I am a beginner home cook that is starting to get more serious about cooking and I was hoping for some advice on sharpening setup and knife choices. First, let me say that I my setup will not be getting used very heavily. I recently graduated college and my job requires me to work late, and thus order food to the office, with somewhat regularity. Therefore, in a typical week, I usually only cook about 3 times. That said, I enjoy cooking and really enjoy food so I am invested in developing better technique and like the idea of slowly building a nice kitchen.
After reading a bit of this forum I decided to go ahead and purchase a 10.5" MAC Pro chef's knife to serve as the building block of my new knife set. Today, I also ordered a Victronix Forschner Rosewood 10" bread knife and 3.25" paring knife to round off the basics. I do all my cutting on a large cherry end grain cutting board that my father made for me (he does woodworking as a hobby, as did I before I went to college).
Now that I have those basics setup, it’s time to start tackling the question of how I'm going to keep my new MAC knife sharp. I purchased a 12" ceramic rod but now I have started to browse around about what to do when my knife starts to get actually dull. I was considering the 8 piece sharpening set sold by chefs knives to go, but I am pretty skeptical if learning to freehand sharpen actually makes sense for someone who cooks as little as I do. How long do you think it would take before I actually get good results? Also, what’s the likelihood of me doing actual significant damage to my MAC Pro during the learning process? How sharp can I expect something like the Minosharp3 to get my knife? How big of a difference would the jump up to the much more costly Edge Pro make? And is freehand really worth learning for a basic at home cook?
Secondly, I tend to roast chicken for dinner with some frequency, do I have to worry about damaging my chef’s knife when breaking down or carving a chicken or is that a reasonable use? Now that I have this fancy knife I get a little worried that I’ll chip it when cutting through the leg joint of the chicken. Is a carving knife or something worth the investment?
I probably just asked a few too many questions, so the short and sweet of it is: what would you recommend to a basic young cook to keep knives sharp? Thanks for the help.