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I'm not sure what motivates people to feel uncomfortable wearing a practical kitchen garment at home, and I'm not here to speculate as to motivation....

Hi,

I will speculate about the motivation. For many of us it is the embarrassment of seeing a dilletante poseur dressing the part but not walking the walk.

For me it was two couples preparing a 6 course meal for a charity fund raiser. Three of us spent our time in the kitchen preparing complex food and beautiful presentations. The fourth ironed his new and expensive chefs coat and mingled with the guests. He did not cook one item and it was an embarrassment.

The difference between a chef and a cook is not the t-shirt vs. coat. "It's just the quality of the tatoos."

Tim

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I'm seeing words like "arrogant," "affectation," and "silly" used to describe the practice of wearing a chef's coat in the home kitchen. That, my friends, is "nonsense."

Perhaps it would be an affectation to don an entire chef's uniform, including a tall toque, to prepare dinner for the family. But I think we have established that a chef's coat is above all a practical garment that protects the body and clothes from splatters and stains -- and does a far better job of it than an apron. In this regard, using a chef's coat at home is the same as using any appropriate piece of professional cooking equipment at home: it's smart.

I'm not sure what motivates people to feel uncomfortable wearing a practical kitchen garment at home, and I'm not here to speculate as to motivation. But there's certainly no good reason to feel uncomfortable.

I agree. After this topic was started, I went back in the closet to actually try on the Chef's coat I got from the Wynn. I had never actually tried it on-I didn't know if it fit, and for some reason I can't explain, I thought it was made of some heavy sort of cotton fabric that would be itchy and uncomfortable. But I had no firm experience to back-up my claims.

Well-it fits perfectly-so thanks go to the people at the Wynn who looked me over and guessed my size precisely without measuring my girth!

More importantly, the Chef's coat is 100% cotton but has a light texture and feel. It's obviously been made with the heat of a professional kitchen in mind.

I tried it on and I prefer it to the aprons I typically wear-my arms would be protected, and the coat gives more protection to the neck area, not to mention the additional splatter and stain protection I wouldn't get from a t-shirt or an apron.

Now the Wynn Chef's coat is certainly a valuable collectible, and a memory of a wonderful visit to their kitchens last year, so I certainly won't wear it in my kitchen when I roast the Easter dinner Leg of Lamb. It is going back in my library with my cookbook collection.

But this discussion has caused me to buy a similar Chef's coat, without the autographs, to have available to wear at home. I may not wear it when I heat up some soup, but it's going to be a part of my kitchen in the future.

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nope. Don't wear one or own one. I don't even own an apron. However, I have given thought to buying cooks shirts and pairing that with an apron. And getting a pair of Crocs, too. But only to wear in the house. Never ever ever out in public!

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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The analogies to firefighters' uniforms and race-car drivers' protective jumpsuits seem weak. For one thing, were I going to fight a fire or drive a race-car, I'd of course want the appropriate protective gear. For another thing, those are highly specialized, expensive, bulky items that would indeed be silly to wear when, for example, driving to the grocery store. A $30 chef's coat, designed to be worn when cooking food, is not analogous.

I'm a lot less concerned about a home cook using a piece of utilitarian professional gear for an appropriate purpose than I am about the legions of poseur cooks being churned out by the culinary schools today. These kids, who don't cook half as well as the average eGullet Society member, not only wear the uniform but also spend their shifts daydreaming about their careers as Food Network stars instead of paying attention to not overcooking the fish. If those people can wear chef's coats, so can all of us.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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.......using a chef's coat at home is the same as using any appropriate piece of professional cooking equipment at home: it's smart.

I'll tag onto the above post from Steven and add a real-life example from my home kitchen that applies to the use of a Chef's coat.

As a home cook, I certainly don't have the knife skills of an experienced Sushi Chef. Over the past couple of years I got incredibly frustrated that I couldn't slice meat thin like the meat I found in the deli. I never considered purchasing an industrial strength meat slicer. I suppose, like wearing a Chef's coat at home, I found it to be incredibly pretentious to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional meat slicer for home use. And what would people say if they walked into my kitchen and saw the buzzer on the counter? Would I be embarassed in front of friends and family for owning what some assume is an unncessary piece of kitchen equipment for the home?

Well, as I mentioned above in my post about the Wynn Chef's jacket, I had no basis in real-life experience to backup any arguments about buying/not buying a professional meat slicer for home use. So I bought one.

It's an incredible addition to my kitchenand now I'm slicing homemade corned beef and making deli quality sandwiches. Nothing beats the texture of thinly sliced meats.

Is it pretentious? Well, some may think so, but I couldn't care less. I'm interested in quality, safety and results. If that means I buy a Chef's coat or meat slicer, I'm willing to make the investment.

Since buying the meat slicer, I've invested in a restaurant grade waffle maker. It cost hundreds, but the quality of the waffles is priceless and it has heat controls and safety features you won't find in cheap waffle makers.

My chef's coat is in the mail.

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The analogies to firefighters' uniforms and race-car drivers' protective jumpsuits seem weak. For one thing, were I going to fight a fire or drive a race-car, I'd of course want the appropriate protective gear. For another thing, those are highly specialized, expensive, bulky items that would indeed be silly to wear when, for example, driving to the grocery store. A $30 chef's coat, designed to be worn when cooking food, is not analogous.

I'm a lot less concerned about a home cook using a piece of utilitarian professional gear for an appropriate purpose than I am about the legions of poseur cooks being churned out by the culinary schools today. These kids, who don't cook half as well as the average eGullet Society member, not only wear the uniform but also spend their shifts daydreaming about their careers as Food Network stars instead of paying attention to not overcooking the fish. If those people can wear chef's coats, so can all of us.

I like your reasoning here. All good points. I'm actually thinking of getting a chef's jacket. Until I read this thread I was thinking it would be incredibly pretentious to wear one at home - because I'm a home cook only, not professional.

*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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My business partner's husband, Joe, is a very good home cook and he wears a chef's jacket while preparing special meals that require hours of prep and cook time. He wears it because of its utility; by the end of the meal it is soiled as would be the case in any professional kitchen. I've been to catered small dinner parties, where the cooking staff wear chef jackets, clearly for practical purposes.

IMO, if you care enough about the food you're preparing to buy the right ingredients, knives, cookware, etc. what could possibly be wrong with the right clothing?

However, the jacket is also a fashion statement when worn at home. Either you feel comfortable wearing it or you don't. Joe does and maybe I'll spring for his next jacket with "Chef Joe" and "Chez Smith" embroidered on it.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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I have two chef's coats, but do not usually wear them when cooking at home. As mentioned in the above post, I too will wear one at home sometimes if I'm cooking a big elaborate meal, both to stay neat and to feel more professional.

I don't think that there is any thing wrong with wearing it whenever you want, but wearing the coat frequently at home seems impractical to me. You would have to be washing it all the time to keep it clean and looking good. While in a real restaurant kitchen, there are fresh clean coats just back from the laundry.

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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The notion a chef's jacket is somehow the "right" piece of equipment or is more utilitarian than other article of clothing is ridiculous.

Anything that can be done while wearing a chef's jacket can be done while not wearing a chef's jacket.

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The notion a chef's jacket is somehow the "right" piece of equipment or is more utilitarian than other article of clothing is ridiculous.

Anything that can be done while wearing a chef's jacket can be done while not wearing a chef's jacket.

LOL

You're taking this way too literally. Perhaps I should have used the word "traditional" or "professional" or the phrase, "accepted by the cooking professional world-wide."

Your point that one doesn't need the jacket is a given. The point of the thread is to answer if "Any home cooks out there who regularly wear a chef's jacket at home? Why do you prefer a chef's jacket over a regular apron? Is it more practical in your home kitchen, do you like the look? Does it make you feel like a professional chef?"

Clearly you don't wear one, but do you own one?

mjc and my friend, Joe, wear theirs when cooking for a bigger event. SusieQ doesn't wear hers (she didn't say why) and Chris doesn't wear his 'cause he thinks it looks silly. David Ross prefers aprons over his collectible jacket, but it looks like he'll be taking the plunge with another one pretty soon.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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The notion a chef's jacket is somehow the "right" piece of equipment or is more utilitarian than other article of clothing is ridiculous.

A chef's coat protects the entire upper body with a double-breasted closure that comes right up to the neck. A t-shirt or button-down shirt doesn't do that. There are quite a few utilitarian features of a chef's coat that you'll notice if you examine one. The sleeve design is nothing like that of a typical article of clothing. The double-breasted closure allows you to button it the other way if you splatter on the first exposed surface. It's designed to be cool while offering maximum protection. There's a pocket. All sorts of stuff.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I don't have any feeling that wearing one is inappropriate. I have two - one from when I used to give cooking demos at The Fresh Market when I worked there and another that was a gift from my in laws from their Mexico cruise. I never wear them, though. I don't even like wearing long sleeves to cook in. T-shirts and a long apron (with pockets or, better yet really long ties that come around the front to tie) is all I can stand.

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I have one that I keep for times when I am baking something to give away.

I have a couple of pets and although I try to keep the kitchen tidy, I am paranoid if I know I am taking food somewhere. The jacket covers my clothes to ensure no contamination. For everyday I like an apron.

Plus the little pocket on the jacket sleeve fits my MP3 player perfectly!!! :biggrin:

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