell or two, maybe attack a 5 kg slab of chocolate. This demands a heavy knife, with a very durable bevel (22 degree), softer steel so it won't chip and so it is easier to bring the edge back with a steel and easier to re-establish the edge with stones.
For cutting meat, yes, here you can get fancier. It needs to be a thinner blade, with a steeper angle. You can get away with harder steels as you won't encounter hard vegetable matter to damage the edge. Disregard what I said for boning knives, as this knife will encounter bone and the edge will chip easily if made of harder steel with higher angles. At this point I want to say that at every kitchen I worked in, only teh Chef or someone he trusted would cut meat. Yes yo can give the new guy a case of chickens to cut up and joint, but trimming tenders, portioning N.Y.'s and seafood is done by the Chef.
About another 50% of work is done with paring knives--peeling onions, opening bags, trimming veg, etc. This is a knife that gets no respect. If I had a dollar for every knife I lost in a pile of veg trimmings and was thrown out, or was used by someone to cut cardboard, I'd be a rich man. This knife should be dirt-cheap, and it never needs sharpening, because it will either be lost, stolen, or have the tip broken off (olive oil cans, need I say more?) before it gets dull.
So it's not a very romantic answer, I guess. Most knife work is grunt work and the food doesn't know or care of the pedigree of the knife that cuts it, it just has to be sharp.
At food shows and exhibitions I get my jollies by bugging the knife guys at their booths. Some really need it, as they sell overpriced crap. When they tell me that the Japanese invented good knives, invented the process of laminating steel to iron for better edges, I tell them the Europeans have been doing since the 1500's with their knives and particularily woodworking tools. They are fun to bug, those guys especially if I bring my own carrot and julliene and brunoise it on their cutting boards which I graciously leave for them to display what their knives are capable of for every one else.....