Should you buy a chef’s coat?

by Amelia Carbine

I remember when I purchased my first chef’s coat. I was very hesitant to buy one. To me, a chef’s coat was a symbol of someone with a degree, someone who had gone to culinary school to become a certified chef.

To me, the status of a chef is above that of a cook or a baker. Yes a baker can be as talented as a chef, it’s just the right to the title. I stick to that belief and I will never call myself a chef until I have proper certification to back it up.

I used to hold the symbol of the chef’s coat to that same standard. But then I realized that that isn’t the case at all. There are many line cooks and bakers out there that have not attended culinary school that wear chef coats every day. It is a uniform. A chef’s coat is for cake decorators as well and in my opinion, there should be a chef’s coat in every cake decorator’s closet.

Let’s face it, most of the time we are so focused on finishing the cake that we don’t have the time or the desire to get all dressed up for deliveries. Most of the time we are dusting powdered sugar and frosting from our faces as we run out the door. Call it underestimating how much work is involved, call it procrastination, call it ensuring the
freshness of the cake…whatever you call it, we have all had to run out the door at the last minute on at least one occasion.

For this reason, being able to grab and throw on a chef’s coat as you run out the door is extremely convenient. You don’t have to go through your closet to decide what to wear, your decision is already made. You can grab a nice clean chef’s coat, throw it on over your powder covered shirt, and suddenly you at least appear to have it all together. Just make sure check your hair and makeup. I have a small kit that I keep handy for a 5 minute freshen-up.

We are being watched. Our clients and their friends are watching and paying attention. If we act and appear professional, we are more likely to gain the trust and respect of the people who are likely to be our future customers. Even if you make sure that you always dress nicely, a uniform will always stand above and look more professional than anything you could wear.

Imagine putting two household repair companies side by side. One handyman shows up in a uniform and one in a dusty t-shirt. If given only a few minutes to make a choice, which of these two handymen would you choose to fix your dishwasher? Whether we want to admit it or not, we all make decisions based on appearance. The same goes for cake decorators.

A chef’s coat can be an investment. Especially if you choose to purchase a custom made coat to match your logo and fit you properly, which I highly recommend. Is it worth the purchase? Absolutely! It will pay for itself whether you believe it or not. If a client comes to a consultation and sees that you are dressed in a nice chef’s coat and you present well, you are very likely to close an order. And not only will you close an order, your client will likely have more confidence in the professionalism that you portray and you will have an easier time charging what you are worth. In this industry, that is a big deal!

A chef’s coat really does make a big impact. If we want to be taken seriously as cake decorators and to be seen as the professionals that we are, we should be dressing the part. Let’s get a chef’s coat in every cake decorator’s closet.

Author Bio:

Amelia Carbine is the face of CakeFu and the host of the popular CakeFu Masters Trainings. Amelia started making cakes as a hobby as most do. The demand for her work quickly grew to the point where she decided to start a small business. After participating in a small local cake decorating competition, Amelia decided that she wanted to try her hand at the big time competitions. She entered the Grand Wedding Competition of the Oklahoma State Sugar Art show and placed 3rd runner up in her first year competing and received 4th runner up the following year. She competed as the lead competitor on TLC’s Ultimate Cake-Off and has had her work published in several national and international publications.

Amelia’s passion for cake decorating includes a love for teaching. She has taught cake decorating classes for 10 years and loves to see the excitement of her students when they learn new tips and techniques. Her mission with CakeFu is to bring new techniques, tools, and information to all cake decorators.