The origins of the Chef Jacket are credited to the French chef, Marie-Antoine Careme. In 1822, he sketched two chefs in uniform, to depict what he thought was the ideal look for a chef, to instill a sense of professionalism in the industry. In the late 1800s, this all-white uniform became more commonplace. Today, many chefs still wear a modern take on this timeless tradition.

Throughout history white chef jackets have been associated with prestige, expertise, and cleanliness. At one stage colored chef jacket buttons noted the hierarchy of the kitchen – qualified and high-level chefs wore black buttons, whereas low-level cooks or apprentices had white buttons. Occasionally, colored buttons signified a chef’s specific area of expertise.

Today, chef jackets have come a long way from traditional white. These days chefs can choose different colors and styles in chef jackets, pants, and aprons to create their own individual look or a cohesive look across their whole team – both in the kitchen and front of the house. It is also very popular to personalize chef jackets by adding branding (logos) and/or names.

Do Chef Jacket Colours have a Meaning?

Traditionally Chef Jackets have always been white, in part as a symbol of cleanliness and professionalism, but to also help reflect heat in the kitchen. Today, white jackets are still popular for the same reasons, but these days, black, denim, grey, and a few other colors are just as popular.

Some restaurants might designate a color scheme to match their branding or to create a hierarchy in the kitchen, for example, having the head chef and main cooks wear white chef jackets and prep cooks wear black chef jackets. Some may choose traditional white chef jackets as it signifies professionalism and cleanliness, whereas others may choose black chef jackets to make a bold statement for an open kitchen venue.

However, for most chefs – the color and style of their chef jacket is a personal choice – what looks the best and feels the most comfortable to tackle their busy schedule.

What about Chef Pant Colours?

Originally Chef Pants were also white as was the entire uniform, but today, traditional check and black are the most common colors. Traditional check chef pants are designed in a black and white check or houndstooth pattern poly/cotton material, which helps hide or camouflage food and grease stains. This pattern makes it hard for the eye to see possible stains easily. Black chef pants are now just as popular. The poly/cotton fabric construction makes them fade-resistant – so black remains black.

The style and color are most often the chef’s personal choice, but sometimes are part of a chosen staff uniform.

Add Colour with Chef Aprons

The original chef uniform also consisted of a white waist or bib apron and later this transitioned to the popular navy or black striped chef apron. Today, however, the choice of chef aprons is endless – different colors, fabrics, and styles. Many chefs still choose the navy or black chef aprons with a thin white stripe – especially over traditional white chef jackets. Others may choose apron colors and styles to complement the branding and decor of the venue, for a point of difference, or just their favorite look.

Why is White?

White is an indication of professionalism and cleanliness. White also reflects heat in the most efficient way, making you feel cooler and cooler, which is a crucial aspect in a warm kitchen.

Dressing in white in the kitchen isn’t easy. There’s always the possibility that something will get spilled or splashed on, so imagine that it is difficult to go through your workday or evening with no stains on your clothing. The stains are naturally more noticeable when wearing white, but it also makes it easier to identify and eliminate spots as swiftly as you can.

A white apron with a fold and tied in front provides additional protection from scorching and burning. Tieing the apron to the front lets it be removed quickly and changed when needed.

White also symbolizes the chef’s dedication to hygiene. Cooking delicious food for people is a difficult job. White attire signifies to your clients that the food you’re making for them is cooked in the safest and most clean manner that is possible.

Who is the person who wears white aprons?

Nowadays, chefs can choose from an array of colors and designs of aprons available to pick from. Some chefs choose white, whether in the waist apron fashion or the more well-known style of bib apron in restaurants that offer fine dining. Pastry chefs are also still more comfortable with white since working with flour won’t appear as it does with colors. Chefs in trade and culinary schools are also required to wear a white chef uniform that includes the waist apron in white while they learn to become full-time cooks and chefs.

Certain restaurants and cafes are also using white aprons for kitchen, front-of-house staff, baristas, and bartenders. Aprons made of white are a straightforward elegant, modern and professional option. Aprons made of white can also be a good option for those who want to incorporate branding using the use of embroidery, or printing on screen.

Richard Maxwell

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