What Does a Chef Wear?

Whether you are a casual or formal establishment, presentation is everything. From your dishes to the ambiance of the dining area, every detail plays a crucial role. However, one aspect that often goes unnoticed but is vital to the overall image of a professional chef is their attire.

Experienced chefs don’t just wear any uniform; their clothing is a reflection of their professionalism and commitment to their culinary craft. And the traditional uniform is much more than a white jacket. It is a dignified uniform that makes a statement about one’s skillset AND also performs quite well in a hot kitchen.

Quick History of Chef Wear

The history of  traditional chef wear is a fascinating journey that reflects the evolution of culinary arts and professional kitchens – and hasn’t evolved too much over time. Even today’s modern chefs wear variations of what ended up being a timeless uniform.

Often, the iconic white chef coat (with white buttons) is attributed to legendary French chef, Chef Marie-Antoine Carême; this kitchen fashion staple emerged as a symbol of prestige and cleanliness.

Carême introduced the concept of the white double-breasted jacket to signify the chef’s authority and commitment to maintaining a pristine kitchen. Over the years, this distinctive attire became synonymous with chef clothing, not only for its aesthetic appeal but also for its practical features. The high collar and long sleeves were designed to provide additional protection against kitchen hazards (e.g. arm burns, sharp objects), while the white color symbolized hygiene.

Today, chef uniforms continue to blend tradition with modernity, adapting to the ever-changing demands of the culinary world (and their unique busy kitchen) while preserving their historical legacy.

A Look at the Kitchen Team

In a restaurant or venue’s bustling commercial kitchen, you’ve got a whole cast of characters making the magic happen. Think (hopefully!) a less dramatic version of The Bear. When thinking of a kitchen staff, the number of team players (and type) is dependent on the size of the kitchen itself AND the establishment’s needs.

Casual Restaurant

Casual dining is often your go-to spot for comfort food and easy vibes with a kitchen crew focused on efficiency and approachability. Chefs sport comfortable and practical uniforms, maybe with a dash of personal flair. Professional cooks hustle to plate up tasty bites, while prep cooks keep the ingredients flowing seamlessly. Depending on your budget, prep cooks may simply wear white clothing as a sense of unity.Even a casual setting can benefit from a linen rental provider by taking away one to-do for the team to handle. (Bergen Linen also offers bar mops, floor mats, aprons, and more.)

Semi-Formal Restaurant

Semi-formal restaurants bring a touch of sophistication to the table. Here, chefs and kitchen staff often rock a more polished look. The head chef might flaunt a classic double-breasted coat, and sous chefs tend to follow suit. The kitchen team maintains a balance between professional appearance and functionality, with aprons and chef pants that marry professionalism with practicality. 

Formal Restaurant

When it comes to formal dining, precision and presentation are even more paramount. Head chefs take the stage in impeccably tailored chef coats, signaling authority and expertise. (And at times, they may have a separate jacket should they need to greet special guests or some other out-of-the-kitchen appearance.) Sous chefs and the rest of the kitchen brigade follow suit with refined attire. Precision-cut aprons and spotless chef pants contribute to the overall aura of culinary excellence. .

Event Venues

For chefs and kitchen staff working in event spaces, adaptability is the name of the game. The attire here strikes a balance between functionality and a touch of flair. Head chefs might wear outfits that reflect the event’s theme, while the rest of the team dons stylish yet practical uniforms. Caterers and venues spaces require a different linen rental service because of the nature of their business. Bergen Linen works with restaurants, catering companies, event planners, venues, and more.

Types of Chef Wear

  1. The Classic Chef’s Coat: The cornerstone of a chef’s wardrobe is undoubtedly the classic white double-breasted chef’s coat. It’s iconic – and certainly makes a statement. This uniform piece not only signifies cleanliness but also serves a practical purpose. The double-breasted design allows chefs to hide stains by simply flipping the coat to the other side. From the linen rental company’s viewpoint, providing chefs with crisp, well-maintained coats is crucial to maintaining a polished and hygienic appearance in the kitchen.
  2. Functional Chef Pants: Chef pants are designed with functionality in mind. They are typically loose-fitting to provide comfort during long hours in the kitchen. Often, you will find checkered pants that are not just a style choice; it helps conceal spills and stains. 
  3. Aprons for Protection: Aprons are a chef’s shield against spills and splatters. Whether it’s a bib apron for full coverage or a waist apron for more freedom of movement, these garments protect the chef’s uniform from the inevitable mess that comes with cooking. Ask about our bistro apron and other options today.
  4. Headgear – The Chef’s Crown: The classic toque blanche, or chef’s hat, is more than just a symbol of authority; it serves a practical purpose as well. Did you know the tall hat is designed to keep hair out of the chef’s face and prevent it from falling into the food? 

Another important part of a kitchen’s team wardrobe are their comfortable and slip-resistant footwear. In fact, the slip-resistant footwear is mandatory for safety purposes. To help aid in safety, your kitchen may also want to revisit your floor mat situation.

Professional Chef Wear Service

Improper frequent washing may leave your chef uniforms looking a little dingy. For proper care of a white coat, leave it to the professionals that have industry-approved stain removing processes. Our expertise ensures long-lasting chef coats and pants are delivered guest-ready regularly. So trust in a professional laundry service today! (Bergen Linen also offers custom embroidery options.)

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