As a commis chef, you’re in the junior ranks of the kitchen but you are still a valued member of the team. So, it’s important you look the part. Here is what a commis chef should wear for work…
If you’re about to start a new job as a commis chef, you should ask your employer what the dress code is. Most kitchens have the standard chef dress code but some places may differ. Some restaurants may even supply your uniform.
However if your employer expects you to buy your own uniform, it can be stressful if you don’t know what a commis chef wears for work.
Don’t fear, here is the standard uniform guidelines for junior chefs:
Commis Chef Uniform Checklist
- White Jacket (with a pen pocket)
- Black pants
- Hat (Toque Blanche)
- Slip resistant work shoes
No matter your position in the kitchen, all chefs wear a white jacket. For centuries, chefs have worn the widely recognised white jacket. Logically, it might seem unwise to wear light colours that show any minor food stain but chefs wear white jackets so they can show they are a clean cook.
Despite cooking in a busy and food filled area, a chef’s uniform should always be clean and tidy. It's the sign of a good chef. (Other amazing qualities of incredible chefs)
There is also a benefit of wearing a white jacket. You can easily bleach any stains. You cannot do that with dark coloured clothing unless you want to damage the overall appearance. Using some bleach on your white jacket will clean it and make it look brand new again.
Ideally, get a jacket with a pen pocket. It’s recommended to keep a pen on you at all times, you never know when you might have to edit an order and you need a pen on hand.
Some kitchens will be flexible on what coloured pants you can wear at work, but it is standard to wear black pants. Make sure they are loose fit. It can get very hot in the kitchen and loose pants are more comfortable to wear.
Advice: Have you ever seen a chef walking down the street? Probably not.
Thanks to their uniform you can instantly recognise a chef but you've probably never seen one outside. Why is that? Because of health and safety you should never wear your uniform outside. Dirt and bacteria can contaminate your clothes and there is a risk you can contaminate the food you prepare. Wear different clothes for your commute to work and then change when you get there. Most restaurants have a changing area for their chefs.
Most commis chef wear for work a toque blanche because that is the norm for most chefs. The tall white hat keeps your hair tied back and because it’s light, you will usually forget it’s even on your head.
You can also get skull caps and mob hats, you may even prefer wearing a hairnet. If you’re starting as a commis chef in a new kitchen, start with a toque blanche and then see what your colleagues are wearing. Most employers don’t mind what type of chef hat their chefs choose to wear as long as it is well kept, keeps your hair back and is appropriate.
It’s useful to always have an apron. Depending on what station you’re working at in the kitchen, you might not need an apron but it’s useful to keep it in your locker for when you do need it. This shows your manager that you're always prepared for work.
Like your jacket, get a white apron so if it gets stained with food you can bleach it to look brand new again.
Slip resistant work shoes
When working as a commis chef in a kitchen, you cannot wear your favourite trainers. They're not appropriate for work. Yes, chefs do work behind the scenes so customers will likely not see you but you should always be smartly dress. And along with looking smart, wearing the right shoes can help keep you safe.
There are lots of hazards in the kitchen. Hot liquids, heavy pans, sharp knives, slippery floors and more. Your feet are at risk of slipping on greasy floor surfaces and being struck by heavy pots or sharp blades.
All commis chefs have to wear work shoes that are:
- Waterproof or water-resistant: protects your feet from liquids. You will be working a long shift, you cannot risk them getting wet. (Here's the difference between water resistance and waterproof)
- Slip resistant: your shoes should have durable slip resistant grip. Grease, water and sauces on the floor are dangerous slip hazards in a kitchen but you can reduce the chance of falling by wearing shoes with slip resistance.
Your shoes should be either black or white.
SFC Froggz Classic II: chef clogs with self-massaging insoles
Choosing leather work shoes or footwear with durable microfibre means they are quick to wipe down with a clean cloth after your shift has ended and they will have a longer lifespan compared to normal shoes.
Now you have your answer to ‘what should a commis chef wear for work?’ It’s time to get the uniform before your next shift.
Here is where you can find your chef shoes
At Shoes For Crews (Europe) Ltd. we have a wide selection of chef shoes. You can buy your slip resistant, water resistant and toe capped shoes from our shop:
What do you want to be after a Commis Chef? Here is the Complete Chef Jobs Guide
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