Cut to the White: Chef’s Uniform

When the image of the classic Chef is projected we see him in this impeccable white jacket and his cap that gives him height, but do you really know the meaning and function of each garment?

The origin of the chef’s jacket, is uncertain, there are more legends than real data. One of the stories tells that in an international cooking contest in 1924 in France, a group of Filipino chefs came in with a uniform weaved to the front, which is called “borang tagalog” and from there was born the inspiration of what we know today as Filipina or kitchen uniform.

What we know is the origin of the use of white and caps, since many theorists agree that by the sixteenth century the cooks were persecuted and murdered by their free thought, So they sought refuge in the monasteries where they performed in what they knew best how to do, cook, but camouflaged wearing  the religious gray robes. Over the years in 1800 chef Marie-Antoine Carême considered that a change of style was necessary which would better represent the work of the kitchen by wearing white clothes and a cap that denoted the status of each cook.

What is certain is that over the years has become the uniform used by preference in the cuisines of the world, although it’s not mandatory in shops, it is in cooking schools.

The jacket represents the neatness of the kitchen and reflects the organized work of the cook, a dirty and stained uniform shows the lack of order and neglect of details.

Uniform Construction

The double layer of fabric at the front helps to separate the body from the high temperatures of the stoves also represents an extra layer of separation between boiling liquids and the skin of the cook. The buttons are not just an ornament, they help remind the cook that he is too close to the surfaces of the stove or tables when they sound by the contact.

Some models have pockets in the upper arm that are used to store the test teaspoon, tweezers or some other small instrument that is always needed at hand.

The Cap

Usually we think of the pillar type high cap but there are 4 types of cap in the cooks.

  • Tubular Cap: Being a hollow cylinder helps a better transpiration of the skull, although originally it was the cap that used exclusively the Main Chef to denote its status on the others.
  • Viscose Cap: This type helps contain the hair in a much more organized way especially useful for men and women with long hair as the ribbons in the back help make a pigtail that keeps hair under control.
  • Bandana: A very popular option today as these can have the design, color and even a wide variety of colors allowing the cook to reflect a little of his personality in the uniform but still respecting hygiene standards.
  • Mushroom Cap: This one has also been very popular in the films and usually we see them in the representations of the bakers. It fulfills the same function of containing the hair but this time on the head hidden by the shape of the cap.

 Apron

Finally the apron is completely optional, there are kitchens that do not use them and others that can vary from the apron with or without breast, its function is to offer another layer of protection for the cook.

At the moment the cooks are freer as far as the clothes, some use Philippines with colors and design representing them, others even wear only shirts with a logo. But the important thing is always to keep the uniform neat and the kitchen organized.

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