Traditional Chefs' uniforms have become iconic and highly recognizable, with their high hat, white jacket and pied de poule pants. Althought, recently some Chefs and restaurants capitalizing on a more urban image are transitioning toward a more casual look. Is the traditional uniform outdated?
When picturing a top Chef, the iconic tall white hat, the famous "Toque" in French, is usually the first thing that comes to mind. In recent years, this item has often been replaced by a cap, a beanie, or even simply removed, although the traditional tall white Chef hat is still common. Click to discover Clement Design's Chef hats range.
Chef hats are much more than fashionable items tying the uniform together, they function as a protector for both the Chef and the customer.
For customers, by protecting their dishes from hair or sweat. One single hair can ruin an entire customer experience. It might also damage the Chef and restaurant’s reputation, as those tiny hairs can fall without anyone in the kitchen realizing it. Aside from this. Chef’s hat also has a protective function. By concealing the hair, chefs reduce the risk of getting it caught in either equipment, a door, or even from catching on fire.
The recommended hat should cover the Chefs' head and hair completely.
The jacket is the most important part of the uniform for a Chef. It is essential that it includes the following features:
The main function of the jacket is to provide protection, insulate the Chef from heat or any splashes of hot liquids. It was traditionally made of heavy cotton material. Nowadays, with evolutions in fabric development and technology, more options are available.
Clement Design handpicked high quality Egyptian cotton (a type of cotton that is made of long threads providing extra softness and comfort) for its prestige range. For its cuisine range, Clement Design developed a specific polyester/cotton fabric that aims at durability (polyester is better at handling multiples and harsh washing) while cotton brings comfort to the jacket. It is especially true, as it is using a special weaving technic where polyester stands on the ouside of the jacket for durability, leaving the cotton to sit comfortably the skin. Click to discover Clement Design's Chef jackets range.
Long sleeves vs short sleeves
Traditionnally, jackets have long sleeves to protect arms from cuts or burns, which is essential in kitchen when working with hot dishes. Although, due to the often hot working environment, short sleeves have been experiencing a rise in popularity around the globe.
Plastic or metallic buttons have the risk of falling off or chipping, which can be hazardous in a professional cooking environment. Although metal snap buttons weren't available in the 1870's, when Chef uniforms as we know them started to appear. Knotted clothed buttons provide stronger resistance than traditional buttons and continue to live on to circumvent any risk. Both of those options (snap & knotted buttons) allow chef to quickly remove the garment in case of burning liquids spilling. For this reason, it's better to avoid zippers.
Double-breasted & reversible jacket
The double layer chef jacket serves two functions. It provides an additional layer of insulation against splashing hot liquids and can also be reversed if the jacket were to become stained. This proves in handy if a chef were to move to the dining room and speak with patrons.
Most commonly, chef pants are loose-fitting to allow movement and protect against spills. A loose fit means that if chef does spill a hot liquid on its pants, it won’t held up against his or her skin. Click to discover Clement Design's Chef pants range.
Although the apron isn't necessarily considered part of a traditional chef's uniform, most chefs today wear one as an added protection against the heat, stains, and flames of a kitchen. Thickness of the fabric used is important to be fully efficient.
The best options for Chefs are aprons made out of a thicker material, crafted to protect chefs from harm and their jackets from getting stained. Click to discover Clement Design's Chef apron range.
Comfort and safety are the main factors when it comes to footwear in the kitchen. Kitchen environment being wet and greasy, it generates high risks of slipping when not careful. Anti-slippery sole on shoes are a standard for safety in kitchen and are very efficient to limit risks of injury related to fall. There is wide variety of anti-slippery shoes which provide a different level of satisfaction.
Other foot related risks involves sharp or heavy objects that could fall. Kitchen shoes are traditionally equipped with steel cap to protect against those risks. However, chefs spend often well above 10 hours on their feet in any given day. That means the shoes needs to be comfortable, provide a good fit to the shape of the foot, a great shock absorption capacity of the sole and overall light weight. Steel cap protection bringing additional weight, chef often have to base their decision between extra comfort or extra protection.
Adhera, a kitchen shoes range by Clement Design, has been developed with safety and comfort in mind. Its sole technology provides the best technical results. Click to discover Adhera shoes.
A bright white chef's uniform sets the stage for professionalism in the industry and there are many reasons to proudly wear each piece of the traditional uniform even nowadays. With the role of Chef evolving, the increasing need for his or her presence in the dining room, the concepts of open kitchen, Chefs do need modernization of their chef wear, which are still keeping their historical features, but also provide comfort and elegance. And that’s what’s behind each item of chef wear developed by Clement Design: durability, comfort and elegance.