Your Chef’s uniform is an important aspect of the image that you create both as a professional chef and for your establishment, because that is what will portray your level of expertise, service and professionalism.
A Chef’s uniform, and even uniforms for front of house staff, is used for many reasons, one of which is to keep to the highest levels of food preparation hygiene. A uniform prevents any contamination of the food that the Chef is preparing from such things as fur, dust and allergens. The white color of the uniforms, especially the Chef Coats, portrays this image of cleanliness and hygiene, and hence it is important to keep that image.
Sometimes accidents such as spills and splashes are inevitable when working in a fast-paced, busy kitchen environment, but wearing dirty, soiled or stained uniforms is not a good representation of what a Chef stands for, hence it is important to take good care of your uniforms so that they are always clean and neat. So, what can you do to ensure that you are taking good care of whose Chef whites? Here are a few tips.
Buy only high-quality products – Choosing a high-quality uniform is very important, whether it is Chef coats, Chef hats (or Toque), Chef pants or Chef aprons. This is because manufacturers of high-quality chef wear ensure that they use only the best, breathable fabrics, that are both comfortable and functional for the wearer. Although these may be of a slightly higher price, it is never recommended to compromise on quality. Chef coats especially need to be of a very good quality and made to a certain standard, as these are meant to provide safety for the Chef and anyone else wearing it. The fabric for Chef coats should be both fire and heat resistant, and yet provide enough air flow and insulation to keep the wearer comfortable while working in a hot kitchen. Cheap, mass-produced uniforms are less durable meaning that you will need to keep replacing them at much shorter intervals, costing you way more than paying for a high-end product.
Care labels – Paying attention to the care labels on your uniforms is an important way of ensuring that they are being maintained in the right way. These labels will give you all required information about washing the uniform and how to take care of it, so that it lasts a long time, and to keep them looking good. It is important to remember that different items of your Chef uniform may have different care instructions. Chef hats may need to be cleaned and washed differently to Chef aprons, hence paying attention to each and every label is vital.
Take care of stains immediately – As we mentioned before, stains from spills and splashes are inevitable when working in a busy kitchen, and the same is true even for serving staff in the front of house. In order to keep your uniforms well maintained, it is important to treat stains immediately, even though different stains may have different treatments. Some basic tips to follow are:
First remove all solid food stuff from the stained area.
Don’t rub a stain, because if it is grease or oil it will simply run on to the fabric and be permanent.
Pouring some Club Soda onto the stain is a quick way of removing them.
Put the dirty item to the laundry as soon as possible.
Before drying, make sure that the stain is completely gone, because the drying process can make a stain a permanent one.
For white uniforms, you can use bleach to remove any stubborn stains, but make sure you do not use it for colored uniforms because it can fade the colors.
Keep an extra set handy at all times – If the budget allows it, it is best to keep a second set of the uniform (a full set, Chef coats, pants and hats, as well as Chef aprons), so that if you get a stain you can quickly change into a second set of clothing and put the dirty ones to be cleaned immediately, to ensure that the stains don’t stick.
Bleaching – While bleaching is the ideal way to clean stains on white uniforms such as Chef coats, it is advisable to avoid using chlorine-based bleaches because these tend to turn white clothing yellow relatively quickly, and rather go for oxygen-based bleach.
Proper storage – After a hard day of working in the kitchen, irrespective of how tired you are, it is important to make sure that your uniform is looked after. Hanging it up rather than simply dumping it somewhere, is the best way to ensure its durability.
Just as taking care of your uniform is important, it is equally important to know when to replace them, because nothing lasts forever.