Kitchen Timers: 6 world-famous chefs with serious wrist gameD.C. Hannay
What is it about chefs and watches? Timing is everything when it comes to cooking, whether keeping track of something as simple as that perfect boiled egg, or as complex as an intricate dessert. Working chefs are always on the clock (the French Laundry’s Thomas Keller keeps a Vacheron Constantin wall clock in his kitchen), and you need some pretty tuned-in time management skills to keep those plates spinning and orders leaving the kitchen on schedule. Not long ago, we reflected on the late Anthony Bourdain’s watch collection, and it got us thinking about other watch-loving luminaries from the culinary world. Here are six world famous chefs with great watches.
When it comes to serious watch lovers in the culinary world, they don’t get much bigger than Eric Ripert, of New York’s famed Le Bernardin, the restaurant where he holds three Michelin stars, which has also held a four-star rating from the New York Times for more than two decades. He’s the author of six books, and has made numerous television appearances, including several episodes on his best friend Anthony Bourdain’s programs, such as A Cook’s Tour and Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Perhaps Bourdain’s love of a good timepiece was one thing that bonded the two, but where Bourdain was a fan of the utility of a good Rolex, Ripert’s heart belongs to Vacheron Constantin above all others. And while he also owns some cracking references from Patek Philippe, Cartier, and Rolex, he’s seen most often with his Overseas, and counts a platinum Patrimony, a Royal Eagle, a limited edition Historiques American 1921, and a Malte Chronograph among his Vacheron stash.
The Bill Nye of kitchen science, Alton Brown needs no introduction. Besides his award-winning career as an affable TV host and author, Brown is a rather serious collector of watches, especially vintage models, and he’s always mixing things up in his ever-rotating collection.
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He certainly has a love for the classics, as evidenced by this pristine GMT-Master.
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But he also isn’t afraid to go for an offbeat choice, like the cheap (and awesome) Casio Worldtimer.
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Or this absolutely shredded Rolex Oysterdate.
He’s a nice guy too, having auctioned off his IWC Portugieser and Omega Dark Side of the Moon for COVID relief. And in a remarkably unbelievable tale, he found his father’s Omega Seamaster Chronostop on eBay after it was stolen 20 years earlier. Brown’s always been a great storyteller, and that has to be one of the best watch stories of all time.
Candace Nelson, pastry chef extraordinaire and the brains behind the Sprinkles Cupcakes and Pizzana chains, is a force in the culinary sphere. Besides being an entrepreneur, she’s an author and television host, and her empire is only expanding. While she has her hands in many different pies, so to speak, she only has eyes for her one true love when it comes to wristwear: her classic Cartier Tank Francaise.
A first anniversary gift from her husband, she rarely takes it off, even while in the kitchen. If you’re going to have a one-watch collection from Cartier, the Tank Francaise is a fantastic choice, with its more robust profile, go-anywhere steel bracelet, and goes-with-everything looks. It’s called classic rock for a reason, folks.
Chef Masaharu Morimoto has a truly legendary CV. Hailing from Hiroshima, Japan, he moved to America, becoming executive chef at the iconic Nobu in the ‘90s before launching his own restaurant in 2001. That restaurant spawned a worldwide empire that now boasts nearly twenty properties, bringing his mastery of Japanese fusion to a global audience. He’s released countless culinary products (including cookbooks, his own whisky, and a line of chef’s knives). And, oh yeah, he’s one of the O.G. Iron Chefs, so naturally, his timing is impeccable.
On Morimoto’s wrist, you’ll most often find his beloved Panerai Luminor. Although he’s been spotted with Rolex, Franck Muller, and some gorgeous Grand Seiko references, the time-only Panerai, with its 47mm case and big, legible dial has long been his trusted companion.
Gordon Ramsay hardly needs any introduction. The no-nonsense chef is a well-known horolophile, with an epic collection of drool-worthy vintage and modern Rolexes, among others. For example, he came ready for his battle with hot wings on Hot Ones with a Rolex Submariner ref. 1680 on an aftermarket leather NATO strap.
The vintage theme continued even on his second appearance on the web series, this time an IWC Mark XI on a fabric NATO. It is likely Gordon is fond of the reference due to its ties to the Royal Air Force and its usage by their pilots once upon a time.
We couldn’t throw up a list of watch-lovin’ chefs without repping for the home team (or at least the home team for HQ), and Aussie Curtis Stone certainly fits the bill. A son of Melbourne, he cooked under the legendary Marco Pierre White in the UK before striking out on his own. Curtis’ career has taken him all over the world, as a chef, restaurateur, and television presenter. While he’s a big guy with some outsized timepieces (such as the tonneau-cased Franck Muller Black Casa), it’s his trusted Rolex GMT-Master II that most often accompanies his globetrotting lifestyle.
Unlike most Rolex fans who thirst for Pepsi, Stone favours the discontinued all-black variant, and I tend to agree with his choice. The little pop of green from the dial text and GMT hand are all the colour I need, making for a much more versatile wear. You’ll find Curtis in some pretty strange places, especially while filming his PBS series Field Trip with Curtis Stone, so the GMT-Master II makes perfect sense for someone with such a busy travel itinerary.