NEW YORK, NY :: CULINARY SHOPPING TIPS // b&r uniforms, jb prince, williams sonoma, amazon, b&n, sur la table, metrokitchen.com, ok! chef, kitchen arts & letters

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Initially, I was going to voice my dislike for these high-waisted houndstooth pants…

And my dislike for these ridiculous Dansko shoes…

HOWEVER, the outfit has really grown on me…

(the outfit, not so much the shoes)

But a Chef’s uniform is not complete without the following:

  • a clean apron
  • 3 side towels
  • clean nails
  • knife roll (see photo)

A knife roll is a case that chefs use to carry their knives and tools safely. My school offers a Knife Roll Kit by Mercer with all of the tools included…. however I scoured culinary threads for knife advice and decided to purchase my own knife roll + knives from various stores in NYC.

LML’s KNIFE ADVICE:

  • Do not purchase a knife until you’ve handled it. Go into a store like Williams Sonoma, Zabars, Sur La Table, etc. and ask to cut with the knife (they will have fruit/veg on hand for you to cut with).
  • Test multiple knives. Try different brands, feel the weight of the knife, compare prices, and then go with what feels comfortable.
  • Must-Have: Chef Knife, Pairing Knife, Honing Steel (+ Peeler). Based on my personal experience, I use these tools EVERYDAY at school. If you don’t know which knives to buy, checkout Illustrated Bites for a brief, fun description.
  • Do not go for the most expensive or the cheapest. GO FOR QUALITY. GO FOR PRACTICALITY. Do you really need to spend $300.00 on a bread knife? Not really. Do you really need to spend $300.00 on a Japanese Chefs Knife? Probably.
  • Buy Smart. Once you’ve found the knives required by your school (you can mix and match brands, just make sure to get every item on the designated list), you can buy them in-stores or online (metrokitchen.com has great prices and free shipping available). Online Perks? Sometimes lower prices. In-store Perks? Possible culinary student discount.
  • Label Knives. When working in a kitchen, tools get used and shared; mark your knives with tape, nailpolish, or have them engraved so others can recognize the owner of the property.
  • Buy a Knife Bag + Add a Should Strap. Personally I am a backpack person. There’s a product called ChefPak but I’m thinking it already needs a redesign for practicality… so until that backpack is created, I’ve settled for a knife bag that can hold my knives, measuring cups, and every other utensil under the culinary sun.
LMLs FAV CULINARY STORES IN NYC?
  1. William Sonoma/Sur La TableThese culinary chain stores go hand in hand because they’ve popped up all over Manhattan; very easy to find in the city. A little pricey but both stores offer a small culinary student discount on full price items.
  2. Bowery Restaurant Supply Stores: If you’re looking for well-priced kitchen tools, I was told to head to the Bowery. You can replace your lost pastry tip, pay less than $20.00 for a cleaver (as opposed to $200.00) and perhaps you’ll pick up a few extra items since you’re spending so little.
  3. Amazon/Barnes&Noble: For cookbook purchases I usually order online from these two retailers since they have them in stock… but if you really want to get lost in a culinary wonderland, head to Kitchen Arts & Letters on the UWS.
  4. B&R Uniforms: My school recommended B&R Uniforms for my Chef uniform, but my friend Olivia recommends OK! Uniform
  5. JB Prince: Think of this place as a culinary candy shop. It’s located on the 11th floor and it’s small, selective, clean and friendly. Before or after you enter, you’ll find yourself admiring all the business cards on the walls… and then you’ll realize that you’re staring at a card from Eleven Madison Parks Executive Chef… and me (the turquoise card with fruit)!

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  • Mark Jones

    Hey very nicely you have explained chef’s uniform here. I first time come to know that the uniform is incomplete without a clean apron, 3 side towels, clean nails and a knife roll.

    chef uniforms online

    • littlemisslocal

      That’s the rule at my school :-) I’m sure it’s different in other kitchens but its a standard at Natural Gourmet.
      Live, Love, Laugh, Breathe…

      JUSTINE MA
      Food Writer & Culinarian
      LITTLEMISSLOCAL.com