Being able to keep track of time is one of the most essential skills that professional kitchen staff need to develop.
After all, the difference between cooking a dish to perfection and being ruined beyond repair can be a matter of minutes or seconds. This is why many young chefs and other food preparation professionals get in the habit of wearing their watches in the kitchen.
And with the introduction of smartwatches, the ability to monitor and track your cooking, review recipe instructions, and more, it is no wonder why the trend is picking up.
However, there are plenty of arguments to be made against allowing watches inside kitchens and other food preparation facilities.
Can You Wear A Watch In A Kitchen?
No, as a professional cook you can not wear a watch in the kitchen. No jewelry (including watches), can be worn on your arms while preparing food.
If It Happened To Jenn, It Can Happen To You!
Just last week I met with my long-time friend, Jenn, for brunch. Jenn is a foodie through and through, and she’s constantly eating out. So, over mimosas and some truly delicious Eggs Benedict, she told me an anecdote that I think is quite relevant to today’s post.
Jenn had recently gone out to eat dinner with her husband and their two kids. They went to a new restaurant in town and everything was going great until they had a rather unpleasant surprise halfway through their meal.
As it turns out, her youngest came very close to eating a small metal pin belonging to an earring.
Thankfully, her husband caught sight of the small and shiny object before their kid could get it in their mouth. Jenn was livid, and let’s just say that she won’t be going back to that restaurant anytime soon, if ever.
You see, often when we prepare food at home we downplay the importance or relevance of the accessories we use.
Most of us don’t think twice about wearing earrings, rings, chains, bracelets, wrist watches, or other jewellery in our kitchens. However, when we do, we inadvertently put ourselves and those who are to eat our food at risk.
How? you may ask.
Reasons Why Wearing Jewellery In The Kitchen Is Not A Good Idea.
For a diner, there are few things more unpleasant than finding foreign objects on their plate of food, especially if said object has come into direct contact with another person.
When this unfortunate event happens, most diners will inevitably lose their appetite and, more importantly, they will lose your trust. If you drop an earring, a ring, or a small piece of your watch, nobody will care how delicious the food might be.
Worse yet, if you drop a foreign object in your food and your diner fails to detect it, they may very well ingest it. This can result in horrifying injuries for your diner such as broken teeth, torn tongues, intestinal obstruction, choking, and even death.
At the very least, you will be liable for their well-being, and you may also end up facing legal consequences.
Not only could they come loose while cooking, jewellery such as rings, earrings, bracelets, and watches typically harbor a plethora of microorganisms that constantly feed and thrive in the sweat and grime that lines our skin.
These microorganisms are virtually undetectable and present no matter how clean you are, and can easily contaminate any food you prepare. As a home chef or a professional in the food preparation industry, the last thing you want is to compromise the integrity of your preparations in such a manner.
Finally, the use of items such as rings, chains, bracelets, watches, and piercings can easily cause accidents in the kitchen.
Kitchens are chock full of appliances and machinery that have the potential to cause bodily harm if something as small and hard as a piece of metallic jewelry were to fall inside their mechanisms. As such, a safety-first mentality should always come before comfort, convenience, and vanity.
What Does The FDA Say About Watches In The Kitchen?
The Food And Drug Administration, the country’s primary regulating body responsible for ensuring the public’s safety when it comes to food and other biological products, is pretty clear when it comes to this subject.
Their Food Code, which safeguards public health by ensuring food is unadulterated and honestly presented to consumers, provides a system of provisions to address safety during food preparation at retail and foodservice levels.
So, what does the FDA Food Code say about wearing a watch in the kitchen?
“Except for a single ring or wedding ring set covered by a glove in good repair, food employees may not wear jewelry including medical information jewelry on their arms or hands while preparing food.”
The message is pretty clear. Should you wear a watch in the kitchen? While some chefs will argue in favor of the convenience of wearing a watch or smartwatch in the kitchen, most would agree that wearing jewelry, such as rings, earrings, bracelets, and watches while cooking is not recommended if safety and food integrity are to be upheld.
Best Watches For Chefs
Now that we are clear on the rules about wearing a watch in the kitchen, we know not everybody plays by the rules. Whether you are cooking at home, are outside of the FDA jurisdiction, or just don’t care to follow the rules. Here are our top 3 watch picks for chefs.
Timex Ironman Classic 30
While not specifically designed for the kitchen, the Timex Ironman Classic (on Amazon) has a list of features that make it our top pick.
The watch is lightweight and has a mostly rubber exterior and band. It is water-resistant up to 330 feet.
The large digital face makes it easy to see at a glance. Even if you decide to take it off and place it down somewhere, it is visible from a distance, and the “Indiglo” button will allow you to light it up in darker conditions.
Since we are talking about buttons, they are huge and hard to miss. No fumbling around when you are busy doing 20 things.
Since this watch is designed for runners, it is built with timers in mind. This translates perfectly to the kitchen. It includes a huge start button on the face allowing you to time things with ease.
If you MUST wear a watch in the kitchen this is the one to buy.
- Adjustable black 16mm resin strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
- 100-hour chronograph with 30-lap memory; 24-hour countdown timer
- 3 daily, weekday or weekend alarms; 24-hour military time mode; 2 time zones; day, date & month calendar
Casio G-Shock G8900A-1CR
The G=Shock G8900A-1CR is our pick for form and function. If you want a stylish watch that looks good even out of the kitchen, this is your best bet.
The G-Shock brand has been around for years and the name is synonymous with quality.
Shock-resistant, water-resistant to 660 feet, and made mostly of rubber, it has everything that a chef would look for in a watch.
While the buttons are not quite as big and straightforward as the Ironman, you should have no problems getting to them even in hectic conditions. The numbers on the screen are slightly smaller as well but because of the reverse color scheme, they are clear and easy to read.
This truly is a beautiful watch that will look good on you in the kitchen or out on the town.
- Shock-resistant sports watch featuring black-and-blue dial with super illuminator LED light, countdown timer, and 1/1000-second stopwatch
- 52.5 mm resin case with mineral dial window
- Japanese quartz movement with digital display
Dakota Digital Clip Watch
This watch is the perfect solution if you want to play by the rules and still keep a handy clock on hand. The FDA guidelines clearly state no worker should have jewelry on their arms or hands. I see no problems clipping one of these bad boys to your belt while cooking.
The Dakota Digital Clip Watch is an excellent solution. The face and timer are huge. Much bigger than the other 2 picks on this list. It is lightweight and has a decent light like the others. The buttons are also large, clearly marked, and make it easy to start and stop your timers.
The clasp design has a nice wide mouth so you can clip it to just about anything. It is only water-resistant to 100 feet but that is more than enough for a kitchen. This clip-op offers a creative solution that no restaurant owner can argue against.
In fact, if you run a restaurant, this would little watch would make an excellent tool to provide all of your staff members.
- Digital Functions Include: Stopwatch, Countdown Timer, Alarm with Chime, Dual Time, Day/Date Display
- Moonglow EL Dial Light for Illuminating in the Dark
- Lightweight Aluminum Case
Last update on 2023-01-26 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API