A Guide to Chef’s Clothing: Different Types, Headwear, Shoes and More
When you run a food establishment, it’s important that your staff always look presentable. Whether it's a fine-dining restaurant offering only the best service or a vibrant bistro with a relaxed atmosphere, ensuring that your employees look smart and professional is key - and this includes the chefs in the kitchen, too. All members of staff should reflect your brand at all times, and this means looking the part.
Not only is chef’s clothing designed to look smart and presentable, but it is also practical and protects staff from kitchen hazards. Buying chef’s clothing can be somewhat overwhelming; there are so many different styles, colours and types to choose from - how do you choose the best one for your establishment? From different types of chef’s jackets to aprons, footwear and trousers, buying chef’s clothing can be a minefield.
For your convenience, we’ve put together a guide to the different types of chef’s clothing available and how to find the right clothing for your restaurant.
Types of kitchen restaurant uniforms
Finding the right chef jacket can make all the difference in the kitchen - from keeping you cooler for longer to improving personal comfort. When looking for the right chef’s jacket, there are a few things you should look out for:
When buying a chef jacket, fabric and breathability are important factors to consider. For chefs who work a lot and need to wash their clothing daily, it’s best to opt for an easy-care jacket that is lightweight. A denser fabric weight is generally more hardwearing and can look more professional. High-quality chef jackets have dedicated air ventilation or moisture wicking panels to ensure your skin can breathe easily and for maximum comfort.
Style and comfort
The type of jacket you choose can depend on the type of establishment you run. For formal restaurants, traditional, thicker cut chef coats finished with French cuffs may be more appropriate. However, you may prefer a casual, lightweight style for more casual establishments.
Double or single breasted
Executive or senior chefs often wear a double breasted jacket so that they can stay presentable at all times. A double breasted style allows you to quickly flap over the dirty side of your chef jacket so that the clean side is showing. If you work in an open kitchen or are customer facing, a double breasted jacket is ideal. In addition, double breasted jackets provide extra protection from splashes and burns in the kitchen.
On the other hand, single breasted jackets are lighter and generally more breathable. Single breasted jackets are typically well-suited to chefs who work less or have roles that are less messy than the conventional chef.
A few other things to look out for include:
- Look for jackets that are easy to fasten, such as rubber buttons or studs
- Short-sleeved jackets for hot kitchen environments
- Branding and colour - make sure that your chef jackets reflect your brand and match the colours of your restaurant.
Chef’s trousers should be comfortable, breathable and practical. The trousers should protect the clothing worn underneath and allow chefs to easily and freely move around in the kitchen. There are plenty of design and style options to choose from to reflect your brand and restaurant. From traditional checks to gingham in grey and blue, there are plenty of designs that look professional.
Some chefs choose to wear aprons over their chef’s jacket or an apron instead of a chef jacket. When searching for the right aprons for your establishment, make sure you look for durable, practical materials. Aprons will need to be washed often, so it’s important that they wash well and are easy to care for. Different styles include:
- Pinafore or bib. The most popular option, this type of apron has an upper bib and lower panel to protect the top and bottom. They tie easily at the waste and fasten at the neck.
- Waist. This type of apron is typically used for waiter and waitress service; they easily fasten around the waist without a bib.
- Short bistro. Short bistro aprons are short, have a pocket and tie easily at the back.
- Long bistro. This type of apron is ankle length and ties at the back.
- Mid length. Mid aprons are mid length and tie at the back.
- Money pouches. This apron comes with a built-in zip pocket which is perfect for keeping tips safe.
To ensure that the kitchen stays hygienic, professional and clean, it’s important that excellent hygiene standards are practised. This means keeping long hair swept up and out of the way to avoid contamination with food. Long hair should always be tied back and covered with a suitable head cover.
There are a range of head coverings to choose from to ensure that your kitchen meets the food safety standards and hair is kept well out of the way:
- Mob caps. Mob caps are popular options in the kitchen; these round hats are elasticated to ensure that they stay firmly on the head and keep hair swept neatly away.
- Trilby hats. Most commonly used in catering, trilby hats keep the head covered and ensure hair remains out of the face. You can wear a mob cap underneath a trilby for extra hygiene.
- Chef’s hats and toques. These options are traditional and perfectly complement the classic chef’s uniform. You can choose from tallboys (elongated traditional chef’s hats) or toques (which are elasticated and have a mushroom appearance).
Chef’s spend a lot of time on their feet and therefore it is essential that they wear comfortable, lightweight and practical footwear. The kitchen can become slippy at times, so it’s also important to invest in shoes that are safe and durable. Look out for shoes that have a high-quality sole and a heel with a shock absorber for maximum comfort. You should also opt for shoes with non-slip soles in case of any spills or hazards in the kitchen. Shoes that are machine washable can be very useful and are generally easier to keep clean and presentable. Certain footwear is designed to alleviate back, knee and leg pain, so it’s worth looking out for these too.
London Linen: chef’s wear and dry cleaning services
London Linen offers a comprehensive range of chefs wear perfectly tailored to the needs of those working in busy kitchens. Throughout our many years servicing kitchens, we have learnt what is important to our customers and what makes the perfect kitchen uniform, combing style, quality and comfort.
We’ve taken the time to understand exactly what matters to chefs and, from there, developed a product range that we are proud of. We have taken into consideration comfort, functionality, design, safety, temperature and choice, producing a range that excels in each and every one of these areas.
Our chefs wear product range includes chef’s jackets, aprons, chef’s trousers, cloths, towels and hot towels. We have a passion for perfection, and we’re confident that our product range will exceed your expectations and requirements.
At London Linen, we’re proud to provide expert linen services. We provide quality linen for a range of restaurants, from casual dining to fine dining. Our range of products are both traditional and contemporary; we are dedicated to adding fine service and impeccable standards to the dining experience.
For more information about our services, from our quality range of chefs wear to restaurant table linen, visit our website today.