Appearance Requirements for Professional Chefs

Working in a professional kitchen demands perfection on every level including food preparation, attention to detail, sanitation, hygiene and appearance. It is important for a chef to look the part for many reasons, whether in a casual fast-food joint or a fine dining restaurant. In the chef industry, there are certain requirements for uniforms and presentation, and while they may change based on the establishment, there are some general guidelines for the best chef wear while working in a professional kitchen.

Chef’s Coat

The traditional, white chef’s coat is the quintessential uniform of a professional kitchen and lets both customers and restaurant workers know who belongs in the kitchen. Besides this, the chef’s coat serves an even more important role – to protect the chef from the numerous hazards in a busy kitchen.  These coats are made from heavy cotton, which protects the chef from the heat of kitchen appliances and food. The knotted buttons are designed that way for a reason as they do not melt and will not fall off and potentially land in food. And while many may think that white is an odd choice for an environment where stains are common, the colour means it can be easily bleached.

Chef’s Uniform

In addition to the coat, a chef uniform also typically consists of pants, comfortable shoes and a hat or head gear. Pants are usually required to have a straight leg and be hemmed above the shoe to prevent slipping and falling. Shoes must be completely covered and skid resistant as spills are commonplace in the kitchen. Chefs must also wear an apron at all times and can range between waist aprons to full bib style, depending on the kitchen requirements. Chef’s hats are made from either cloth or paper and some fine dining restaurants will also require chefs to wear a neckerchief.

Personal Hygiene and Appearance

Chefs often come into direct contact with raw and unprepared food that is served to patrons, so it is important to maintain good personal hygiene at all times. This includes frequently washing hands, brushing teeth and bathing regularly. Any sores, wounds or cuts must be coveredat all times with waterproof plasters or bandages or use flood-safe gloves. Any kitchen staff with any flu like symptoms like high fever, runny nose, vomiting or diarrhoea should not be permitted to work. In terms of appearance, any jewellery, including standard ear piercings, are not acceptable for work in the kitchen. Married chefs might wear a plain, smooth band only if covered with a single-use glove. Fingernail polish or fake nails are not permitted in any kitchen. Hair must be pulled back away from the face or kept under a chef’s hat or net, while facial hair must be neat and trimmed at all times