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Hedley & Bennett/Instagram
- Hedley & Bennett is an apron and chef’s gear brand created by a former line cook who hated the cheap and flimsy aprons used in professional kitchens.
- By contrast, Hedley & Bennett’s aprons are made from durable, breathable, beautiful materials, with thoughtful details like large, two-layered pockets, reinforced straps, and brass hardware.
- We tried two aprons and one work shirt from the brand and loved the quality of construction and attractive look.
- See also: MagicLinen cross-back apron review
When shopping for your kitchen, it’s easy to get caught up in what cookware and kitchen appliances to buy, or which cookbooks to stock your shelf with. But you can’t forget about the simple accessories that have a big impact on your cooking experience.
Take, for example, the humble and hardworking apron.
An apron bears the brunt of kitchen chaos, protecting your skin and clothing from oil splashes, errant flour, and more. An apron with pockets is even better — that way, you can store tools like pens and kitchen scissors for easy access as you prepare and cook your meal.
The apron brand created by a former cook
Not every apron is created equal, something that Ellen Bennett realized while working as a line cook in Providence, a two Michelin-starred restaurant in Los Angeles. The aprons there were cheap, unbreathable, and rigid, and they were holding back rather than helping the kitchen staff.
Armed with her field knowledge of what professional cooks really want in an apron and her interest in design, Bennett set off in 2012 to craft sturdy, comfortable aprons made with colorful, higher-quality materials.
She called her company Hedley & Bennett, and business took off within the restaurant industry. Within the year, she was outfitting places like Bäco Mercat and all of Rick Bayless’ restaurants.
Hedley & Bennett/Instagram
Since then, Hedley & Bennett has outfitted more than 6,000 restaurants worldwide, selling over one million aprons to industry professionals and tens of thousands more to home cooks. It has also expanded past aprons into other chefs’ apparel.
How Hedley & Bennett’s aprons are different
While the brand’s roots are in professional kitchens, Hedley & Bennett has also become a consumer favorite because its aprons combine utility, comfort, and style.
Materials and construction: The brand uses high-quality materials, including raw American denim, lightweight cotton twill, and British natural waxed canvas for the apron bodies, cotton and leather for the straps, and brass hardware throughout. Pockets and straps are reinforced for extra durability.
Should your apron have weak stitching or broken hardware, you can send it back to the brand for free repair (within one year of your purchase).
Hedley & Bennett/Instagram
Comfort: Since the aprons have adjustable straps made from soft materials, you’ll be able to focus on the cooking task at hand, rather than any shifting garments. The long waist straps let you create a snug, customized fit so the apron practically feels like a second skin.
Style: Hedley & Bennett’s aprons come in many sleek and appealing styles and colors, whether you want a neon apron or a vintage-style, pinstriped one. The brand also occasionally drops limited-edition collaborations, like this recent floral Rifle Paper Co. pattern. You can even create custom bulk orders for your company or restaurant.
Features to look for in an apron, according to a chef
Michael Poiarkoff, the culinary director and executive chef at The Maker Hotel, recommends that you pay attention to the material, number of pockets, and neck strap design as you shop for aprons.
On material: “When looking for an apron, I try to find something with a nice combination of form and function. I prefer an apron that is closer to blanket size, hitting below my knee and wrapping around me as to almost touch in the back. A heavier, tight-knit material is preferable so that water wicks away and the apron can be easily cleaned; anything light and loose has a limited number of wears in a professional kitchen.”
On pockets: “I like two pockets. One breast pocket large enough for five writing utensils (pencil, pen, dry-erase marker, permanent marker, highlighter), and one side pocket large enough for a paring knife and a snack. I try to make sure all of my aprons have the same pocket set-up as not to confuse my hands when things inevitably get hectic. Too many pockets leave room for fumbling around and increases the risk of getting caught on refrigerator handles, door hinges, and counter corners.”
Hedley & Bennett
On neck straps: “Most culinary aprons have an adjustable strap that loops around the back of your neck. With this style of apron, the strap often jumps up over the collar of my chef’s coat and annoyingly rubs my skin all day. While the behind-the-neck strap isn’t a deal-breaker for me, a cross-back apron is preferable. With a cross-back apron, the straps go directly from shoulder to hip with nothing hitting the neck.”
Do Hedley & Bennett’s aprons fit the bill?
Mostly. They’re large and made from heavier materials, and they have at least two pockets. Many of the brand’s aprons have an adjustable neck strap, but Hedley & Bennett also has a whole section for cross-back aprons.
Ultimately, the best apron for you will still probably come down to personal preference. In general, however, you’ll want to make sure your apron is sturdy, comfy, and something you won’t mind wearing every cooking session.
In our experience, Hedley & Bennett’s aprons fit all these criteria. And more than something we wouldn’t mind wearing, they’re the aprons and chef’s gear we’re actively excited to put on every single time.