Thursday 20 September 2018
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What’s the best material for a chef’s apron?

Aprons are not the easiest things to pick, especially if you haven’t experimented with different styles and fabrics yet. More often than not, it takes trial and error to find the right one for you, which can be time consuming – this guide aims to give you some of the basics so you’ll know which direction to head in. We’ll examine fabrics from the angles of job type, your application, and durability; there are dozens of different fabrics to choose from and knowing a bit about a few different ones is the best way to choose the right fabric for you.

  1. Cotton/Muslin – the most common fabric that springs to mind: aprons made of cotton and muslin are perhaps the most common of all. They are best for working with dry materials, baking and other applications that are not too messy, as cotton and muslin are not waterproof or even water resistant. So this type of apron is only an option for situations where you will not get wet, overly dirty, or come into contact with elements that will make your apron soggy.
  1. Rubber/Nylon – this is another common fabric you’ll find aprons made of: this is a touch heavier and thus better for situations where you will be handling wet substances, and other general settings in which liquids are present. It logically follows from this of course that rubber aprons are best for industrial uses, as they offer a lot more protection from substances you are working with – for a chef, this type of apron would perhaps be most suitable for sorting and/or preparing raw produce, working with hot oil, and cleaning up in the kitchen.
  1. Leather – if you want your apron to last a long time, do get one made of leather. Apart from being extremely durable, leather is best for you if you will be working with mild chemicals, sparks, heat from ovens, or  any potentially hazardous elements. You can wear a leather apron and know that you will be protected from all dangers at all times, so I’d strongly recommend this option if you’ll be doing jobs that may expose you to any of the above.
  1. Other materials – thin plastics and rubber coated cotton spring to mind; these are good for specific purposes and may be a lot less widespread than the three options above. If you’d like the degree of protection that leather affords but happen to be vegan, rubber coated cotton is nearly as good, and does offer a bit more comfort than bare cotton. Lastly, thin plastic aprons are great for quick and/or possibly single uses.

Now that you’ve perused the available options and their uses, you should be one step closer to finding the right apron fabric for you. If you do lots of different jobs in the kitchen, perhaps you’d be best off getting more than one apron: take a minute to reflect on your culinary habits and reach for the type of fabric best suited to each one. This will only leave you with questions of style, color and design – the fun part, as many would say: to start you off, here are some of the most stylish takes on both the black and the white apron I’ve seen around. Happy shopping!