Saturday, February 21, 2015

The road to the perfect chef coat- A fashion review


Contributor: Aaron Winterhalter
Aaron Writes reviews, philosophy, poetry, food , gardening, and what ever else comes to me. 





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Born and raised in southern California. Orange County / Los Angeles based Fashion Designer Sandra Harvey has always had a love, respect,and deep appreciation of chefs, fine restaurants, and quirky little bistros. Sandra grew up around restauranteurs playing in kitchens, and learning to cook from her Mother.   Sandra will tell you many of her favorite conversations and memories have been over meals with friends, family, and clients. Sandra’s sister made a career as a chef in La Jolla California where her restaurant still operates today.
Sandra is a well traveled and educated women with over 20 years of design experience. She is best know for her amazing detail, her sexy yet non revealing way she cuts, and her  magical ability to craft and weave some of the finest suits and separates Women’s fashion has ever seen.  She does not design exclusively for women, yet that is the area she puts most of her focus.
Sandra Harvey fitting Lorena Cortez Photo©SGSéguret5
In the 90’s Sandra was featured on MTV’s house of style hosted by Cindy Crawford , and she has been Designing for and dressing some of the worlds notable musicians since the 90’s. Always sweet, approachable, and genuine. Sandra is a fierce humanitarian, an eternal optimist, and the most real, unchanged, dedicated, and driven person I have ever had the chance to know.
Sandra Harvey 1990’s Commercial

In 2005 Sandra took a break from designing and removed herself from the Los Angeles scene when her husband and also the father of her 2 young boys was killed when hit by a drunk driver.  Sandra had always been a dedicated, loving, and great mother.  With the loss of her husband she needed to switch focus and put 100 percent of herself into helping her children through this difficult time , and create a fun world for them to grow up in.
One afternoon the words of her late husband came to her, as clear as if he was standing next to her.  The feeling of warm hand on her shoulder and the words “Take my boys to my home” filled the room, echoed in her ears, and stuck in her mind for days.
As a little girl Sandra’s father used to take her to Arkansas every summer. He would tell her about the south, about ghosts and banshees, and swamps. He would show her how to catch fireflys and appreciate nature and the unique peace and magic that is found in the more quite and still parts of the world.  Sandra has always been connected to the South in one  way or another. Her late husband and his entire family were originally from North Carolina.
Despite what people were telling her during this dark time in her life, leaving everything and starting over in North Carolina just made sense to her. She knew this was where she needed to raise her children, and she felt guided to North Carolina from her husbands words that she heard from beyond the grave.  She just somehow knew deep down that this was a place where they could all heal. Leaving her entire life , her friends, her family, her business, and her beautiful Laguna Beach home. Sandra packed up her 2 boys, their cat, and a few of her most precious things and move to the small mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina.  Now this was way before Asheville was a destination, and before it was known for its fine dining and foodie culture.
The Culinary Girl Short Film 2014 Asheville NC

Sandra and her boys spent their first few years in Asheville just trying to adjust to having lost her Husband and the boys father. They would spend summers on the river, take trips out to Charleston and Savannah to visit the ocean. She also got a family dog, and  built a very wonderful organic garden for all of them to work in. It was during this time is when Sandra started becoming interested in the Culinary world.
Soon the town of Asheville started to grow and quality restaurants sprung up all over downtown, there were new 4 and 5 star chefs moving in every month. Sandra soon made friends with many of these chefs and restaurant owners.  Still not ready to go back to designing, Sandra became fascinated with the passion, and dedication and the almost militant type discipline she witnessed from many of chefs and restaurant owners.  Sandra wanted to understand this first hand.  So… She enrolled in the Culinary Program at AB – Tech.  Studying both Culinary, and Baking Science at the same time. Sandra quickly became immersed in the Culinary world.




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Over the 2 years of her formal education, Sandra has worked over 1500 hours volunteering in various restaurants, performing demos, doing food prep and service for many different events. Some of which include: the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts, the Asheville Wine and Food Festival, Star Chefs new york , the IACP, and countless other events.   She never backed away from the hard work, the cleaning, or any of the more difficult duties of a culinary student. All while being a very active and fun Mother to her boys that were quickly turning into young men.
Spending day after day in school Sandra would hear the girls talk about how their uniforms were stiff and unflattering, and the men would often mention how hot and uncomfortable they would get in their uniforms.  Sandra spent two years in those uniforms herself so she knew first hand. For Sandra her biggest issue was with the baggy sleeves that don’t stay rolled up, and the stiff non flexible materials.
These were clearly uniforms, these were not made by a designer or a person who had done a hard days work in a professional kitchen.  They were not made with any real understanding of what the title chef means to those who work so hard to earn it,  or to those who spend hours laboring in the kitchen as cooks.  As Sandra would go to school and work in the kitchen and stage in various restaurants the design started to appear in her minds eye.   The real challenge was to make something highly functional, yet fashionable, and at the same time pay tribute and respect to the men and women who spend their lives working in kitchen. To give them a coat they could not only work in, but show pride in.  It would be another 2 years of diligence, dedication, and overcoming many set backs to finally see her dream realized.
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In school, Sandra earned the respect and admiration of her instructors, her fellow students, and many of the countries top chefs. She was featured in the AB Tech course catalog as an Entrepreneur of the Culinary Industry. Her coats appeared on Good Morning America, and were featured by Martha Stewart Made in America. She has had numerous publications, articles, and radio spots all singing her praises. But Sandra measures her success by what her clients say. Sandra still takes the time to personally write and call each of her clients. She has built her company on hard work and there was never a doubt that her product would be American Made. Even when keeping her product made in America caused her numerous set backs in production, she never wavered and even helped bring sewing jobs to North Carolina by doing so. She personally oversees and runs her company with old fashioned American values where customer service and her strong connection to her customers is the most important thing to her. She currently has a client list of executive chefs, cooks, bakers, caterers, and other culinary professionals from every continent,  and she keeps in contact with all of them personally.
 Original concept sketches done in between classes and labs while attending AB Tech.
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~ From concept to reality ~
Sandra Harvey Women’s Brigade style in White
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The SHD culinary line by Sandra Harvey was born from a combination years of formal education, research, hands on kitchen experience, and design knowledge. She often says the Original SHD Brigade coat was Inspired by Georges Auguste Escoffier.  The original SHD Chef Coat is a brigade design, hand cut, hand sewn,and 100 percent American made from the finest fabrics on earth. The coat is Light weight, it moves and works with you, the sleeves stay in place when pushed up,  the coat is cut and designed only the way someone with over 20 years of design experience can. Yet it is durable and functions under real conditions in a way only someone with real working culinary experience could design. This coat is the marriage of a master designer, and a chef created by a Woman who truly loves both worlds.   Every last detail is perfect.  The women’s feature hidden side pockets, a high collar, elegant cuffs, over sized high quality 1 inch buttons, and can be worn both open and buttoned. Sandra also takes custom orders , and has an amazing Men’s line featuring shoulder epaulettes.
                                                  
Designer Sandra Harvey
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Still based in Asheville North Carolina, Sandra is now in her 4th year of production. This year the AB Tech Culinary team will all be dressed in SHD as they enter the Nationals. SHD will also have a booth just off the main event stage at this years National Restaurant Association event in Chicago from May the 16 – 19th 2015. At this even she will unveil her newest chef coat and chef pants.
The last thing I will say about Sandra is that she refuses to compromise quality, she is a patriot, she is a humanitarian, and she has a flawless reputation for always paying her employees, models, and photographers very well. She is Loved by all who know her.
Sandra Harvey Links
Official:  sandraharvey.com
On Instagram
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Company Sayings and Slogans
“How does your chef coat fit you?”
“Elegance reigns in the kitchen”
“A beautiful presentation starts on your way to work”
“Wear something the boys can’t”
“Chefs do it with knives and torches”
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Company Logo  : Sandra Harvey underlined with Sewing Needle
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Company Mascot  : Chef Trizzella Pin Up
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Company Mascot  : Chef Trizzella Cartoon
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Crossed Knives  Asheville NC
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 Behind the Scenes of Culinary Girl Short Film
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2 comments:

Aaron Winterhalter said...

I don't even work in the Culinary field and I own a black one just to wear out. This is the best cut coat I've ever owned -culinary or otherwise.

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