Uniform

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The Classical Professional Cooks/Chefs Uniform.

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Take notes while going through this program. You have plenty of time, so read carefully and slowly.

AT THE END OF THIS LESSON YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO:

Identify and describe the parts of a classical professional cook's uniform.
Recognize the safety reasons for wearing a full cook's uniform.
Recognize the hygienic reasons for wearing a uniform.
Recognize the historical reasons for wearing a cook's traditional uniform
A COOK'S UNIFORM IS WORN:

FOR SAFETY REASONS TO:

Protect the body against burns from boiling hot liquids.

Protect the body from heat rays from ovens and grills.

FOR HYGIENIC REASONS TO:

Be easily laundered look clean and fresh and appear smart.

FOR HISTORICAL REASONS TO:

Show professional respect and portray a commercial image.

A CLASSICAL PROFESSIONAL COOKS UNIFORM CONSISTS OF:

A cook's white hat.

A white necktie.

An optional nametag.

A long sleeved double cuffed double breasted white jacket.

White or black buttons.

A dish cloth or "torchon". (torchon in French)

A white knee length apron.

Check trousers or slacks.

Sturdy slip resistant shoes.

GROOMING.

A PROFESSIONAL COOK ALSO NEEDS TO CARE ABOUT APPEARANCE:

Jewellery (except a wedding ring) must not be worn in the kitchen.

Heavy make up and nail polish must not be worn in a kitchen.

Strong scents should not be used.

A hairnet should be worn if the hair is below the collar line.

THE HISTORY OF THE UNIFORM:


It is thought that after the fall of the Byzantine Empire nearly six hundred years ago the imperial chefs who sought refuge in monasteries in Italy adopted the black habits of the monks.

During that era the chefs also decided that their clothes should look different from those worn by the real monks and abbots and changed their habit to a white garment.

Today the only remaining symbol of that habit is the hat which represents the Bishops Mitre.

The current internationally used cooks uniform has mainly evolved over the past hundred years and comes particularly from Europe.

THE HAT IS A SYMBOL: The cook's hat is like a badge.

The chef's hat identifies a person who is learning to cook or a person who has learnt the skills to call themselves a professional cook/chef.

The skills and knowledge could have been learnt from a college, institution, cookery course apprenticeship in commercial cookery, or from good working experience over a number of years in a commercial kitchen under the guidance of a qualified chef.

People working in a kitchen without wearing a cook's hat show a lack of professionalism and training.

Traditional cooks/chefs hats are tall and indicate fully trained.

Alternatively, white or black caps are worn at school or college and usually indicate that training is not complete, or by cooks working in a kitchen. Genuine chefs wear a traditional chef's hat when in front of the public.

THE HAT IS DESIGNED TO KEEP THE HAIR CLEAN AND HEALTHY BY:

Protecting hair from the smoke and oil in the kitchen.

Allowing air to circulate on top of the head.

Preventing loose hairs from falling onto the food.

Absorbing perspiration from the forehead.

A professional chef will always wear a hat and demand that other cooks in the kitchen wear the traditional cooks hat.

THE TRADITIONAL COOKS HAT IS TALL AND WHITE:

The only other acceptable colour of a cook's tall hat is black. The black cook's hat is awarded by chefs associations to famous chef's recognising excellence and achievement in the field of cookery.

This honour recognises the chef as a "Chef of Chefs".

A person who has earned the right to wear a black hat should be highly respected.

It is very unprofessional for a cook to wear a black hat without being officially awarded the right by the local chefs guild.

THE NECKTIE: The necktie is usually white.

The necktie is a large triangular light cloth which is folded and worn around the neck as one would knot a normal tie.

The necktie was originally worn to absorb perspiration and guard the neck from drafts in hot underground kitchens.

Modern air conditioned kitchens make the necktie out of date, however the necktie is still worn by professional cooks as a symbol and respect for the trade.

You can identify chefs who are fully trained and passionate about their skills, they wear tall white hats and a white necktie.

Untrained or apathetic chefs wear caps and no necktie and use the excuse that the tall hat and necktie is old fashioned. This is more the case in Australia than overseas.

THE NAMETAG:

An optional name tag may be worn on the jacket, especially where the cook/chef meets the customer.

The name tag is worn on the left.

A common practice is to have the chefs name embroidered on the coat.

Some hotels issue their cooks with a company nametag which also shows the company logo.

Many logos appear on jackets showing support for various organisations, this is quiet acceptable.

THE WHITE COOKS COAT:

The coat protects the chest and arms from the heat of stoves and splashes from boiling liquids. To achieve this the coat must be double breasted and long sleeved and always be buttoned up with the correct number of buttons. This allows for four layers of cloth between the heat source and the front of the body.

To protect the arms the sleeves should not be rolled up. The coat protects the chest and arms from the heat of stoves and splashes from boiling liquids.

To achieve this the coat must be double breasted and long sleeved and always be buttoned up with the correct number of buttons.

This allows for four layers of cloth between the heat source and the front of the body.

THE APRON: Is white and rectangular in shape.

The apron is designed to protect the lower body from accidentally spilled hot liquids and is worn from the waist to just below the knee.

The top of the apron is folded over and tied around the waist.

The apron tapes are then tucked under the fold.

The apron is easily and quickly changed. This allows the cook to put on a clean apron before meeting customers or entering the dining room.

THE TORCHON: PRONOUNCED "TOR-SHUN".

The torchon is also called a rubber or tea towel. The torchon (which is French for dish cloth) is used to wipe a dish clean or protect the hands while handling hot pots and pans.

Cooks need two torchon with at least one neatly folded and hung on the apron string at all times.

The dish cloth must be kept dry especially if handling a hot pot. Avoid using old cloths which may have holes as they are dangerous.

THE TROUSERS OR SLACKS:

Traditional cook's pants have a small black or blue and white check pattern. There are other stylish coats and pants with very noticeable large square patterns pants and trendy cut coats.

This style of uniform is mainly suitable for use in very flashy or flamboyant kitchens .

These trendy uniforms are not generally accepted by serious professional chefs, institutes or colleges.

The most common uniform style worn in commercial kitchens still is the internationally recognized classical design and colour.

SHOES:

Shoes should be sturdy, provide support and protect the feet.

Wearing the wrong footwear in the kitchen can lead to accidents or to medical problems with feet later in life.

Cooks who do not heed the warning to wear supportive strong shoes will one day regret they did not listen to valuable advice.

The features of good shoes are:

The shoes have a protective toe, do not absorb water or fat and have a slip resistant sole.

STANDING ON HARD FLOORS ALL DAY AND OFTEN WALKING ON WET OR GREASY SURFACES REQUIRE COOKS TO WEAR VERY GOOD SHOES.

Good shoes support the ankle, are very comfortable and allow plenty of room for the foot.

Sandshoes, sneakers, sandals, or thongs are not safe in a kitchen and should not be worn at all.

Good shoes, like the rest of the uniform, should be easy to clean.

Always wear socks or stockings.

A QUALITY COOK'S UNIFORM IS DESIGNED TO:

Protect the body against injuries from accidents.

Absorb perspiration while working in a hot kitchen.

Be light and comfortable while working in a hot and steamy environment.

Look smart, be easily washed and ironed and hygienically clean.

Fit the body by not being too big or too small and tight

THE UNIFORM:

The coat apron and necktie should be changed at least once a day.

The hat and trousers are changed as soon as they become dirty.

The cook should change into the uniform at their place of work.

The uniform must not be worn in public areas like buses and trains.

The uniform should be washed and ironed before wearing again.

The uniform should be worn over white light underwear.

THE EXECUTIVE CHEF:

Executive chefs from the larger hotels may wear black trousers and sometimes a black necktie.

Often the executive chef in larger properties will not wear an apron or a hat when meeting clients.

The executive chef usually has his or her name embroidered on the coat.

FORMAL CHEFS WEAR: The chef at a function for chefs.

Chefs often need to attend medal presentations and other cooking functions in chef's formal dress.

Two popular formal dress codes exist:

Either a open neck coat with a white shirt and black bow tie. Or The dress of an executive chef with the hat only worn when necessary.

In 2008 striped bib aprons and caps are popular and while appropriate they do not market a chefs image.

First written in 1990 - George Hill

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