Most food establishments, whether fast food outlets, fine dining or commercial catering businesses have a preference when it comes to the type and style of chef outfit that they require their employees to wear. So it is advisable to discuss with your employer the head chef or kitchen manager their particular requirements before you purchase your uniform. It was at one time easy to tell the different chefs in a kitchen just by their hats, the most senior chef would always have the tallest hat and hat sizes would reduce in order of rank.
Many modern commercial kitchens have become more flexible with their chef’s outfits in recent years, the well-known “Touge Blanche” (White Top Hat in French) is now not necessarily compulsory for all chefs everywhere.
Each piece the traditional chef outfit serves a specific purpose; every detail from the design to the fabric is not only for show or esthetics but primarily safety and hygiene.
Your checklist of what is needed
- Toque Blanche is the most popular and is designed to keep your hair out of your face and secure as well as allowing a good airflow to keep you cool.
- Skullcap is ideal for short hair and reaches down to your ears
- The Mob Cap is designed to cover your whole hair line and has an elastic opening to allow all your hair to be placed inside
- A Hair Net some establishments and health authorities prefer all employees to wear hair nets as they ensure your hair is under control
The traditional Chef Jacket was always white to emphasize cleanliness, but many establishments now chose to break with tradition and use different colors such as black dark blue, grey or colours that match the company branding. The pants are also now available in different colours and patterns instead of the traditional black and white checks.
In a commercial kitchen, there are many hazards from steam to gas flames and hot ovens. A chefs jacket is made of flameproof, double thick cotton, the fabric is designed with safety in mind to protect your body
A neckerchief or necktie helps protect your skin from dripping perspiration which can be a problem in hot kitchens.
A good quality apron is a must as it will give added protection and also help keep your uniform clean. Most will have heavy duty pockets to keep your most used kitchen tools in.
When you know the colour and style of chef pants used in your kitchen choose ones that are loose and baggy to supports your mobility and provide you with adequate ventilation.
It is very important to have footwear that is comfortable and durable, that will protect your feet from possible spills that can be hot and sometimes heavy as well as strong enough provide protection from falling sharp objects. Shoes need to support your feet as it is likely you will be standing in the kitchen for 8 to 12 hours a day.
Knives and Equipment
It is normal for chefs as professionals to have their own basic equipment such as a range of knives and sharpening gear as well as kitchen shears, thongs and carving forks.
When you see someone in a fresh crisp chef uniform it gives a feeling of them being competent and serious about their career. All the necessary high quality equipment is available from your local catering equipment supplier.