Whether you are actually a chef by employment or just a cooking aficionado at home, you might want to have the right clothes to look the part.
Let’s start with the most obvious piece of chef’s clothing: the apron. Not only is it considered a classic element of the professional chef uniform, it’s extremely practical in the kitchen.
The main purpose of wearing an apron is to protect your clothes, and to give you a surface to wipe your hands when you need to. Some designs have pockets too, for those vital cooking tools you need to have with you at all times. Or maybe just to carry your phone. Cotton aprons are great for a general cover-all, but you can invest a little more on better materials if you want more protection in the kitchen. A rubber or plastic apron helps more when you cook with a lot of liquid, and a leather one adds extra protection from sharp blades and even grilling sparks.
For a little extra protection and more formality, you may consider replacing the apron with a chef jacket instead. It’s just not quite as easy to swap out a dirty one for a clean one like it is with an apron.
You might not consider a hat to be an “essential item” but it is definitely part of the uniform and does play a role. There are a few different styles, from the stereotypical white hat with the puff on top, to a more modern pillbox or skull-cap type of hat.
The hat adds a little formality to the uniform, regardless of what style you prefer. It also helps keep your hair out of the way, and out of the food.
The last common part of a good chef uniform is a comfortable pair of pants. Though there aren’t a lot of specific requirements for pants, its common to wear them loose and baggy. Mainly this allows for a lot of movement in a busy kitchen when you have to shift from station to station quickly.
Colors and Styles
Now, that covers the main 3 clothing items but there are many different ways to dress up these basic pieces. White is a very classic chef look except that is does show stains extremely easily and will look dirty in no time. More and more modern chefs are choosing a black look instead. It’s just as professional looking and it hides stains far better.
Black and white checks or a houndstooth pattern is another traditional one for chef clothing, particularly the pants. Of course, you can always show off your individuality and go for something more colorful or with any patterns you’d like.
As for materials, cotton is the most common for chef’s clothing, except for some of the specialty aprons (which we’ve already mentioned above). Anything would do really, as long as it washes up easily and is comfortable to wear in a potentially hot kitchen.