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From fashion graduate to chef: Jennifer Lee helps chefs and bartenders look stylish at work

It is not difficult to see how various art forms collide with each other naturally, producing quite amazing effects, especially in the culinary arts and the diverse design world. From the clever plating to the stylish lobby of our favorite restaurants and cafes, not to mention their equally sophisticated staff, this synergy—although sometimes subtle—is undeniable. Therefore, it is not surprising to find supporters who combine passion for food with a keen or trained eye for design from complementary creative fields, and vice versa.
After graduating from fashion design, Jennifer Lee’s involvement in the less glamorous world of professional cooking was accidental. She moved to London right after she graduated and eventually worked in the food and beverage industry while looking for a “right job”. As a self-taught chef, she also set foot in caring for bars and managing restaurants.
But it was not until she became the kitchen supervisor of the now-defunct Latin American gastropub Vasco that she realized how special it is to be a chef and a female chef in Singapore. Even so, she admits that she has never really felt it among the white people of standard chefs. Comfortable. Lee explained: “I never felt like I was a’suitable’ chef because I had no cooking training and it seemed a bit embarrassing to wear a white chef’s coat. I first started covering my chef’s white clothes with bright fabrics. Buttons, I finally designed some jackets for the event.”
Unable to simply buy the right things, Lee decided to make the most of her focus on fashion and founded her female chef clothing brand Mizbeth in 2018. Since then, the brand has developed into a popular brand of functional and modern chef overalls. Aprons have always been the most popular item among her customers (men and women). Although the business has grown to cover all kinds of clothing and accessories, the goal of bridging the gap between streetwear and uniforms is still clear. Lee firmly believes that Mizbeth is a Singaporean brand and that its products are made locally. He is fortunate to have found a local manufacturer that provides quality craftsmanship. “They have been providing incredible support during this unexpected journey,” she pointed out. “They are not as cheap as producing my products in China or Vietnam, but I believe in their business model, their extreme care for customers and attention to detail.”
This sense of fashion has undoubtedly attracted the attention of the best chefs and restaurant owners on the island, as well as recent startups such as Fleurette on Yangon Road. Lee added: “Cloudstreet (the Sri Lankan-born Rishi Naleendra’s interpretation of contemporary cuisine) is a great project to match the apron with the beautiful interior of the restaurant. Pärla in Phuket is helmed by chef Seumas Smith. The mixture of leather, weaving and fabric is also an unforgettable experience, a small homage to the Sami tribe in Sweden (a tribute to the chef’s ancestors).
So far, custom aprons and jackets have been her main business, although she plans to provide ready-made retail collections, more apron options, and even accessories made of hem fabric.
However, all of this did not hinder her love of cooking. “This has always been my passion and therapy-especially baking,” said Lee, who is currently the general manager of Starter Lab’s Singapore branch. “It’s as if all my experiences working in all parts of the world and in various companies have given me this wonderful role,” she declared. To be sure, she did make it look good.
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Post time: Jun-10-2021