Looking the Part with Oliver Harvey – Look Good, Feel Good
In the past chef’s whites might have been shapeless and unflattering but now this is changing.
With the rising public profile of chefs, and the increase in open kitchens, it has never been more important for chefs to look good while they work.
Director at British chefswear brand Oliver Harvey, Rick Shonfeld, said: “There have been many changes over the past few years. There are so many more chefs these days that are household names and there seems to be much more opportunity to make a name for yourself as a chef than there ever has been before.
“And when you go into a restaurant now you almost expect to be able to see into the kitchen so when you are working you are completely visible.
“These factors mean that we are finding that chefs want to look better than they ever have done.”
So Oliver Harvey has created a range of jackets and trousers to meet the growing demand for a more stylish option.
“Now jackets are following high street trends,” explained Rick. “People want something more tailored in a jacket and they want a more skinny fit on the trouser.
“In the past people wanted to hide tattoos, and even arm hair, but now chefs seem to be encouraged to show their individuality more and more, especially in places like gastro pubs.”
But although expressing your individuality might be more accepted now, Rick says that tastes are becoming more conservative.
“In the 1980s and 90s we were making jackets in colours like orange and green and royal blue, and the trousers had big harlequin prints and things like that.
“Now though people only really want white jackets and the trousers tend to be a small gingham check.”
And Rick is keen to stress that the Oliver Harvey range doesn’t just look good, it’s practical too.
“Myself and my colleagues are not chefs so we work with a lot of national chefs to develop the range,” he said. “There is meticulous attention to detail and listening to what chefs want rather than what we think they want. We take into account everything from the length to the freedom of movement and the fabric we use. Everything is looked at very carefully.
“It’s very important that a chef feels comfortable in what he or she is wearing because they are wearing it for long hours and in what can be quite difficult and uncomfortable conditions.
“We use the finest fabrics and because we are British-made we can closely monitor the quality throughout the whole process.”
“Chefs always look for the provenance of the produce and a big kudos for us is that we are a British manufacturer,” he said. “Chefs love that we are a British made product.
“It also means that we can turn orders round very quickly if we need to.
“We also like to do something a bit different in terms of how we present our products. For example, all our executive chef jackets come in a presentation box.
“Of course we can personalise the jackets with company logos or the name of the chef or anything like that.
“We have a huge range of sizes, and do a tall fit as well. And we can do bespoke tailoring for our customers.
“The biggest testament to our success is simply that we are creating a bit of a stir among chefs.
“At least a quarter of our business comes from recommendations by word of mouth or through Twitter and it’s great to see chefs saying things like they wish they had found us sooner.
“We are aiming to be the Savile Row of chefswear.”
The Oliver Harvey range of chef’s jackets cost between £16 and £95.
For more information visit www.oliverharvey.co.uk