I started with a chefs choice, the higher end models really aren't that bad if someone isn't going move to an edge pro or stones. I then went to an edge pro and then recently stones.
I find an edgepro plus stones is the ideal - if expensive - setup but the edges I got from my chef's choice were pretty good considering. (And the higher end models really don't eat up a lot of steel, they are pretty well made..)
My Dad uses a higher end Chef's Choice and loves it. He uses all Victorinox knives too.
"Those who say it can't be done are always pasted by those doing it"
victorinox is the best one under 50$
Any style of knife you like on this page from Japan Woodworker. I have two of them and they were fabulous for the money. With that said, they were about $10 cheaper a couple of years ago.
"There's only one thing I hate more than lying…skim milk, which is water that's lying about being milk." -- Ron Swanson