This is a favorite with the “I’m a fancy cook” crowd. The problem is they never explain what the intended use is. Why do you need a professional chef towel for a kitchen towel?
If your goal is to wipe down counters and such, I’d recommend a microfiber towel. They are highly absorbent just like a commercial grade linen towel, they dry very quickly, but as a cleaning cloth, they outperform linen. And, they are much more affordable than high-grade linen towels. However, if you want to hang a towel on your apron like a restaurant chef and look cool, then grab it to use as a make-shift pot holder or wipe down the edges of your immaculate plates, sure, go for professional-grade kitchen towels, which would also be suitable for coming into contact with food (providing the towel is very clean).
And that is what a professional-grade kitchen towel is: an absorbent towel that is suitable for coming into contact with food. This means that it will not shed lint fibers into food or leave them on a plate. Admittedly, most people use paper towels for coming into contact with food, especially to drain fried foods. And, admittedly, paper towels are not lint-free. So, do you really need professional-grade kitchen towels? A little lint never really hurt anyone.
No, I’m afraid this is advice to place in the fancy foodie category. It’s a luxury, at best. However, if you use a lot of paper towels and other disposable cloth products for working with food, such as for draining fried items, then do consider replacing these products with reusable linen towels. The question is what should you look for? If you search for professional kitchen towels, restaurant towels, or chef towels, you’ll get a mixture of products with different descriptions, types of cloth, etc.
If you want a high-quality towel that is very absorbent, lint-free, and suitable for use even in restaurants, I’d suggest flour sack towels. Back when I was very little, flour still came in cloth sacks. These flour sacks could be reused and the linen they were made from was very useful. People even used to make clothing out of this cloth. Today, you can still find this material and it’s quite affordable. They are great for cleaning and perfectly safe for food contact. You can use them as bread basket liners, for draining fried foods, and for straining liquids.