Image of chefs cooking in industrial kitchen

What Do Chefs Wear in the Kitchen?

What is a professional kitchen dress code? Kitchens at restaurants, hotels, and other commercial spaces are full of flavor, creativity, and design. However, they are also full of potential messes and danger. Chefs’ clothes help alleviate some of these issues and keep everyone looking uniform and neat.

Cooking clothes play a vital role in the comfort of chefs and their ability to perform their duties perfectly. From a hat to contain stray hairs to a sturdy apron tied expertly, every piece is chosen for comfort, efficiency, safe use, and conformity for the business. The right chef uniform shop like BlueCut offers a wide range of high-quality options that suit the most discerning restaurant owners.

Although it is still used in some establishments, the traditional tall toque and long-sleeve white jacket is not the only chef uniform style out there today. More cooks opt for modern headwear like bandanas, baseball caps, and beanies to tame their hair. Shirts, coats, and pants have also grown more comfortable and stylish. Unless the company has a strict dress code, opt for wearability with a splash of fashion.

What Do Chefs Wear While Cooking?

In the busy environment of a business kitchen, chef’s clothes matter a lot. Different eateries have different requirements based on the brand and what type of cooking happens there. However, there are some basics that are more common. Each piece is chosen for the following qualities:

  • Cleanliness – protecting food from exposure to skin, hair, and more
  • White color – easy to clean and bleach to remove food stains
  • Lightweight, breathable fabric – kitchens get hot!
  • Full-coverage – long sleeves and hats are common to protect everything

Fabric choice includes either 100% cotton or a cotton-polyester blend. Easy laundering is the most important. Breathability and long-lasting wear also top the list of essential factors. You do not want the chef’s outfit to look old or worn out after a couple of months.

Every piece should fit snugly without binding or causing discomfort. A busy kitchen with pots of food, open flames, and knives is not a place for hanging sleeves or flowing fabric. Take your time to find the right size for you and get things tailored if necessary. An apron tied over the front can help improve the sleek silhouette so shirttails do not dangle toward danger.

Chef’s Attire: Uniforms and Aprons for Each Job

First, determine the specific requirements of the company you work for when choosing a chef uniform. Next, go for the classics of toque hat, double-breasted shirt, and comfortable shoes. Finally, focus on practicality for all the points mentioned above. You can purchase these sometimes through your employer directly or from a reputable chef clothing store online or in person. These days, you do not have to limit yourself when it comes to chef uniform style. Many experts opt for other, more modern headwear and shoe styles as described below.

Chefs Top or Jacket This double-breasted design makes putting things on and taking them off after a hard day simple. It also helps with keeping clean because you will not get splatters on hard-to-wipe button plackets. This part of the kitchen uniform is usually white or another solid color. A chefs coat frequently has long sleeves for extra protection against burns, but short sleeves might offer more comfort in the heat.

Chefs Pants Long pants are necessary in a hot kitchen. Some casual locations allow knit joggers for comfort and mobility. Others insist on more traditional cotton pants. These can come in pure white, another solid color, or even a pattern that helps disguise stains. A lot of traditional yet modern uniforms come in bold black and white checks. Elastic waists make them easy and comfortable to wear. 

Custom Aprons Not every restaurant goes for custom uniform pieces, but aprons top the list of unique options. You may find one embroidered or printed with the restaurant name or the employee’s position in the kitchen: head chef, sous chef, etc. Both half-length and full-coverage aprons exist and can be found at BlueCut

People who work in large kitchens also need comfortable shoes and a protective hat to keep with a quality chef uniform. Natural, breathable materials are always best because they help keep the cooks and assistants cooler and comfortable in the hot, high-pressure settings.

What Shoes Do Chefs Wear and Why? 

Comfort is key for footwear in the kitchen. Chefs often choose shoes similar to those that nurses wear in hospitals. Why? They have the best support and all-day cushioning to keep them on their feet. No one wants aching arches and toes when the lunch rush happens. 

Many restaurants, cafes, and hotels have set uniform requirements that insist on black shoes for chefs. Some may choose white if their entire uniform matches that color. There are three main details to look for when purchasing footwear for cooks. 

  • Comfort – Chefs are on their feet all day long
  • Safety – Non-slip soles are essential
  • Hygiene – Shoes must be easy to clean and dry

These shoes are not chosen for style. They are generally boxy, rubbery, and have a smooth surface. Clogs that you can slip on and off quickly are popular, although some prefer options with closed backs. Look beyond the traditional options. Many new brands exist today that deliver exceptional results. Consider gel or padded inserts to add another layer of comfort and support.

Do Chefs Have to Wear Hats in the Kitchen?

Yes. In many places, everyone who works in the food services industry is required to cover their hair by law. This can include a hat, headscarf, bandana, or hairnet in many cases. Chefs wear hats in a variety of styles from small, short caps to tall white toques.

A toque blanche, which literally means ‘white hat’ is quite often worn by chefs at all levels. These have wide, tight bands that fit over the forehead and tall, pleated or puffed tops. This style is both practical and traditional. The full coverage helps keep stray hairs out of the food and sweat from dripping down. The tall part serves no real purpose, although it might make the main chef easier to spot in a busy kitchen. 

Chef clothes do come in a variety of colors, styles, shapes, and sizes. Different establishments have unique styles and rules about what the uniforms and aprons look like. Many are branded with an embroidered logo or name. No matter what the restaurant requires, each piece is chosen for safety, comfort, and cleanliness. 

When you need to update your cooking apparel wardrobe, shop our chef Essentials Collection. Explore our wide range of high-quality chef coats, aprons, and more.