armed and embroidered

Several weeks ago, The Chef’s Emporium asked me to write a product review for them. The amazing catch? I got to pick the product. The Chef’s Emporium has an array of cooking clothing and accessories—even chef clothing for kids (the Children’s Lime Green Chef’s Coat is irresistible). Because my knife rack suffers overcrowding, I decided on V-Series Black VERONA Women’s Cool Vent Chef Coat from the appealing Women’s Collection. The poly/cotton twill coat has a number of wonderful features, better even in person: side seam slit at the hip, ¾ length sleeve, Under-Arm and Sleeve Cool Vent Inset Panels, and a thermometer pocket. For $59.95, I was very pleased with the durability yet lightweight fabric. I was expecting an awkwardly thick top like my karate uniform, and this was a truly pleasant surprise. The sizes run from XS-2XL. I ordered the XS.

I like to consider my “catering” gigs informal: wedding showers, events under 50 guests, dinner parties. Yet in true American female fashion, I am always concerned about what to wear when I’m cooking for others in public. I want to look nice, yet it is guaranteed I will get food on myself. For me, this coat is practical and professional. I would recommend it to any caterer, restaurant cook, or—like myself—the enthusiastic entertainer looking to leave the party without olive oil on her blouse.

I am planning to don this fashionable coat for upcoming cooking demos, so I have been wearing it regularly in my own kitchen in lieu of my usual array of aprons. I especially love the ¾ sleeves for all my prep tasks. Yesterday, I was vigorously shaking salad dressing ingredients in what I swore was a sealed container and proved that this coat does indeed protect one from the neck on down—and is stain-resistant even from oil and vinegars. (If the salad dressing splashes onto your bangs, this coat—regardless how awesome—will not, I discovered, protect you).

I am pleased with the quality of this coat, both in the flattering tailored details and the embroidery. However, I have two complaints; I am to blame for both. I am four-foot eleven-inches short, and rarely need to consider a top size above XS. The XS supposedly suits a woman with 32-42 bust size. There is no mention of hips, and this home cook sure has them. The XS is tight on top, and impossible to button the final button on the bottom over my hips. Having not ordered a chef’s coat before, I failed to consider that I would be wearing this with another top beneath. I would recommend one to two sizes up from your normal, fitted-shirt size. Despite the tight bust, my broad shoulders are not at all constricted working in this coat—another pleasing feature.

I was also disappointed the embroidery is so close to the buttons that my “L” is not visible from certain angles of the coat. However, I chose to include 16 characters with a space in a single line of text: lesson learned. Now that I have a logo (courtesy of Steven DeFoliart), I would order from The Chef’s Emporium again with Steven’s artwork.

A very special thank you to The Chef’s Emporium for providing me one of their quality products I can enjoy for years to come. Check out their affordable knives, clothes, hats, aprons and kidswear at Then click here to read the lovely things they had to say about A Pear to Remember!

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