From Aprons To Whites: The Ultimate Guide To Chef Clothing

From Aprons To Whites: The Ultimate Guide To Chef Clothing

Chef’s clothing has been carefully designed tallow a co offer maximum comfort and breathability in the kitchen while protecting chefs from hot ovens or any other potential hazards. The traditional chef’s uniform was created centuries ago and remains a staple in all kitchens. If you are looking to learn more about chef clothing and where to find high-quality chef clothes, then keep on reading for this ultimate guide to chef clothing.

The history of chef clothing

The chef’s uniform has become a well-known symbol of status, influence and of course, delicious food.


The first known sketch of the chef’s uniform was done in the early 1820s and consisted of a drawing that depicted two chefs. While it was created centuries ago, the chef uniform remains similar to what the average chef wears today; a double-breasted coat with long sleeves, an apron tied around the waist and a tall hat.


The French chef Marie-Antoine Careme was the genius behind the sketch: he claimed that just as doctors and lawyers were expected to dress in a certain way, chefs should too.


However, while some people say that he was the inventor of the chef uniform, others will say it was someone else who standardised it and put it into practice.


By the late 1870s, the chef's uniform had become a reality. Auguste Escoffier created the uniform and made it a mandatory practice for his employees to wear it, creating a professional-looking team.


While a professional appearance was a key factor that went into the uniform’s design, it is not the only consideration that was made when creating this uniform. The chef’s uniform was actually designed with lots of things in mind, from safety and cleanliness to status and class.


Here are the different components of a chef’s uniform and why they were designed the way they are:

The hat

Possibly one of the most well-recognised pieces of the chef uniform, the chef hat holds a lot of symbolic meaning.


Historically, the wearing of the toque blanche indicated the status of a chef in the kitchen. The higher the chef’s hat was, the more senior they were. Furthermore, the number of pleats on the hat represented the number of recipes that the chef had mastered.


Nowadays, many chefs choose not to wear the traditional high hat anymore, but instead smaller hats, caps and bandanas. Some even opt for disposable food service hats or hairnets to protect their heads, and the safety of food, instead.


The jacket

The jacket was cleverly designed to offer protection for chefs against hot splashes and any other potential hazards that lurk in the kitchen.


The jacket is usually double-breasted as this provides an additional layer of protection. It also means that should a spill occur on your jacket, you can simply switch the breast around to hide marks and ensure you are clean just in time for service. The material is often made from heavy cotton or a polyester and cotton mix as this delivers protection without compromising on breathability.


The colour chosen for the traditional chef’s jacket was originally white as both Careme and Escoffier believed that white was the best colour to deflect heat, helping chefs to stay cool in a hot steamy kitchen.  They thought that the food presented better against a white background and showed that the food was prepared in a safe and pristine environment.


Another interesting fact about the traditional chef's jacket is that the chef buttons used to be used to symbolise different ranks in the kitchen. The silver and gold buttons usually represented a higher ranking in the kitchen.


If you are looking for a wide range of high-quality chef’s jackets for everyday use in any kitchen setting, at London Linen, we have everything you need to create a team of professional-looking chefs.


The trousers

Just like the chef jacket, chef trousers help to prevent contaminants from everyday clothes from getting into the food. They are also loose-fitting to assist with movement and breathability and are made from a thick material to help minimise the dangers of hot spills.


Traditionally, the chef's trousers were designed with a checkered pattern. The hound tooth pattern was chosen because it uses a combination of white and black - two very important colours for a chef’s attire.


White was necessary to symbolise cleanliness while black was used because the combination of both colours seamlessly hides stains.


Chef trousers are typically made of cotton because cotton insulates the body against the intense heat of an oven and shields the lower half of the body from the hot liquids that occasionally splatter while a chef is working in the kitchen.


Nowadays, loose-fitting trousers in block colours are commonly worn in the kitchen. If you are looking for breathable, loose-fitting trousers that keep your chefs protected while looking smart, then look no further than London Linen. We offer a range of professional-looking drawstring trousers perfect for your team of chefs.


The apron

An apron is a key part of a chef’s uniform because it protects the chef’s legs from hot spills, steam and oil.


These aprons usually end just below the knee, so the chef can quickly move around the kitchen without getting tangled in the fabric. Typically, aprons are white, black, or striped to keep in line with the rest of the uniform.


Today, the choice of aprons is endless, coming in various fabrics and designs, like the wide range of aprons offered at London Linen. Our high-quality aprons are available in an array of colours, including olive, mocha, black, white and pinstriped.


The shoes

Chefs stand on their feet for hours at a time so having the correct footwork is key. Shoes must be comfortable and well-fitted while having good shock absorption. This will relieve some of the pressure on the bottom of the feet from standing on the hard floor.


For safety reasons, shoes must be non-slip with steel toecaps. This limits the risk of injury if someone drops heavy equipment or hot liquid as it keeps your feet protected.


Many chefs also wear shoes without laces to limit the risk of tripping over an untied lace.


Napkins and teatowels

When dining out in a restaurant, you might’ve spotted the chef with a teatowel hung over their shoulder. Napkins and teatowels are so frequently used by chefs that they may as well be a part of the chef uniform.


First invented in Ancient Greece by the Spartans, napkins were once edible. In those days, they ate everything by hand. That led to the common use of a soft dough to clean off the fingers.


This eventually evolved into paper napkins and now, more commonly used in luxurious restaurants, cloth and linen napkins. Linen cloths and teatowels are regularly used by chefs to handle hot plates and protect their hands from getting burnt.

At London Linen, we offer a range of linen cloths and napkins in a variety of styles so you can find one that perfectly matches your restaurant.


London Linen: Restaurant uniforms and luxury linens

If you are looking for the finest luxury linen to take your restaurant to the next level, then look no further than London Linen.


At London Linen, we offer a range of high-quality chef clothing items including chef aprons, chef trousers, cloths, napkins, chef jackets and so much more.


We have been serving the kitchen industry so many years and have learned the things that matter most to our customers. We know exactly what matters to chefs - what they care about and what they need for their uniforms.


we provide quality linen across the whole range of restaurants that the capital boasts, from casual dining to fine dining, from café deli to Michelin-starred establishments. We have developed a range of products that are both traditional and contemporary and service methods that complement and enhance our customer’s experience.


For additional information on the wide range of services we offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly team here at London Linen today. We are always on hand to answer any questions or queries you may have.


Published on: Feb 13, 2023

Quote Enquiry

Contact us today to make an enquiry about kitchen linen hire in London or restaurant and table linens services. As the most reliable dry cleaning services in London, we can help you achieve your best.

Phone 020 8574 5569 Email Get a quote

Change today. Change the future.


learn more