Starting a new job in a kitchen? You need to buy the right uniform. When working in a hot and busy kitchen, you're likely to get your clothes stained by food spills and splashes on a daily basis. Marinara sauce always preys on chefs in clean jackets. Consult our checklist to get the right clothes and shoes you need to wear:
Chef jacket: black or white?
Choosing the right jacket to work in a kitchen isn't always easy. Most employers let you wear either a black or white jacket but you should always ask your boss before you buy. When working as a chef, a white chef jacket is at great risk of being attacked by bolognese or soup. That's why some chefs prefer black but they can also be at risk of cream cheese, flour or sugar. It feels like you can't win.
The most important thing to remember when buying a jacket is to make sure it's loose and made of a breathable material like cotton to help you keep cool during a long shift. Working around hot food and working fast to get orders out, can make you feel hot and sweaty, that's why a lightweight top helps to keep you feeling cooler throughout your long shift.
When buying your jacket, try to buy one with a pen pocket on the arm sleeve or chest. As you're constantly on your feet, it's helpful to have a pocket to carry a pen, for when you need to urgently write a note or edit an order. You don't want to be scrambling around for a pen when you're rushing to get the first course out on time.
Pants: black, checked or... striped?
Once again it's advisable to ask your employers before you buy a pair of checked or striped chef pants. Some employers may find them unprofessional whilst others don't mind. With all colours and designs of chef pants, make sure to invest in pants that are loose and baggy as you want an outfit that supports your mobility and gives you ventilation.
Cargo pants with pockets along the legs are helpful for filling with important things like pens and clean tasting spoons. Working in a kitchen isn't like working in an office, you need to carry your essentials with you.
Kitchen hat or hair nets?
If you have long hair it's important you follow the health and safety regulations to keep your hair tied back. You're already working hard in the kitchen without having to face the embarrassment when a customer sends their food back because there is a hair - your hair! Check with your employer beforehand but there are many hats you can choose from.
- Toque blanche (french, for white hat) - the hat everyone thinks of when they try to describe what a chef looks like. The white hat is a popular favourite and keeps your hair out of your eyes.
- Skull cap - shaped like a cake tin, the skull cap is ideal for short but overgrown hair as it rests nicely on the top of your head and reaches your ears.
- Mob cap - a looser hat with an elastic opening so you can tie back long hair and stuff it into your hat. This hat covers your entire hairline.
- Head scarf - ideal for long and short hair, the scarf is like a large neckerchief which ties around your forehead and can be tied at the back of your head.
- Hair Net - quick and simple, the hair net can seem a little dull compared to the toque blanche but it gets the job done. It's always easy to keep some spare hairnets in a pocket for the day you forget to bring your hat.
A small handkerchief is not a necessary requirement when working in a kitchen but it's a helpful piece of material to keep in your pocket. As you're working in a hot environment, you can use your handkerchief to wipe away sweat. Just make sure to wash it regularly.
To be your best at work, you need the right shoes. When working in a kitchen you are at a potential risk of slips and trips from hazardous spills on the floor. It's important to keep your feet safe, especially when there are hot pans and sharp knives being carried around.
For chefs, durable slip-resistant chef shoes are the best choice to reduce chances of falling over and protecting your feet. Clogs are a popular favourite for people working in a kitchen because they are easy to clean. Clogs by Shoes For Crews are easy to clean, durable, slip-resistant, water-resistant and offer strong support to provide extra comfort for the long hours you are stood on your feet.
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