Aussie clothing maker gets its mitts into liquid repellant fabric for chefs

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If you’ve ever taken a look into the kitchen of a restaurant, you’ll probably see kitchen hands and chefs in white jackets and aprons stained with sauce and spirits and spices that have gone astray, but hydrophobic coatings could see these jackets stay whiter than ever.

It’s a bit of science and technology this week as a fabric maker gets in with a gadget of sorts for chefs, both would-be and professional.

We don’t write much about clothing, but when we do, there’s usually a good reason, and this time it’s because an Australian company is working with one of those hydrophobic coatings we like so much, applying the nano coating to chef jackets and aprons to reduce the amount of staining errant liquids and splashes can do to jackets.

The company this time is Fabricor, a group from Victoria that has been cofounded by one of the mentors on MasterChef Australia, Adrian Li.

“As a chef I find it really difficult to keep my chef jacket white, and we like our jackets white for obvious professional reasons,” said Li.

“There’s nothing currently on the market which helps this apart from buying new jackets and washing them every day. So we decided to create a new range of chef jackets using nanotechnology that makes it water repellent and stain-proof.”

The result is a chef’s jacket with resistance to thin sauces and even some of the thick, as coffee, soy sauce, and red wine all flow off, while thicker sauces adhere and then can be washed off.

Fabricor told GadgetGuy this week that the nano coating making this happen will break down eventually, like all nano coatings, with 50 to 80 washes being the rough guide. Once the hydrophobic coating has dissipated, the chef jacket will work like any other jacket, absorbing liquids into its white exterior until they’re washed out.

One concern we have for the product is that if the coating works too well and you end up spilling the liquid so much that it amasses on the floor, you could have an occupational health and safety issue, with puddles to skip over rather than liquids which absorb straight into the clothing.

We've never hated a meal enough to throw coffee on the chef. That's just mean.

But that’s a concern professionals won’t likely have to deal with, and can worry more about refining their soups or sauces without fear of ruining their tidy whites.

For now, the project is on Kickstarter, offering apron and chef jacket rewards, with a view to releasing them publicly and in hospitality stores later on.