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Chef Uniforms: Apron Edition

chef uniforms

When it comes to chef uniforms, white coats, checkered pants and tired polyester aprons are fossils along with the coffee filter-esque paper toque.

Chef uniforms are changing. These days cooks are donning jeans, black t shirts, bandanas and designer aprons, bringing more personality to the kitchen. Some might even say the apron has become a signature of the cook as much as her food. The new approach to aprons are customizable and available in every conceivable format. Priced beyond the white apron with shoelace-style waist ties, this new generation of aprons are a worthwhile investment. Much like chef shoes, the apron is an essential ingredient to a chef uniform.

The Urban Collection from ChefWorks is rugged, functional and polished. ChefWorks is well known for their innovative approach to chef uniforms. Their aprons are no exception, featuring double stitching, rivets, suspender-style straps and an eye for both quality and endurance. Just like Shinola and Field Notes are finding their way into kitchens by making quality notebooks, ChefWorks is right there with the tough approach to kitchen apparel. There are no lightweight, disposable aprons in this lineup; the Urban Collection is beefy in looks and construction. Imagine kitchen apparel as a Doc Marten and Chuck Taylor love child.

The Boulder Chef’s Apron, ($39.99) for instance, has a waxy finish that harkens back to the Industrial Revolution, with burly straps and clips for the overall fasteners. That didn’t stop them from including the little pocket for tweezers, though. Hip cooks rejoice! The 39” width is generous enough to keep the Dickie’s cook shirt clean almost to the back and runs just past knee length.

For a bit higher up the leg look, the Rockford Bib Apron ($32.99) runs 34” from neck to knee, with a metal buckle to drop the length as needed. The washed canvas offers the same brawny heft as the others in the line.

Waist, half-bistro, cross-back, and bib aprons round out the group. And, ohh, the colors. Subtle red, green, blue along with punchy stripes “taken from the desert sunset” complement the offering with something for every cooking personality.

Drab, polyester, white aprons are gathering dust in a far-off corner in the Culinary Arts Museum in the Retired Tools of the Trade Collection. For now. The Urban Collection is the latest in the movement to update chef uniforms. With staying power grounded in reinforced stress points, ChefWorks has responded to the needs of the kitchen with gear that defines stamina and refinement.

Jim Berman

Jim Berman is a kitchen lifer. A career cook, Jim orchestrates new menus, works on staffing solutions and manages food purchases. He received his formal culinary training in New Mexico, and has done stints in kitchens in Pittsburgh, Santa Fe, and the Delaware Valley. Jim’s writing is regularly featured on Poached Jobs, Foodable, Toast and Kitchen Grit.

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