Gordon Ramsay moves restaurant HQ to Texas from California as his huge brand expansion plans start to take shape

Gordon Ramsay
Gordon Ramsay.

  • Gordon Ramsay has moved his restaurant headquarters to Texas, Dallas Morning News reported
  • The expansion is part of Ramsay’s plan to open dozens more restaurants across North America. 
  • A dedicated team of chefs and businessmen will be based in Las Colinas, Dallas, the outlet added. 

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has relocated his restaurant headquarters from California to Texas, Dallas Morning News reported.

Ramsay has hired a team of businessmen and chefs to expand his restaurant brand across North America, the outlet reported. It added that the team, which will be based in Las Colinas, plans to launch 18 restaurants in cities including Boston, Miami, and Chicago. 

The CEO of Gordon Ramsay North America, Norman Abdallah, will oversee the opening of 75 company-owned restaurants across the country in the next five years, according to Dallas Morning News. 

The availability of chefs and restaurant support staff, as well as the favourable tax policies, are what attracted them to Dallas, Abdallah told the outlet. “The cost of living adjustment [from California to Texas] is pretty substantial,” he added.

Gordon Ramsay North America did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

Insider’s Kate Duffy reported in February that Ramsay took a massive hit to his business during the pandemic, losing $80 million worth of turnover.

The impact of the pandemic has been “incredibly costly,” he told The Sun at the time. “I get criticised for being wealthy, but the responsibility on my shoulders — the livelihoods at stake — is huge.”


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I’m a chef who started my own food cart with my husband just before the pandemic – here’s how we’ve stayed open successfully

Lissette Morales Willis Tim and Lissette both worked as professional chefs before starting the Poppyseed food cart.
Tim and Lissette both worked as professional chefs before starting the Poppyseed food cart.

  • Lissette Morales Willis, 33, is a chef and food-cart owner based in Portland, Oregon.
  • She and her husband opened their food cart Poppyseed in January 2020 to make fine-dining foods more accessible.
  • This is what her job is like, as told to freelance writer Molly O’Brien.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Lissette Morales Willis, a food cart owner based in Portland, Oregon. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I grew up in Rubidoux, California, where there weren’t a lot of fine dining options. My parents worked a lot, so in high school I started taking on the responsibility of cooking our dinners.

At 23, I began a cooking apprenticeship at The 10th Restaurant, a seasonal restaurant at a mountaintop resort in Vail, Colorado. There, I met my husband, Tim, and we both experienced “fancy” food for the first time. It became our dream to share that feeling and make fine dining more accessible, instead of intimidating and expensive.

As an apprentice, I got assigned to pastry. Tim and I decided to move to Chicago so I could do culinary training at a pastry school there. There, we worked as “stagiaires,” gigging for a week or a month at a time at various Michelin Star restaurants.

In September 2017, we moved to Portland and continued working in restaurants. We always had the idea of starting a food cart, with me on pastry and Tim doing savory foods.

We got our cart in September 2019 and kept it in storage for a few months while prepping and outfitting it to cook.

Lissette Morales Willis
Lissette Morales Willis.

The cart itself cost $30,000, so we did our best to be thrifty and buy equipment from Craigslist, Goodwill, and used kitchen equipment warehouses. As a food vendor, getting operating permits was also a lengthy process. In January 2020 we moved it to the Killingsworth Station Food Cart pod for inspection, and officially opened on January 16.

We both love the outdoors, so it’s great to run an open-air dining experience. The food pod scene is also a fun place to hang out and get to know our community. Since Killingworth will be developed into an apartment complex over the next few years, we’re preparing to move to Hinterland Bar and Carts this December.

Owning and running food cart comes with unique challenges.

Lissette Morales Willis
Poppyseed’s Coconut Peach Ring Panna Cotta dessert and Honey Cake dessert.

Tim and I have a 3-year-old son, and finding reliable childcare can be tough. We don’t have any family or super close friends here in Portland, and the closest daycare is about 45 minutes from the food truck. Depending on business, we pay for childcare one or two days a week so we can work together. Otherwise, Tim works on the truck 60+ hours while I take care of our son, and I work doing prep during non-service hours.

Being a woman cook, the most difficult part for me sometimes is getting the same respect from customers as Tim does. When a customer is unhappy, I try to remind myself that everyone has different culinary tastes. But as a chef, you’re doing this to make people happy, so it’s hard not to take feedback personally.

Our day-to-day tasks on the cart include doing a lot of dishes.

Lissette Morales Willis
Lissette Morales Willis.

Each day begins with making a list of items we need to pick up before going to the cart, which often includes stops at farmers markets, purveyors, supply stores, and bakeries.

At the cart, we unload, unpack, put away the supplies, and assess what needs to be made. Before we start cooking, we fill the three compartment sinks, put away dishes that dried overnight, turn on the gas, light the pilots, and get to work.

There isn’t much room to do more than one task at a time without cleaning up, so we spend a lot of time doing dishes. At the end of the day, Tim brings our son Eliah and I go back to being “Mom” while he takes over.

Our first week of business was rough – we didn’t make enough to even pay the gas bill.

Poppyseed's Breaded Tenderloin Sandwich. Lissette Morales Willis
Poppyseed’s Breaded Tenderloin Sandwich.

It takes time to start making money, and the pandemic didn’t help. In the first three months of 2020, we brought in a little over $2,000. A big part of that was because about $1,200 a month was going to daycare. Since then, there’s been a slow but progressive increase in business.

As a small business owner, I’ve learned the importance of being flexible and understanding. A schedule is really just a “guideline” for your day or week – and if something doesn’t get done, you can get it done the next day. Every day we can learn something new. We’ve definitely made mistakes, but we don’t hold them over ourselves or against one another.

In the future we want to still be cooking with as little between us and the outdoors as possible. We don’t know what that will look like but we want to establish close relationships with farms and local resources to be part of a strong community network.

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The 11 essential kitchen tools you shouldn’t pay more than $10 for, according to professional chefs

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

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  • Not every kitchen tool needs to be a huge investment. Even professional chefs have budget favorites.
  • These tools are all versatile, useful, and importantly, less than $10.
  • Our picks include a tea infuser you can use for spices and a mini spatula that’s exactly the right shape for scrambled eggs.

Stocking a home kitchen can be expensive.

Between high-quality cookware sets, sharp and shiny knives, and a cabinetful of small appliances like stand mixers and pressure cookers, your kitchen will certainly start to take form – often at the expense of your wallet.

Related Article Module: 12 direct-to-consumer kitchen startups that are changing the way we shop for cookware and knives

However, it’s gratifying to remember that not every single kitchen tool costs hundreds of dollars. Sometimes, you only need to spend 10 bucks (or less) for a useful accessory that you’ll end up using every day, and for a variety of tasks.

Professional chefs know better than anyone that price doesn’t always indicate utility or quality. I asked 10 chefs around the country to share their favorite budget cooking tools and they had plenty to recommend.

Here are 11 small but useful kitchen tools, all under $10:

A mini measuring cup

kitchen tools under 10

Mini Angled Measuring Cup

Mini Angled Measuring Cup (button)

Not only is this the cutest little measuring cup ever, but I use it for everything! Forget about digging through your drawer and picking up every measuring spoon before you find the right one. This angled measuring cup makes it easy to measure everything from vanilla in your cookies to tequila in your marg. —Kristen Tomlan, founder & CEO of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections

A tea infuser that can be used for much more than tea leaves

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Mesh Ball Tea Infuser

Mesh-ball tea infuser (button)

I love to use tea balls, and they’re definitely not just for tea. I like to use them for my spices for all my stocks; it’s a must-own in our household, especially for Phố. —Jimmy Ly, chef and owner of Madame Vo NYC and Madame Vo BBQ

Versatile glass mason jars

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Ball 16-ounce Glass Mason Jar

16-ounce Glass Mason Jar (button)

I use mason jars for many things, most recently as a makeshift cocktail shaker when my standard one was in the dishwasher. I mix salad dressings in them, store leftovers, sauces, nuts, flours, etc., in them and also use them as an earth-friendly way to share extra food with neighbors and friends. —Michele Rubini, chef at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele

A small spatula that lets you grab every last ingredient

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Wilton Mini Jar Spatula (Set of 2)

Mini Jar Spatula (Set of 2) (button)

The mini spatula is rarely spoken of, but to me, this is the greatest tool for mixing, making fluffy scrambled eggs, and helping get out all the good bits in a blender or food processor. Don’t overlook the power of a mini spatula! —Vikki Krinsky, celebrity chef and founder of VK Energy

A spray tool that you attach directly to your lime or lemon

Citrus Sprayer Lifestyle

Utopia Kitchen Store Citrus Sprayer

Citrus Sprayer  (button)

This is a unique tool that will impress your friends as well. It’s a great way to get fresh citrus juice without the mess of juicing, and it works great with salt or sugar for rimming glasses for your cocktails or spraying onto a salad for a fresh dressing. —Zach Van Gaasbeek, regional chef at Bottleneck Management

A sharp zester and grater

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Microplane Zester Grater

40001 Zester Grater (button)

A microplane and a good vegetable peeler are invaluable. I use a microplane for a variety of tasks, and home cooks would benefit from this tool since it is so versatile. You can grate garlic, ginger, cheese, and whole spices such as nutmeg. The grater is sharp enough that it is efficient and will not bruise your product. —Mari Katsumura, executive chef & pastry chef at Yūgen

A small strainer with an extra long handle

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Helen’s Asian Kitchen Mini Spider Strainer

Mini Spider Strainer (button)

This tool can be used for lifting vegetables, pasta, fritters, eggs, or anything else that is cooked in boiling water or hot oil from a fryer. This is a very safe way of straining instead of pouring into a colander and avoiding being splashed with hot water or oil. —Paul Katz, corporate executive chef at Bottleneck Management

A tool that squeezes lemon juice

kitchen tools under 10 3

Aluminum Lemon Squeezer

Aluminum Lemon Squeezer  (button)

The citrus squeezer is my secret weapon. I use citrus juice to make everything taste better and this little guy helps keep things efficient, clean, and seed free! —Vikki Krinsky, celebrity chef and founder of VK Energy

A pair of long wooden chopsticks

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Donxote Extra Long Wooden Chopsticks

Extra Long Wooden Chopsticks (button)

Coming in many sizes and materials, chopsticks are extremely versatile, and I find myself using them in different ways every day. I use this 16.5-inch wooden pair for placing garnishes, cooking, stirring, plating, and more. —Sharone Hakman, chef and founder of Hak’s

A shaker to fill with your favorite seasoning

kitchen tools under 10 4

Cambro Camwear Shaker

Camwear Shaker (button)

I am a huge fan of the Cambro Camview Shakers. We use these in our BJ’s kitchens and I also use them at home — they are super versatile, inexpensive, durable, and dishwasher safe.

I also like that you can purchase different lids and use the same base container for different types of seasoning or preparation styles. These are the unsung heroes of BJ’s kitchens and versatile workhorses for every type of chef, from professional to amateur. —Scott Rodriguez, senior vice president of Culinary & Kitchen Innovation at BJ’s Restaurant, Inc.

A splatter screen to reduce kitchen messes

kitchen tools under 10 5

Harold Import Stainless Steel Splatter Screen

Stainless Steel Splatter Screen (button)

This one is a few dollars over the limit at the moment, but I fry a lot of food at home and it prevents the oil from splattering on me and the stove and floor. It’s a simple tool that makes cleaning up a lot easier. —Jimmy Ly, chef and owner of Madame Vo NYC and Madame Vo BBQ

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The Japanese eat 10,000 tons of fugu each year. Here’s what makes the poisonous pufferfish so expensive.

There are over 120 species of puffer fish, and 22 different kinds are approved by the Japanese government for use in restaurants. But one is more prized, and more poisonous, than the others: torafugu, or tiger puffer fish.

Wild torafugu is often found at high-end restaurants, where it’s served as perfectly thinly sliced sashimi, deep-fried, and even used to make a hot sake called hirezake. Yamadaya has been serving puffer fish for over 100 years. Their fugu is caught in southern Japan and airlifted alive to their Tokyo restaurants.

In Haedomari Market the fugu is auctioned off using a bag and hidden hand signals. Each potential buyer puts their hand in the bag and makes their bid secretly, before a successful bidder is chosen.

When selling such a dangerous food, safety is paramount. In 2018, a supermarket accidentally sold five packets of the fish that hadn’t had the poisonous liver removed, and the town used its missile-alert system to warn residents.

The tetrodotoxin found in fugu is more toxic than cyanide, and each year about 20 people are poisoned from badly prepared fish.

It takes a lot of skill and training to prepare the fish safely and know which parts are poisonous.

The poisonous parts can vary by species, and hybrid species are appearing now that are even harder to tell apart. One of the hardest things to distinguish between can be the female fugu’s ovaries, which are extremely toxic, and the male’s testicles, which are a delicacy.

The Japanese government tightly control who can prepare fugu, and chefs need to take an extensive exam before they’re legally allowed to serve the fish. This rigorous regulation means that while the fish can be lethal, far more people die from eating oysters than fugu each year.

All of the skill and training that goes into preparing this fish increases the price. The fish is killed seconds before preparation. And while the process looks gruesome as the muscles continue to spasm, the fish is dead.

This method of killing the fish means that the meat stays fresh for longer, and at Yamadaya, the fugu is aged for 24 hours before it’s served. So what does it actually taste like?

There’s another reason tiger fugu is getting more expensive: overfishing.

Tiger puffer fish is near threatened, and in 2005 the Japanese government limited its fishing quotas and seasons. Another popular edible species across Japan, the Chinese puffer fish, has declined in population by 99.9% over the last 45 years.

Farmed versions are much cheaper, and many more affordable chain fugu restaurants are starting to appear, but the farmed version is difficult to raise, and many consumers say it doesn’t taste as good.

Wild fugu’s high price guarantees that it is safely prepared by an expert chef, and when you’re dealing with a potentially deadly fish, that price is reassuringly expensive.

With thanks to Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in July 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A banker quit to become a chef and saw his bank balance drop to $230. Despite burnout and a pandemic, he would never go back.

Juma (second right) at work.
It took Philip Juma seven years to open his first restaurant.

  • Philip Juma left a career in wealth management to follow his passion to showcase Iraqi food.
  • He had no formal training but spent 7 years running pop-up kitchens and working in restaurants.
  • Juma told us about his tough journey and why, despite the pandemic, a 9-5 holds no appeal.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Food has always been part of Philip Juma’s life.

Growing up in London to an Iraqi father and an Irish-English mother, he remembers bringing Iraqi-inspired dishes into school for his friends to try. Food was Juma’s calling, yet he entered the cold, logical world of finance.

He achieved a 2:1 in economics for business from Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, before taking a job in the City, first for a series of wealth management startups, then for UBS.

He was comfortable – earning a salary of around £2,500 (around $3,500) a month aged 24 – but he knew he wasn’t happy.

Working through the 2008 financial crisis took its toll, and food still held a certain fascination.

“I was in a world that just wasn’t aligned with my morals, wasn’t aligned with who I was as a person,” Juma, now 37, told Insider.

He would spend vacations and weekends working shifts in top restaurants, but didn’t feel like he was able to make the jump. He also didn’t want to disappoint his parents.

You convince yourself that this is what people want from you,said Juma of his high-flying finance career.

It took six years to finally make a change.

Juma worked restaurant shifts alongside a consulting gig

He left finance, becoming an account manager at an energy consultancy. It involved fewer hours and meant that he could earn a wage while honing his experience running occasional supper club pop-ups, working freelance as a chef for hire company and covering shifts in restaurants.

To the dismay of his Dad, in 2014 he quit his job in consulting and decided to start cheffing full time – despite being unable to afford cookery school.

“My Dad said: ‘You’re going to quit a well paid job in finance to become a dishwasher?’,” recalls Juma. “It was hard, I hadn’t worked out anything, but knew that I just wanted to put Iraqi food on the map.”

He spent the next seven years in various cookery roles: running pop-up restaurants, cheffing at events, working as a freelance chef, and a stint managing a Lebanese restaurant in London.

A post shared by JUMA (@jumakitchen)

Pursuing his passion meant a serious dent to his finances.

His income dropped from a take-home of roughly £2,500 a month after tax – to taking home around £300 ($500) after he’d cover the staffing, venue, and food costs of his once-monthly pop-up – which would be three days full work.

His income wasn’t always so low, but was inconsistent, based on wedding seasons or on a job-by-job basis.

“It’s very alienating because it makes you ask whether you’ve made the right decision. ‘Of course I should be out for dinner with my friends tonight – but I can’t afford it’,” said Juma.

By the time January 2019 came around he said that he experienced burnout. He had £167 ($230) in his bank account, no savings, and “nothing to show for it.”

Opening at a famous London food market was a breakthrough

But when the doubts crept in, something would generally happen to give him motivation.

Out of the blue, he received a call to train chefs on a Saudi royal yacht. Earlier in his career he’d been offered a column in the Evening Standard newspaper.

Then in mid-2019, he was given the chance to finally make a consistent income. Borough Market, the famed London food market,was looking for new blood. Juma applied, and was accepted.

Borough Market
London’s Borough Market.

Juma Kitchen, his first permanent site, opened in December 2019. It gained momentum, and Juma estimates that he worked between 14- and 16-hour days.

Then COVID-19 emerged, and restaurants had to close their doors.

“Borough was my first opportunity to make a consistent income, and it’s been taken away from me,” said Juma.

He said that he has suffered burnout during the pandemic. Being open on social media about his need to slow down – and the support he received in return helped him find a better balance and learn that it’s okay to step away at times.

Juma Kitchen is open again, but takings are roughly 60% on what they should be. He’s optimistic that when the tourists and office workers return it will “shine”.

In the meantime he’s been able to build his reputation, appearing on the BBC to cook his food, which has received rave reviews, being invited to cook at festivals.

Make the change slowly – don’t jump all in

Despite the challenges, Juma says he would never go back to the stable comfort of a city career, and no longer suffers doubt about his career choice. He says that his parents are very proud.

Nonetheless, he has advice for anyone considering leaving the stability of a full time career: Don’t jump all in straight away.

“Have a mini earner on the side or cut down your hours so you get some income,” he said. “Structure your life so that you’ve still got the safety net that pays all your overheads, but gives you time to pursue what you love.”

“You need to be ready for a level of discomfort that is interrupting what we always think is the norm.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

We love these sturdy, colorful aprons used by chefs – right now you can get one for 50% off during the brand’s mystery box sale

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

hedley and bennett apron review 7

  • Hedley & Bennett is an apron brand created by a former line cook.
  • Hedley & Bennett’s aprons are made from durable, breathable, beautiful materials, with thoughtful details.
  • Right now, you can save up to 50% on select aprons during the brand’s mystery box sale.

Mystery Box (medium)

When shopping for your kitchen, it’s easy to get caught up in what cookware and kitchen appliances to buy, or which cookbooks to stock your shelf with. But you can’t forget about the simple accessories that have a big impact on your cooking experience.

Take, for example, the humble and hardworking apron.

An apron bears the brunt of kitchen chaos, protecting your skin and clothing from oil splashes, errant flour, and more. An apron with pockets is even better – that way, you can store tools like pens and kitchen scissors for easy access as you prepare and cook your meal.

The apron brand created by a former cook

Not every apron is created equal, something that Ellen Bennett realized while working as a line cook in Providence, a two Michelin-starred restaurant in Los Angeles. The aprons there were cheap, unbreathable, and rigid, and they were holding back rather than helping the kitchen staff.

Armed with her field knowledge of what professional cooks really want in an apron and her interest in design, Bennett set off in 2012 to craft sturdy, comfortable aprons made with colorful, higher-quality materials.

She called her company Hedley & Bennett, and business took off within the restaurant industry. Within the year, she was outfitting places like Bäco Mercat and all of Rick Bayless’ restaurants.

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Since then, Hedley & Bennett has outfitted more than 6,000 restaurants worldwide, selling over one million aprons to industry professionals and tens of thousands more to home cooks. It has also expanded past aprons into other chefs’ apparel.

How Hedley & Bennett’s aprons are different

While the brand’s roots are in professional kitchens, Hedley & Bennett has also become a consumer favorite because its aprons combine utility, comfort, and style.

Materials and construction: The brand uses high-quality materials, including raw American denim, lightweight cotton twill, and British natural waxed canvas for the apron bodies, cotton and leather for the straps, and brass hardware throughout. Pockets and straps are reinforced for extra durability.

Should your apron have weak stitching or broken hardware, you can send it back to the brand for free repair (within one year of your purchase).

hedley and bennett apron review 4

Comfort: Since the aprons have adjustable straps made from soft materials, you’ll be able to focus on the cooking task at hand, rather than any shifting garments. The long waist straps let you create a snug, customized fit so the apron practically feels like a second skin.

Style: Hedley & Bennett’s aprons come in many sleek and appealing styles and colors, whether you want a neon apron or a vintage-style, pinstriped one. The brand also occasionally drops limited-edition collaborations, like this recent Santa Fe inspired pattern designed by Modern Family actor Jesse Taylor Ferguson. You can even create custom bulk orders for your company or restaurant.

Features to look for in an apron, according to a chef

Michael Poiarkoff, the culinary director and executive chef at The Maker Hotel, recommends that you pay attention to the material, number of pockets, and neck strap design as you shop for aprons.

On material: “When looking for an apron, I try to find something with a nice combination of form and function. I prefer an apron that is closer to blanket size, hitting below my knee and wrapping around me as to almost touch in the back. A heavier, tight-knit material is preferable so that water wicks away and the apron can be easily cleaned; anything light and loose has a limited number of wears in a professional kitchen.”

On pockets: “I like two pockets. One breast pocket large enough for five writing utensils (pencil, pen, dry-erase marker, permanent marker, highlighter), and one side pocket large enough for a paring knife and a snack. I try to make sure all of my aprons have the same pocket set-up as not to confuse my hands when things inevitably get hectic. Too many pockets leave room for fumbling around and increases the risk of getting caught on refrigerator handles, door hinges, and counter corners.”

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On neck straps: “Most culinary aprons have an adjustable strap that loops around the back of your neck. With this style of apron, the strap often jumps up over the collar of my chef’s coat and annoyingly rubs my skin all day. While the behind-the-neck strap isn’t a deal-breaker for me, a cross-back apron is preferable. With a cross-back apron, the straps go directly from shoulder to hip with nothing hitting the neck.”

Do Hedley & Bennett’s aprons fit the bill?

Mostly. They’re large and made from heavier materials, and they have at least two pockets. Many of the brand’s aprons have an adjustable neck strap, but Hedley & Bennett also has a whole section for cross-back aprons.

Ultimately, the best apron for you will still probably come down to personal preference. In general, however, you’ll want to make sure your apron is sturdy, comfy, and something you won’t mind wearing every cooking session.

In our experience, Hedley & Bennett’s aprons fit all these criteria. And more than something we wouldn’t mind wearing, they’re the aprons and chef’s gear we’re actively excited to put on every single time.

Find our individual reviews of three Hedley & Bennett products below.

A striped denim apron

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Hickory Classic Apron, available in one size

I love how sturdy yet comfortable this denim apron is, and it definitely gets extra style points. Its chest pocket is nice because it has two layers, so you can store pens and your phone or any other tool up there and nothing will get scratched up. Meanwhile, there are two more deep pockets by your hips to let you store anything else.

The straps are made from soft cotton, with the neck strap being adjustable. Even after adjusting the neck strap, I found the one-size-only apron a bit big (I’m 5’6″ and a women’s size medium, for reference), though I know many professional chefs prefer large aprons. It’s 33 inches long and 30 inches wide, which means you’ll get full coverage and protection for your clothing, but I personally wish it was just a little shorter so I could move my knees around easier.

In the end, I’m not making mad dashes around my kitchen like I’m playing a level of “Overcooked,” so I still really liked the apron overall. It’s much more durable than the average apron and can be used for many years, making it a great investment for yourself — or as a gift for an avid (and style-minded) cook. —Connie Chen, senior home and kitchen reporter 

A twill cross-back apron

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Bordeaux Crossback Apron, available in one size

As someone who went from microwaving takeout leftovers to cooking three meals a day during the pandemic, this apron has come in handy preventing oil splatters, sauce splashes, and more. 

The cross-back design is more comfortable to wear than the traditional bib apron with a neck loop. There’s no strain or weight around my neck, and when combined with the generous but not ridiculously-large cut, the apron is more like something I look forward to wearing as opposed to something I have to wear. 

The deep chest pocket holds my phone comfortably unlike others that are teeny-tiny — I never worry that my phone is going to slip out and fall into my pasta. The large bucket pocket is also roomy enough to hold a dishtowel, oven mitts, or other accessories I need when cooking so I’m not constantly searching for them around the kitchen. Aprons aren’t the prettiest things, but the deep red shade with cream straps is actually really nice. The dark color also comes in clutch to hide stains. —Jada Wong, senior home and kitchen editor 

A chambray work shirt

hedley and bennett apron review

Speckled Chambray Long Sleeve Work Shirt, available in sizes XS-4XL 

Editor’s note: the Hedley & Bennett Work Shirt is currently out of stock, but the brand makes a collection of similarly-designed apparel items for chefs. Right now, it’s featuring the Work Shirt in a short sleeve style. We’ve left our review of this shirt up, since long sleeve styles are likely to come back into stock in the cooler months.

Hedley & Bennett’s Work Shirt is about as well-thought-out a work shirt as any for any purpose, though, I suppose it could use a few more pockets. That being said, the details on this shirt are immense, while still keeping the aesthetic of a presentable button-up dress shirt with a pocket sleeve.

And it might look like a fairly ordinary shirt, but it’s built — handmade in Los Angeles, at that — with particularities in mind: a brass snap in the collar for your apron snap, and a hidden loop diagonally sewn into the breast pocket for your pens (or sunglasses, if you’re cooking outdoors). Speaking of the collar, it’s lined with darker fabric to hide perspiration, as are the cuffs. 

The fabric — 99% chambray and 1% mystery elastane or elastane-like synthetic polymer — is exceptionally pleasant to wear, if a little coarse (think of a rougher and rawer but studier linen). Regardless of what you’re looking to do in this shirt, it’s fit for anything. —Owen Burke, senior home and kitchen reporter 

Other chef-recommended aprons to try

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Christine Lau, executive chef at Kimika, recommends the Contra Chef apron from Tilit:

“That’s their waxed canvas apron. It has a leather clasp for the neck strap. And I like their Recycled Work Chef apron — the material is light, it has a pen pocket, and I appreciate the use of recycled material. I’m hoping Tilit will add a pen pocket to the Contra Chef. That would be the perfect apron.” 

Ken Addington, chef and owner of Strangeways, recommends the aprons from Bragard:

“I am old school on aprons and wear Bragard aprons, as they are simple and timeless. Bragard is solid and made sturdy, which is great for professional use as well as personal. It’s not overpriced, but it’s still elegant.” 

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