Let's Talk Chef Shoes, Part 2: What The Pros Wear
Friday's opening shoe post was mostly about my own experiences with kitchen footwear. Today we find out what Miami's real chefs wear when they're working -- and why.
Michelle Bernstein, Michy's, Sra. Martinez: Clogs, as they not only help me from falling on my back side but they also give me those couple inches of height I need to reach the pans.
Giancarla Bodoni, Escopazzo: I wear Dansko clogs. I've had them for years and they're really comfortable. And durable -- they last a long time.
Jonathan Eismann, Pacific Time, Q/Fin, Pizzavolante: From age twenty to forty I wore the black Sears Die Hard -- like policeman shoes. After awhile my feet started to ache so much I went to lighter shoes, which became sneakers. Then I tried the Birkenstock clog thing, which has never worked for me -- I always feel as though I'm going to fall out of my shoes. So I'm back to sneakers, but I change my shoes like three times a day. I can't walk around twelve, fifteen hours in the same shoes anymore; it hurts my knees. Right now, as we speak, I'm in Pumas.
Sam Gorenstein, BLT Steak: Clogs. I love the fact that they are backless, let's you move your feet freely. They have to be soft leather. White in color to match chef jacket, which keeps you looking sharp and elegant.
Jan Jorgensen, Two Chefs: Clogs. When I started (in Denmark) it was mandatory, because of unions and all, to wear clogs in the food service industry. Back then they were made out of wood, with soles made from car tires so you can't slide on them. They're good for your back; at least that's what we were told. When I worked at STARS in San Francisco I had to deal with a flight of stairs so I wore Birkenstocks...but now I'm back to clogs because Birkenstock doesn't sell them (that model) here anymore.
Dewey LoSasso, The Forge: Dansko. I like the close-heeled clogs. If I'm running after a waiter to kill him, I don't want my shoes falling off. Seriously though, you have to take care of your feet. When I was 18 or 19 I used to do the Sears Die Hards. They had a lifetime warranty, so every year I'd return them. But they got rid of that (deal).
Michael Schwartz, Allen Susser, Norman Van Aken and others weigh in after the jump -- and they don't all wear clogs!
Michael Schwartz, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink: I'm
a Birkenstock guy. I wear the Alton model; they're comfortable, good
support, non-slip...I always tell cooks to get them. Not these, because
they're kind of expensive, but even the Birkenstock clogs, the plastic
ones (called "professional" clogs). I don't let people wear sneakers in the kitchen. They slip all over the place.
Allen Susser, Chef Allen's: I know a lot of chefs do the clog thing; I am not sure why. I like my Rockports.With 10 to 12 hours on my feet I need comfort and support -- and they're non-skid too.
Justin Van Aken, Norman's 180: Keen's. The design allows for a long day.
Norman Van Aken, Norman's at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Norman's 180: I wear a shoe called "The Beast". It keeps my feet from breaking. Many years of trodding the boards brought me to them.
Peter Vauthy, Red The Steakhouse: Sven clogs.I've
been wearing them now for twelve years. They're the greatest things
I've ever put on my feet. I tried Birkenstocks and all, but these are
wooden, and form to your feet -- the only shoes that by the end of the
day, if I've been on my feet for twelve or fifteen hours, I'm not like
Kris Wessel, Red Light Little River: New Balance, because I'm always on my feet. Or fishing boots, because I am always pulling garbage out of the Little River!
Mark Zeitouni, Lido at The Standard: Nike Air Pegasus '83, because my two kitchens are a quarter mile apart.
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