Product Spotlight: Universal Contrast Shirt

Kitchen shirts are great for servers in a casual dining room or kitchen staff. As with all culinary apparel, it is important to provide staff members with quality clothing they will be comfortable wearing for long shifts. The Universal Contrast Shirt by ChefWorks combines function and style for both men and women.

The Universal Contrast Shirt features:

  • Short Sleeves
  • Poly/blend material
  • Cool vent panels on both sides
  • Pearl buttons
  • Contrasting stitching

Everyone can find the perfect fit using the handy Size Chart.

Men’s Universal Contrast Shirt:

Starting at only $23.95 each, this comfortable and cool shirt is available in sizes XS-XL. Sizes 2XL-4XL are also available for an additional cost of $2 per X. As always at ChefsCloset.com, save over 20% when you buy in larger quantities. The Men’s version comes in your choice of:

  • Black/Gray
  • Black/Merlot
  • Black/Red

Women’s Universal Contrast Shirt:

The women’s version sells for the same price as the men’s, $23.95 with a discount for buying in multiples. Sizes run from XS-XL with 2XL available for an additional $2. The fitted style of the shirt is flattering for women of all shapes and sizes. Color options are:

  • Black/Gray
  • Black/Lime
  • Black/Merlot
  • Black/Orange
  • Black/Red

Text embroidery is available on both versions for an additional cost of $9.95. You can choose up to three lines of text in over 20 thread colors. Upload and add an embroidered logo for only $5.95 more.

The Universal Contrast Shirt is a great option to outfit your entire staff. This durable, comfortable, stylish shirt will fit in with any theme or concept.

Posted in Chef Shirts

Apron Style Guide

Aprons are worn by workers in many professions. Sometimes they serve mostly in a functioning role to protect clothing and the person. Other times they are used to make a fashion statement or send a branding message. In the culinary field, the apron typically serves both purposes as it is worn by kitchen and front of the house staff.

Choosing the right apron for the job can be a daunting task with so many options available. When selecting an apron, keep the following in mind.

  • All employee apparel should match the theme, decor, and/or overall vibe of your restaurant.
  • Front of the house staff serve as the first impression for your business.
  • For a modern, unique look opt for bold colors and logo or name embroidery.

In the world of apron styles, there are four basic types. Each one sends a different message to customers.

Waist

Standard waist aprons feature a few shallow pockets in the front with ties for an adjustable fit. This type is practical, common, and fits with a classic style. Because the apron only covers a portion of the lower body, specialized shirts and bottoms are an integral part of the uniform.  

 

 

Bistro

The distinctive feel of a bistro apron often gives off a formal, elegant vibe. This type ties around the waist, but the apron extends down to the ankles.

 

Bib

An apron that covers the front of the body from the chest to the knees is called a bib apron. This cut offers a clean feel and comes in a variety of styles. The v-neck option looks more high-fashion while striped versions can give an industrial feel.

 

Cobbler

The cobbler apron covers both the front and back of a person from shoulders to thighs. This style is great for a retro or home-cooked feel.

Whether using aprons for waitstaff or kitchen staff, the style you choose is important. From function to branding, aprons serve many purposes in any restaurant.

Posted in Uncategorized

10 Kinds of Ham to Serve this Easter

The best reason historians can come up with for the popularity of eating ham on Easter Sunday is that pigs were a symbol of luck in a pre-Christian Europe. While there are many types of meat called hams, a true ham is described as coming from the back leg of a hog. If you’re looking for a unique take on this traditional dish, consider the following.

  1. Asian glazed ham incorporates flavor profiles specific to Asian cultures such as orange and soy.
  2. Spicy glazed ham can incorporate a sweet element like honey with a spicy element like sriracha for a memorable meal.
  3. Sweet glazed ham is more traditional in the U.S. and typically includes maple syrup and brown sugar.
  4. Savory glazed hams tend to have a mustard base.
  5. Smoked hams can be time consuming, but pack a lot of flavor. Using different types of wood for smoking will change the flavor profile.
  6. A fresh ham is one that is raw, uncured, uncooked, and still has the skin on.
  7. Dry-cured hams are preserved with salt then air dried for months.
  8. Wet-cured hams are the most popular type of ham in the U.S. and are cured by brine soaking.
  9. Canned ham is an acquired taste for most, either you’ve acquired it or you haven’t. Don’t discount this gelatinous meat yet, just look at the popularity of it’s cousin Spam!
  10. Corned ham is made in the same way as corned beef. Like a dry-cured ham it is preserved in salt, but only for a week and then it is roasted.

While guests may be expecting ham specials around Easter time, as a chef it is your job to expand and excite their palate. So,l grab your chef coat and give diners a ham dinner they’ll never forget.

Posted in Chef Coats

Habits of Effective Managers

As a restaurant owner, chef, or restaurant manager, part of your job likely includes managing other staff members. Developing an effective management style can take years of research along with trial-and-error. Many people confuse leadership with management, however they are not necessarily the exact same thing.

While there are many management styles to choose from, some qualities and characteristics of effective managers have been clearly shown as superior.

American Intercontinental University suggests there are four basic types of management styles.

  1. Autocratic – staff members/employees have virtually no input
  2. Democratic – communication is vital between manager and employees to make decisions together
  3. Consulting – employee input is encouraged, but decisions still rest with manager
  4. Laid-Back – manager serves in a mentorship role and employees have large freedoms

Experts agree that the most effective management style varies from business to business and each individual involved. According to Harvard Business Review there is one universal quality shared by all great managers. This quality is the ability to look at each employee as an individual and capitalize on their unique strengths. In order to effectively exemplify this skill, managers must:

  • Know the strengths of each individual
  • Learn what triggers those strengths
  • Understand how each person learns

While there is no one right answer to which management style is best, experts from Entrepreneur and Forbes suggest the following 10 qualities are most desirable.

  1. Ability to give constructive criticism
  2. Ask questions
  3. Listen to employee concerns
  4. Encourage opinion and idea sharing
  5. Have (responsible) fun with employees occasionally
  6. Show more than tell
  7. Encourage teamwork
  8. Place emphasis on communication skills
  9. Publicly recognize good work
  10. Be consistent

No matter your management style or specific role, this information can help you evaluate your own performance as well as that of others. Whether wearing a chef coat, business suit, or front of the house uniform, managers should always be looking to improve employee relations, customer experience, and revenue.

Posted in Chef Coats

Product Spotlight: Cool Vent Baggy Pants

As the weather begins to heat up alongside the kitchen, consider attire that works for you. Choosing chef coats, pants, undergarments, and shoes that can withstand high temperatures and protect your body are a must for any chef. Keep cool while still looking professional when wearing Cool Vent Baggy Pants by ChefWorks.

This unixes chef  pant is made from a poly cotton lite twill and features Cool Vent material in strategic locations. The elastic drawstring waist and variety of sizes make this versatile pant perfect for any body type. Available sizes range from Adult XS-XL. For a minimal additional cost, sizes 2XL and 3XL are also an option. To find the perfect fit, use the handy Size Chart  provided.

Currently available only in black, the Cool Vent Pant costs $38.95 each, but your comfort is well worth the investment. Save up to 13% when you buy in lots of six or 24.

The Cool Vent Baggy Pants feature:

  • 2 front pockets
  • 2 back pockets with Cool Vent detail
  • Zipper fly
  • Elastic, drawstring waist
  • Cool Vent inserts on side seam and back of knee

The Cool Vent technology paired with a baggy style pant and lightweight fabric make these the ultimate cooling chef pants. This modern look coupled with modern conveniences can help you take your culinary prowess to the next level. Looking and feeling good will give you more culinary confidence to wow guests.

Posted in Chef Coats

Celebrate the Bounty of Spring

Spring is here and brings with it a zest for life and all things natural. Help guests celebrate the season by creating dishes that highlight all Spring has to offer. You can surely incorporate the well-known symbols of this time of year – the egg or rabbit. But, there are also many produce options that are ripening around the country.

Some notable culinary stars of Spring include:

  • Apricots
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocadoes
  • Carrots
  • Chives
  • Fava Beans
  • Fennel
  • Leeks
  • Mangoes
  • Morels
  • Peas
  • Pineapple
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Watercress

If these ingredients don’t currently have a home on your menu, consider incorporating one or two into existing dishes. Those you regularly use some of these foods can embrace the energy of the season by cooking them in new ways. Grab your chef coat and give guests a taste of the season with a meal they’ll never forget.

While any fresh, local ingredient can be featured at any meal and in any course, there are a few key ways to showcase the bounty of spring.

  • Soups and Stews: Feature several ingredients at the same time with a fresh Spring Stew while there is still a chill in the air. Highlight an individual food with a focused soup.
  • Add a Sauce: Fresh, local produce is often best suited to standing alone. Their flavor is sufficient without a lot of fuss, but a light sauce or dip can enhance the experience.
  • Dessert Substitutes: Many desserts are versatile in that any fruit can be substituted in. Look for ways to dress up standard desserts with in-season produce.

Any good chef understands the value of seasonal ingredients.  Find out what’s in season near you by visiting a farmer’s market or using an online tool like Sustainable Table’s Seasonal Food Guide. The rest is up to your imagination and knowledge of flavor profiles.

Posted in Chef Coats

Gluten Free Cooking Can Catapult Culinary Creativity

In today’s world we all know someone with food sensitivities. From allergies to gastrointestinal conditions, special diets are becoming the norm. One big culprit – gluten. So, just what is this culinary terror and how can you use it as inspiration?

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten is a protein commonly found in wheat, rye and barley. At first mention, it sounds like one’s dining options would be cut in half or more if they have to follow a gluten free diet. On the contrary, it only opens up a world of creativity.

Having to think outside the box, focus on natural foods, and design meals around the omission of certain ingredients can lead to culinary genius.

Start by examining the foods to be avoided. Then list off general categories that are still a go, like:

  • Produce
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood
  • Dairy
  • Beans, legumes, and nuts
  • Rice
  • Quinoa

Many gluten free dishes are right in line with dining trends today. There is a focus on fresh ingredients, an introduction to exciting exotic flavors, and the creative freedom to blow guests minds. Because gluten free diets are so common right now, there are also many products on the market that allow everyone to enjoy the same foods.

Gourmet meals should be high quality and require skillful preparation. Asian flavors and noodles made from rice are a no-brainer when it comes to gluten free cooking. Mexican-inspired cuisines that utilize corn, meat, and produce like peppers are another great place to start. Everything from baked goods to paella are possible when your imagination is challenged to run wild.

Cooking with cautions in mind doesn’t mean limiting creativity. On the contrary, it just might open your imagination to broader possibilities. Don’t look at dietary restrictions as a nuisance, see them as the creative challenge they are. What are you waiting for? Grab your chef coat, knives, and imagination.

Posted in Chef Coats

Keeping Up With Culinary News

Culinary research, trends, and discoveries are constantly evolving. Keeping up with current events related to cooking and the restaurant business can be a huge benefit for chefs and restaurateurs. Sure you’re busy, but everyone has time for some light reading whether it’s at work, before bed, or even in the bathroom.

Stay on top of industry news by carefully selecting the publications you read regularly. A few popular magazines loved by industry professionals and consumers alike include:

  1. Bon Appetit – This ultra-popular food lifestyle magazine features articles on a variety of topics as they relate to the culinary industry.
  2. Food and Wine – With the mission of finding what’s new and exciting in the culinary world, it’s no wonder this magazine is coveted.
  3. Saveur – This global guide features all things cooking and food travel around the world.

For those spending more time on the computer, tablet, or smartphone there are also many useful blogs to follow:

  1. Reserve – The popular app helps diners while their blog offers insider tips for restaurant owners.
  2. Modern Restaurant Management – Topics include marketing, operations, finance, and law in this one-stop read for advice on the business side of restaurants.
  3. Restaurant Den – Written exclusively for restaurant owners, this blog features tons of useful info in a variety of categories.

Our world is laden with media outlets to fit every niche. Find what speaks to you in magazines and blogs along with other online outlets like:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest

Whether you follow your favorite celebrity chef on social media or subscribe to an influential magazine, these free and cheap sources can provide a wealth of knowledge. Everything from chef coat trends to creative recipes can be found online and in print. 

Posted in Chef Coats

Product Spotlight: Children’s Aprons

The life of a child is messy by nature. Protect your kids’ or students’ clothing from dirt, paint, and food with an apron. ChefsCloset.com has a variety of colors, sizes, and styles to fit the needs of every kid.

Bib Apron, 2 Pocket

The 2-pocket bib aprons come in two sizes. The Child Bib Apron, 2 Pockets is made by Uncommon Threads and comes in white. One large pouch at the bottom front of the apron is separated into two pockets. The apron is approximately 13” wide and 19” long with 18” long ties. At only $6.95 each this popular apron is functional and affordable.

The Youth Bib Apron, 2 Pockets has all the same features as the Child size and sells for $7.95 each. This apron is about 20” wide and 25” long with 26.5” ties. Both aprons are made from a poly/cotton blend for easy cleaning.

 

Youth Bib Apron, No Pockets

For a sleeker style and fewer places to hide messes, the Youth Bib Apron is a perfect fit. For only $8.95 each this apron comes in your choice of red, royal blue, or yellow. The 2-piece slider adjustable neck function makes this a one-size-fits-most for children in preschool and early elementary grades. Made from a poly/cotton twill, the apron is 20” long and 15” wide.

                                                                                                                     Youth Cobbler Apron

The Youth Cobbler Apron, 1 Pocket features wide front and back panels with ties on each side. Available in red, royal blue, and yellow this apron is only $11.95 each. It is made from a poly/cotton twill and features a center divided pouch pocket. The apron measures 22” in length and 14” wide.

Youth Chef Apron

This sleek and sturdy apron is fit for any aspiring chef in preschool or early elementary grades. The Youth Chef Apron features two pockets in the front and ties in the back. It measures 18.5” in length and 17” wide. Available in white, royal blue, and red this apron is $21.95.

All of these aprons can be customized with personalized embroidery. Text embroidery of up to 3 lines can be added for an extra $9.95. Custom logos can be added for only $5.95. You choose the colors, font, and location of the embroidery. As always, you can save up to 44% when buying in quantities of 12 or 24.

Choosing an apron to fit the needs of the kids in your life takes planning. Consider the primary uses and select an apron that works for your purpose.

Posted in Uncategorized

What is Leadership?

There are many jobs in the culinary industry that require excellent leadership skills. From restaurant owners to chefs and dining room managers, leadership is integral in making these high-paced workplaces function smoothly. So, what is leadership exactly? The truth is, it has many meanings and many styles.

Here are just a few traits to consider when looking for leaders, or evaluating your own skills.

  • Inspiration – Mental stimulation, especially in a creative manner, can make your establishment stand out and your employees excited to come to work.
  • Focus – Have a clear vision of your goals, theme, and intentions at all times to keep from getting distracted by things that don’t matter or can be delegated.
  • Confidence – It is important to not only feel self-assured, but also to instill an unspoken trust among those you lead.
  • Integrity -Your ability to be honest while upholding strong morals can make or break the team.
  • Passion -If you don’t love what you’re doing, why should anyone who works for you?
  • Decisiveness – Decisions won’t always be clear cut or easy, what’s important is that you able to make decisions quickly and steadfastly when needed.
  • Communication – The ability to listen to others and understand their point of view as well as express yourself in an understandable way are paramount in this industry.
  • Authenticity – Being genuine in your intentions and presentation to both staff and the public can enhance relationships.
  • Adaptable – With so many moving parts, this industry is prone to lots of mishaps, mix-ups, and unexpected circumstances. How well you can adjust to anything thrown your way says a lot about you.

No matter your leadership style, these traits have been shown repeatedly as some of the top skills of great leaders. Simply wearing a chef coat does not implore people to follow you, being a good leader does.

Posted in Chef Coats