It is a well-known fact that a professional kitchen is probably one of the most stressful and fast-paced environments in which to work. You've seen it before - scenes of a frantic kitchen with cutting, peeling, frying, screaming and even the odd fire or two. But during all the chaos one thing remains a constant source of distinction and professionalism, and that's the ubiquitous chef's uniform.
Most chefs don their uniform with a sense of pride. Many modern chef's wear the traditional white double-breasted jacket, a plain or patterned pants and a tall chef's hat. This attire first made an appearance when persecuted chefs donned a similar outfit in Orthodox Church monasteries in an effort to blend in with the priests and escape imprisonment or persecution for their freethinking in the kitchen. What's more interesting to know is that each facet of a chef's uniform has its practical reasons as well. Let's take a closer look at the significance of the chef's uniform:
Chef's Coat - The chef's coat is most often white and signifies cleanliness. Its practical use is that the thickness of the double breast protects the chef from the heat coming from the stove and oven. It also protects the cook from splattering oils and boiling liquid and helps to conceal dirt and stains when it is overturned. The knotted fabric buttons used on traditional chef's coats are able to endure several washes as well as contact with hot items without melting. The chef's jackets of today are as trendy as they are sensible. As the industry evolves and becomes less traditional, chefs have their own ideas in mind when it comes to their uniform and has turned to companies like Chef Works Inc.to design stylish yet practical uniforms that are both comfortable and fashion-forward.
Chef Pants - Chef pants are traditionally checkered black and white. This design had one main aim - to camouflage any dirt that may be brought about while working in the kitchen. These days, chef pants come in a variety of colours, although it usually features darker tones to continue its practical use. The pants are usually loose fitting, relaxed and informal, which enables movement and assists in keeping the chef cool while on the job. Generally, in the kitchen, the head/executive chef wears black pants while the rest of the chefs wear dark blue or checkered trousers.
Chef's Apron - The apron serves the same purpose as all aprons - to protect one's clothes from food splatters and general mess while working in the kitchen. Many types of chef aprons exist in the market, including waist, bistro, bib, cobbler, tuxedo and shop aprons, although the most popular aprons seen on professional chefs are the 4-way chef waist apron or the bib apron.
Chef's Hat - No self-respecting chef will feel complete without a chef's hat, or toque, which rounds off the entire ensemble quite nicely. But this unique hat serves a purpose as the height of the chef's hat indicates the chef's rank in the kitchen. There are many stories about the true origin of the chef's hat, including that the creases in the hat signified the number of ways to cook an egg. Another one comes from the 19th century when Chef Boucher cooked for the Prince of Talleyrand and insisted that everyone in his kitchen where a white hat for sanitary reasons - it kept the hair up and out of the food and absorbed any sweat formulating on the brow.
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