Outfitting Your Chefs: Kitchen Uniforms
Uniforms in the kitchen should be both attractive and functional with an emphasis on practicality. Chef uniforms exude professionalism while serving the purpose of protecting the wearer as well as your customers, and they’re an essential piece of protective wear for food safety purposes as well. As an operative tool in any kitchen, you should know the true purpose of each piece as well as the dos and don’ts in regards to your chef’s uniforms.
Typically double-breasted, a chef’s jacket is made to withstand and protect the wearer from spills and splatters. Consider some of the following when purchasing chef jackets:
Cotton Composition: Its heavy cotton makeup means it’s sturdy enough to withstand kitchen encounters while still being breathable for the wearer.
Knotted Button (easy to take off in an emergency but won’t burn or melt like plastics)
White Color: The white color serves the purpose of repelling heat while still being easy to bleach.
Double-Breasted: The double-breast design also serves a purpose by allowing the chef to unbutton a flap to reveal a clean, fresh cotton surface for a more professional presentation should the need arise!
While there are a variety of shapes and sizes to a chef’s hat, all versions help maintain a safe, clean environment. Hats help keep the sweat off your face (and from dripping into your food) as well as keeping hair out of the way. For more gourmet-style restaurants, consider investing in the traditional French-style ‘toque Blanche’ which are the tall, pleated cylindrical hats!
Chef’s pants may not look like much at first glance, but there are several features designed specifically for protecting from kitchen hazards.
Elastic Waistband: The elastic waistband is made for quick and easy removal.
Composition: The makeup of the fabric itself is made to be baggy and sturdy to protect from spills and hot liquids.
Cuffs: Don’t cut off the bottom cuffs; These are made to trap spills!
Perhaps one of the most essential parts of the uniform is an apron. These act as an extra barrier against kitchen spills and splashes, but don’t use the apron to wipe up messes (use towels for this). You can, on the other hand, use the apron to grab hot pots out of the oven! Keep in mind that staff should ALWAYS remove their apron before using the restroom. Consider installing a small rack to hang aprons before exiting the kitchen.
As with any restaurant staff, they should invest in shoes with non-skid soles. Some owners prefer to require a special brand and style while others merely insist on shoes with rubber soles. Either way, flip flops, open-toes, and flimsy tennis shoes should be banned from your workspaces.
In addition to this attire, always ensure that staff refrain from wearing jewelry when cooking and to skip the perfume when in the kitchen. Practicing safe and sanitary habits capitalize on the safety ingrained in the uniforms themselves!
E Friedman Associates Inc