Last night a friend of mine from Wyoming and I discussed blade alloys and the idea of kitchen knives. His arguments won me over.
Now as I've stated, I understand why a prime rib server (often cutting in public) wants a softer steel. He's cutting and slicing all night, and many times driven by proportion size, or the requests of a client. Each slice must be pleasing to the eye, and if a steel is used consistantly, each slice is smooth and precise.
And yes, I've been asked to sharpen some very soft slicing knives in upscale restaurants for that night's presentation. Even with a good steel, that edge might last a week.
But my friend and I have also discussed being "steel snobs." I think the world would be better served if most pocketknives were made out of at least 154-CM. Granted, I love Opinels, but I can sharpen anytime I wish. I can polish an Opinel several times daily if need be.
My friend mentioned guided elk hunts. In that case the client and his hunting party could be gone for two weeks. To be sure, many hunts are catered, don't laugh. An elder from my church hunted caribou in Nova Scotia, and their hunt had its own chef. That's a "chef," not a cook.
The reality is that most hunts in wilderness areas have trouble providing you with a decent cup of coffee. If you didn't pack a specific product, then you go without. The average guy can re-sharpen a knife to a utility quality with a wet rock from a river.
And that also applies to restaurants. A fast-food sandwich chain might not have a professional sharpener at all, ever. I've talked to many younger chefs and their knife classes in culinary schools is all about knife use, seldom on knife care. In that case, rudimentary training on softer alloys is probably best.
I personally might not care for the overall idea, but in many cases the "best chef knife" might be a soft alloy that needs to be touched up daily. (Ouch, it hurt to say that!)