Kitchens can be a highly hazardous and dangerous place to work, because it is very hot and steamy, and a very busy place with everyone running around doing their work. There are hot ovens, open fires and knives and other pointy and sharp tools and utensils that could certainly hurt and harm someone. Men’s and women’s Chef uniforms are specifically created and designed to protect the wearer from such dangerous hazards as those that could happen in such an environment.
Chef whites, especially the Chef’s jacket or coat is usually made from breathable heavy materials, such as 100% cotton, and are usually made in white because white is a reflective color and thereby absorbs heat, making it more comfortable for the wearer to work in.
The Chef uniform has come a long way since its creation in the 19th century by French Chef Marie-Antoine Carême, and these days through greater innovation and the latest technology, these uniforms have improved both in style and functionality. Both men’s and women’s chef uniforms now come in different designs, styles, fabrics, and colors, and are an integral part of the kitchen.
What are the different parts of the Chef uniform? All the following components together make the uniform.
The Chef Hat – Or Toque as it is called, is used to designate rankings in the kitchen, with the Head Chef having the tallest hat with the greatest number of pleats. These days however, hands-on chefs prefer to be comfortable when they are working, and wear a bandana or beanie instead of the Toque, unless they are out meeting VIP’s or are present in the front of house at functions and events.
Chef Coat or Jacket – A double breasted jacket or coat made from fire and heat resistant heavy cotton fabric which protects the wearer from hazards of the kitchen. The coat usually has pockets where the chef can keep certain tools and utensils, as well as two rows of fabric buttons. The double-breasted design is to ensure that in an emergency the chef can reverse the front panel to cover any dirt, grime or stains. White Chef jackets are better because dirt and stains are easily identifiable on a white background. However, these days there are many Chef coats, whether white or in other colors, that include a Teflon coating on the fabric, which makes liquids simply roll off the fabric without staining it.
Chef Pants – Usually made of black and white checkered material they are of a loose, baggy fit. The printed material ensures that dirt and stains are not easily noticeable.
Apron – Aprons provide an additional layer of protection over the Chef whites, and cover the wearer from the upper body all the way up to the knees.
Shoes – Shoes protect the Chef’s feet from falling heavy objects, but should be comfortable and provide the best shock absorption, in addition to being well fitting.
So, what are the real benefits of wearing a Chef uniform?
Makes a Chef look professional – White coats are usually the preferred among Chefs because it portrays cleanliness and hygiene. Of course, these days Chef Coats come in a variety of colors, but irrespective of the color used, it should create a harmonious look and professional feel to your kitchen. To achieve this many establishments, get identical uniforms for their staff, perhaps with embroidered name tags as well, with the Head Chef getting something slightly different in order to differentiate rankings.
Food hygiene –Hygiene is of the utmost importance when you are operating any establishment that deals with food and drink. This is why a Chef uniform is so important, because it prevents contamination of the food from outside clothing, as well as reduces allergens. In addition, it gives an impression of cleanliness and professionalism when a customer sees the kitchen staff attired in proper clean uniforms, especially Chef whites.
Comfort – Hot stoves and ovens, and open fires make the kitchen a very hot place to work in, and considering that Chefs usually work the better part of a day in there, it is very important that they are comfortable in order to be more productive. The uniform should be the appropriate size for them, with allowances for greater air flow and breathability, and the uniform should be made of hypoallergenic fabric that won’t irritate the skin, usually 100% cotton.