The Watch: Part of a Chef Uniform
When you picture chefs, you may not think of them as caring much about personal style. A chef’s uniform often consists of a standard white coat and apron, much like a doctor in his scrubs, and, of course, a comfortable pair of shoes for long hours standing in the kitchen. You certainly don’t think of chefs sporting jewelry in the kitchen. If for no other reason than fear of losing a wedding ring in a pot of the soup du jour. So, it may surprise you to learn that the chef community is filled with avid watch collectors. Below, we’ll explore just a few of them.
Gordon Ramsay became an instant TV personality when he took his cooking out of the kitchen and on the screen with hit shows like Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef USA, and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. However, he’s more than just a bold disposition and a fiery, cutthroat temperament—he’s actually got the skills to back it up. Ramsay’s restaurants have been awarded a total of sixteen coveted Michelin stars. Whether he’s in kitchen or on camera, you can spot him wearing a vintage Rolex Submariner from the 1950’s, an Omega Seamaster, or a Breitling Cockpit Chronograph.
Eric Ripert is the mastermind behind the legendary Le Bernadin—a restaurant that has not only become a New York City institution but also been ranked in the top twenty of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. The French chef’s love for timepieces started as a teenager with none other than a Cartier Santos gifted to him by his mother. Since then, his collection has expanded to include Patek Philippe, Rolex, and his personal favorite, Vacheron Constantin—his models of choice are a Historiques American 1921, a Patrimony, and an Overseas.
Graham Elliot epitomizes the next generation of top chefs. His modern approach to cooking includes molecular gastronomy, bold and colorful ingredients, and an unconventional culinary style all his own. In addition to serving as a judge on both MasterChef USA and MasterChef Junior, Elliot was the youngest chef in the country to receive four stars from both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Despite his eccentric approach in the kitchen, Elliot keeps it simpler when it comes to the timepiece on his wrist. So far, he’s a one watch man, devoted to his Panerai Luminor 1950.
Emeril Lagasse needs no introduction. He’s easily one of the most popular and most recognizable chefs in the country. He’s made a name for himself with his downhome New Orleans comfort food and never fails to bring a touch of that infectious New Orleans energy into his kitchen with his iconic catchphrases. It comes as no surprise that such a dynamic man is attracted to a powerhouse watch. Lagasse is a Rolex man through and through, with models like a Yacht-Master and Datejust in his collection.
Vikas Khanna is one of the top Indian chefs in the world. He may be most well known as a judge on MasterChef India, but his success story began long before. He opened his restaurant Junoon in New York City in December 2010 and has been awarded a Michelin star for six consecutive years since 2011. Khanna takes a simple, no frills approach to his cuisine and his watches—you can find him sporting an IWC Portofino.
Anthony Bourdain left his role as executive chef behind years ago, but continues to be one of the most influential people in the culinary world. Today, you can catch him on CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which chronicles his world travels explore lesser known places and their culture and cuisine. From his days in the kitchen to his recent years spent in front of the camera, traveling the world, Bourdain has had one faithful companion: his Rolex watches. His model of choice is the Datejust.
George Calombaris is an Australian chef with Greek and Italian roots. In addition to serving as a judge on MasterChef Australia, he owns several restaurants in Melbourne. This young chef is just getting started, and he’s already got a trusty watch to see him through his inevitable culinary successes. You can spot him wearing a Zenith Pilot Type 20, which pays homage to Australian aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, who made the first trans-pacific flight from the U.S. to Australia.
Daniel Boulud is a world-renowned chef, most notable for his namesake restaurant in New York City that has garnered him two coveted Michelin stars. Boulud is the type of chef who lets his food speak for itself. He’s more reserved than his peers and hasn’t latched on to the culinary craze sweeping T.V. Despite his modesty when it comes to the camera, Boulud is a little less modest when it comes to what he wears on his wrist. He has a rather impressive watch collection stocked with models like a Rolex Daytona, a Panerai Ferrari Granturismo Chronograph, a Cartier Santos 100 Carbon, and both a Panerai Radiomir and a Panerai Luminor GMT.
Jason Atherton made a name for himself as the Executive Chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin star restaurant Maze in London. After just a year, he left to open his own restaurant, Pollen Street Social. It was awarded its own Michelin star in its opening year. In addition to his culinary flair, Atherton is also known for his personal style. He believes in a watch that can not only serve as the perfect accessory to punctuate a great outfit but also take a beating in the kitchen. That’s precisely why he chooses to wear a Rolex, more specifically an Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master.
Marcus Wareing is a two Michelin-starred chef and the genius behind three of the top restaurants in the United Kingdom. In 2015 director John Wells chose Wareing as the official culinary consultant and creator of all the dishes for the film Burnt. In his years as a chef, Wareing has developed a deep appreciation for watches and their essential function in the kitchen. He’s accumulated an impressive collection—comprised of models like the TAG Heuer Kirium Automatic, Rolex Cellini, and Breitling Chronomat and Superocean. He’s also one of Omega’s ambassadors—his favorite model in their collection is the Speedmaster ’57 Co-axial Chronograph.
Tyler Florence has tirelessly climbed the culinary ladder since his teenage years. From his early days as a dishwasher to his more recent years as a chef and restaurateur, opening his own luxury kitchen supply stores, and hosting numerous television shows, Florence epitomizes the American Dream. For him, a love for watches has always gone hand in hand with his love for food. With his small dishwasher wages he bought a Timex, and has since upgraded his collection to include models like a Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller, IWC Big Pilot, and Panerai Luminor and Radiomir.
Alton Brown had a background in media before he ever entered the culinary world. His dad was a media executive and owner of a radio station, and Brown studied film in college. This, combined with an interest in food and a dissatisfaction with the quality of cooking shows on television, spurred him to create his own. The pilot for Good Eats first aired in 1998 on a PBS-affiliated station. The Food Network picked it up a year later.
In addition to his colorful culinary career, Brown is also a self-proclaimed watch collector. He doesn’t like hoarding, so he trades often. Here’s an idea of what you might find on his wrist at any given time: a Rolex GMT Master or Submariner, an IWC Portuguese, a late 1950’s Ulysse Nardin, a mid-1960’s blue snowflake Tudor Submariner, a Breitling Aerospace, or vintage models like 1967 Omega Speedmaster or his father’s Omega Seamaster Chronostop.