Product Spotlight: Striped Ties

Are you in the hospitality industry and looking for new uniforms? Look no further than From shirts to accessories like ties and scarves, these new apparel items are sure to impress. For a formal, classic look try out a striped necktie paired with a button-down shirt. This style looks great on everyone and sends a clear message about your standards.

  • The Men’s Tonal Stripe Tie comes in a monochromatic stripe featuring two tones in either black, navy, or red. Made from 100% polyester this dry clean only tie starts at under $18.
  • If you’re looking for a bit more color contrast, try the Narrow Stripe Tie. These 100% polyester styles are 58 inches long, 3 ¼ inches wide, and feature a two-color thin diagonal stripe for under $18 each. Color choices are black with blue/white stripe, light blue with tan/black stripe, red with navy/white stripe, and gold with black/white stripe.
  • The Quint Stripe Tie offers a bolder stripe featuring three colors with sharp contrast. For under $18 each you have a choice of four colors in 100% polyester. The gold style has a thicker deep red stripe with two small black stripes inside it. Other color combinations include brick/black/white, navy/light blue/white, and gray/blue/white.
  • For around $20 you can choose a Men’s Pinstripe Tie with classic thin stripes. These 100% silk ties come in Mocha, Navy, and Steel Gray.

Neckties work with long or short-sleeved collared shirts for both men and women. Look for a tie that incorporates a style similar to your business with your company or decor colors. Pair an untucked shirt and tie with jeans for an upgraded casual style or add dress slacks and a sport coat for the ultimate professional look. Add visual interest with a color that contrasts your surroundings or create a cohesive look by matching accessories like neckties to the room decor.

Posted in Chef Coats

Make Lighting Work For You

As with most aspects of the restaurant industry, science plays an important role in seemingly minor details like lighting. In the kitchen, lighting sets the pace for workers and provides an accurate look at dishes. In the dining room, lighting affects how long guests stay, how much they eat, and how much they enjoy their experience. What kind of atmosphere does your lighting project?

In one study of how lighting affects meals, researchers turned half of a fast food restaurant into a fine dining experience with mood music and low lighting. The results? People who ate in the dimmer side consumed less food, were more likely to order additional items, enjoyed the food more, and stayed longer in the restaurant.

To find the perfect lighting design for your restaurant consider these tips from experts.

  • Use direct lights for food displays.
  • Indirect lighting is good for creating balance.
  • Opt for flexible lighting where you can control the brightness or move lighting at different times of day.
  • Use groups of lights to highlight important areas like a hostess stand.
  • Dramatic lighting is best served as a way to highlight expensive add ons like liquor from the bar or desserts.
  • Pay attention to outdoor lighting and make sure it looks inviting and highlights the entrance.

In general, customers want to be able to see the menu and any important areas of the restaurant, but they often want to feel like they’re in a private, intimate location. If lighting is too bright it can seem abrasive and minimize privacy. If it’s too dim guest may have trouble navigating the menu and restaurant.

Specific areas of the restaurant require different levels of lighting. In the kitchen you want optimal lighting to see everything that’s happening and keep staff alert. Guests want dining room light to be dimmer than, say, the kitchen. Restrooms should offer ample light to make guests feel secure and comfortable. Front of house work areas need brighter lighting to help wait staff do their job well.

As with all restaurant design, put yourself in the guest’s shoes. Take off your chef coat and sit in different seats, walk through the restaurant, stand outside waiting. When you experience things as the guest does, you’ll better understand if there are necessary improvements.

Posted in Chef Coats

Kitchen Superstitions

You probably don’t have any ladders, black cats, or mirrors in your kitchen so you’re one step ahead of the rest in warding off bad luck. However, every occupation comes with some superstitions. Here are some fun beliefs about bad luck in the kitchen.

  • Garlic wards off vampires and the curse of the evil eye.
  • Uneven chopsticks mean you’ll miss your ride somewhere.
  • Bringing bananas on a ship means bad luck in your catch and a possible lost at sea scenario.
  • An onion full of pins on the windowsill keeps away bad spirits.
  • Peanuts give performers bad luck.
  • When you give someone a knife it will break apart your relationship.
  • If you hand someone a hot pepper it can ruin your relationship.
  • You’ll have bad luck if you give parsley as a present.
  • When you give someone an orange they will fall in love with you.
  • If more than one person pours your tea you’ll have bad luck.
  • A large air bubble inside a loaf of breads is a sign someone will die.
  • If you don’t crush your egg shells a witch will use them to cause storms at sea.

While many superstitious have roots in ancient civilizations and older cultures from around the world, some seemingly sprout from nowhere. A few top chefs shared their silly worries and habits with Food & Wine Magazine:

  • Chef Brian Hill says “I like to have perfectly clean sea salt on my station before every shift. I think if I do that I’ll make it through service much better,…”
  • Joey Campanaro reports “if there’s a light bulb out at your station, it’s bad luck.”
  • Nick Anderer says ““I always add chopped parsley along with garlic and olive oil when I start a pan sauce for pasta, even though it probably doesn’t do a damn thing.”

Whether you take them seriously or just follow them out of habit, superstitions play a role in most kitchens around the world.

Posted in Chef Coats

Product Spotlight: Kitchen Sneakers

Are you looking for the perfect comfortable shoe to wear in the kitchen? Check out these classic work sneakers available in men’s and women’s sizes.Whether you work as a professional in a commercial kitchen or as a culinary educator, kitchen sneakers look and feel good.

These lace-up black sneakers feature everything you want in comfort and safety:

  • Water resistant action leather upper
  • Removable contoured cushion insole
  • Perspiration absorbing lining
  • Slip and oil resistant cup outsole
  • Specially designed concealed cushions built into outsole to cushion heel and ball of foot
  • Strobel construction for flexibility
  • Tread design channels away slippery substances for superior grip

Men’s sizes 7-14 are available, some in wide widths, for around $55. The women’s style sells for the same price and comes in sizes 5-12 with some wide widths available.

Sneakers offer several things slip on shoes don’t:

  • Adjustable fit with laces
  • Casual look
  • Increased ankle support
  • Athletic feel for added mobility

Kitchen sneakers are great for chefs, line cooks, food truck workers, and anyone who spends most of the day on their feet. When it comes to priorities in footwear for kitchen staff, nothing trumps durability and comfort. Kitchen sneakers definitely have a place in every Chef’s Closet.

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Discover What’s New In Food

Every year new research and environmental discoveries offer diners and chefs more information about what to eat or what to avoid. From what’s healthy to new flavor combinations, food discoveries keep people excited about food.

Here are some fun facts people have learned over the past two years:

  • Bugs are better for you than steak! Grasshoppers, crickets, and mealworms are packed with nutrients and their iron content is easier to digest than a steak.
  • Plant proteins extend life! Eating more foods like beans, nuts, and grains over meats shows great health benefits.
  • Nuts are your friend! People who eat a handful of nuts every day see lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and premature death.
  • Honey is not better than sugar! As the world attempts to get rid of bad sugars, honey was thought to be a choice alternative. But, it turns out there may not be an alternative to just limiting sugars of all kinds.

If your diners are adventurous, trendy, and looking to stay healthy these fun facts might have a home in your dishes.

For the true foodie, check out these new products from the 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show:

  • Raaka Chocolate – Strawberry Basil flavored chocolate bites
  • Pork and Mindy’s Mustard Sauce features the addition of vanilla and apple cider vinegar
  • Grand Cru Surchoix cheese  which won the World Champion Cheese Contest in 2016
  • G. Hughes Sugar-Free Ketchup
  • The California Caviar Company makes a Bacon Infused Trout Roe

While these discoveries might not make you run out and completely overhaul your menu, they can serve as inspiration and a guide to food trends. Grab your chef coat and get creative. Is there a way you can incorporate flavors inspired by these new products? Can you make ingredient swaps to give diners a healthier meal? Only you can decide how this information impacts your restaurant and customers.

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Modern Kitchen Tools

kitchen-utensil-2462565_640While some chefs will always stick with old standbys like wooden spoons and classic chef coats, modern technology provides many new kinds of kitchen gadgets to experiment with. At home or in a professional kitchen, these new tools could make cooking quicker, easier, or more fun.

  1. GarlicZoom by Chef’n – Throw in a few peeled cloves of garlic and mince them in seconds by spinning the gadget around in circles. This amusing tool can be yours for under $10.
  2. 3-in-1 Family Size Breakfast Station by Nostalgia Retro Series – You can make coffee, toast, and food like eggs or pancakes on the griddle with this cool four-person breakfast machine. It would be great for camping, continental breakfast stations, or at home and costs under $70.
  3. Olive Oil Sprayer by Misto – Simply fill with your favorite flavoring liquid and you’ve got an instant flavor aerosol sprayer. Choose from a variety of metal colors and this gadget will look great on your counter.
  4. Electric Grain Mill by Nutrimill Harvest – Grind your own flour or any other grain for a seriously homemade stockpile of ingredients. This bamboo-clad gadget runs around $300.
  5. DaysAgo – This simple digital counter attached to a suction cup can hold onto any container and keep an accurate record of exactly when you first opened it. Get yours for under $10.
  6. CinniBird Spice Pen- Think of it as a frosting pen filled with ground spices instead of icing. One of these stylish instruments costs around $30.

Innovations in culinary tools can be trendy, but they can also serve a real purpose. Time is money in commercial kitchens and some of the joy in cooking gets tainted with all the stress. Make your job easier and have more fun with these unique kitchen tools. A great way to try out new gadgets is at home for personal use or in cooking classes.

Posted in Chef Coats

Spices on the Rise

Herbs and spices have always had a place in the culinary landscape around the world. Chefs and cooks sought ways to mask flavors, enhance flavors, and create new flavors using these little sprinkles of huge flavor. Most people are familiar with basic spices like:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Mustard

Many are even familiar with popular spices from other cultures like:

  • Curry powder
  • Chinese five spice
  • Jerk seasoning
  • Herbs de Provence

These flavors made their way into restaurants and homes around the world, adding all new profiles to traditional and unique dishes. As the landscape of dining guests changes, so do popular spice flavors. Consumers today are more willing to try new flavors and actually crave such daring dinners. Experts from McCormick, the National Restaurant Association, Datassential, and Flavorseal share how exotic spices and heat are topping the list of flavor trends for 2017. Rising spices include:

  • Peppercorns in sweet dishes
  • Harissa -Tunisian chile paste
  • Za’atar -Middle Eastern spice blend
  • Dukkah -Egyptian spice blend

Essentially, any spice or spice blend from the Middle East or Northern Africa is gaining in popularity right now. In addition, people are looking for exciting, creative hot and spicy flavor combos.

You don’t have to be trained in one particular type of cuisine to incorporate these trendy flavors. Take a look at traditional recipes using each spice. Think about what ingredients you use regularly that appear in those dishes. Grab your chef coat and start experimenting with different food and spice combinations.

Culinary trends are based on the public’s desires and the use of ingredients by chefs. Some trends come and go while others become supper staples. A great way to incorporate trends is to see if it fits somewhere in your current menu. If not, don’t try to force it. Trends are meant to inspire, not dictate your culinary creations.

Posted in Chef Coats

Product Spotlight: Basic Utility Kitchen Shirts

Kitchen shirts offer a relaxed fit, look, and feel in lightweight fabrics with short-sleeves for back of the house staff. A basic utility shirt gives you an affordable, durable option for kitchen staff who don’t need to showcase style. ChefsCloset features several stylish kitchen utility shirt options along with these basic ones:

  • The Snap Front Utility Shirt features a clean finished collar, reinforced bar tacking, a full 2″ longer length, mitered breast pocket, and six front snaps. Made by Uncommon Threads, shirts are available in black or white starting under $8 each.
  • The Snap Utility Shirt by  by Uncommon Threads comes in black or white for under $15 each. Features are the same as the Snap Front Shirt, but this version has available text and logo embroidery for an additional cost.  
  • The V-Neck Utility Shirt come in black or white for around $12 each. This pull-over shirt features no buttons and a mitered breast pocket with text and logo embroidery options for an additional cost.
  • The No Pocket Utility Shirt  by Uncommon Threads comes in white starting around $14 each. Features include six front snaps, 2” longer length, a finished collar, and reinforced bar tacking.

Each of these utility shirts is made from an Easycare 65/35 poly cotton poplin. Sizes range from XS-2XL. Use the handy size chart by taking a quick chest measurement to see what size works best for your body.

Utility kitchen shirts are great for those on a budget, who prefer a classic style, or who simply want a functional option. Line cooks, bussers, and dishwashers are ideal staff members for utility shirts. If you’re looking for a no-frills kitchen shirt, ChefsCloset has you covered.

Posted in Chef Shirts

Oldest Restaurants in the U.S.

The United States are home to thousands of restaurants covering every type of cuisine known to man. Some restaurants withstood the test of time, changing population, and economic fluctuations with grace and dignity. These are the oldest restaurants in America.

Fraunces Tavern
Established in 1762, this historic site serves up brunch, lunch, dinner, tapas, and features an expansive bar selection in NY, NY.

The Griswold Inn
Rustic American fare is on the menu at this landmark in Essex, CT established in 1776.

Union Oyster House
Started in 1862, this Boston, MA historic site still serves up your fill of oysters.

This creole restaurant opened in New Orleans, LA in 1840. It is still owned by descendants of the original owner and boasts invention of Oysters Rockefeller.

Breitbach’s Country Dining
Opened in 1852, this family-run gem has survived two fires thanks to its loyal customers in Balltown, IA.

So, what sets these establishments apart? What is their secret to ultimate longevity? The answer lies in a unique combination of factors for each. Some of these factors we can see:

  • Timeless design and concept
  • Historical significance
  • Consistency in quality
  • Dedicated owner and staff

But, many of the reasons these restaurants still stand and serve are not as easy to discern. Perhaps each individual founder and owner had unique qualities and created lasting relationships. Maybe the way they make their food is unparalleled. We may never know the exact formula for creating a centuries-long culinary legacy. One thing is for sure, we have a lot to learn from these restaurants.

As you contemplate your new restaurant concept or pour through your own history, see if you have what it takes to last a couple hundred years. It’s clear legendary status hinges on the right combination of location, personality, food, and customer base. So, button up your chef coat and aim for longevity. 

Posted in Chef Coats

Fall Food and Wine Flavors

The air carries a slight chill, the leaves have a hint of color, and the meals are getting heartier. It can only mean fall is blowing in. The beauty of the season is in the bounty of its harvest. This is the time to infuse your menu with all those wonderful fall flavors paired with some scrumptious cold-weather wines.

Popular flavors in food and drink include:

  • Pear
  • Apple
  • Squash
  • Cranberry
  • Clove
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon

While there is no hard and fast rule that says you must cook with these flavors or change your wine offerings by the season, it can be fun to explore fall’s fare.

Colder weather meals tend to be heavier and packed with a variety of flavors. Favorite wines in fall seem to follow suit. Look for wines that are heavier, oak-aged, and full-bodied to take center stage. You might even consider serving up a house-recipe mulled wine to peak interest. You don’t have to wear a sommelier’s apron to pair food and wine. 

You could stick with classic pairings like:

  • Sangiovese and tomato sauce
  • Pinot Noir with duck
  • Cabernet Sauvignon with steak

Or, you could try something different like:

  • Chablis with Elote
  • Spicy chili with Riesling
  • Semi-Sweet white with apple crisp

A few simple tips to match up great food and wine include:

  • Match the structure of the food with the structure of the wine
  • Offset a structural element of the food with the wine
  • Try regional flavors together

Fall food and wine pairings help chefs and guests get in the spirit of the season. Take care to consider how these flavors and tips can improve your business this fall.

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