The tradition of white Chefs jackets are recognized world wide for representing high quality with highly skilled food preparation and taste experiences. But where does this tradition come from and why is it recognized world wide?
Who created the idea of the chefs uniform?
Chef Marie-Antoine Carême (8 June 1784 – 12 January 1833) created the idea of the chef uniform. He was an early practitioner of grande cuisine (or haute cuisine), and is often referred to as "The King of Chefs, and the Chef of Kings". Both neuveau riche of post revolution French society and international royalty enjoyed and encourage the development of grande cuisine. This spread Carême's name and cuisine around the world - he was so well known that he is often seen as the first celebrity chef!
Some sources say that Carême selected white to represent cleanliness, and to put the expectation on chefs to focus on keeping themselves clean with exceptional physical skills.
Mass implementation of Carême's concept.
The Angelica Uniform Group began mass producing white chefs uniforms in 1878, thereby making these uniforms easily available to many. Auguste Escoffier created the brigade de cuisine or “kitchen brigade”, and standardized and instituted the white chefs uniform in all his restaurants.
The standardized chef uniform is easily recognizable to Carême's original sketch!
Elements of the chefs jacket exist for very specific purposes.
• If splash or spill does happen on the jacket, the double breasted design can be reversed, covering the stain.
• Not only does it look pristine and authoritative, white also reflects heat.
• The heavy fabric and long sleeves protect against hot spills, splashes and steam.
• Knotted buttons won't chip or melt like plastic buttons will, and make for a quicker undoing if hot oil is spilled and the jacket needs to come off immediately.
• A double breasted as noted above can be used to cover stains, and also as extra protection while carrying large pots, pans and plates from the stove.
• Usually black or houndstooth breathable fabric with a drawstring waist.
• A white half apron protects from stains and hot spills, and is easy to swap out if it gets too dirty!
The Chef Hat
• A chef hat is traditionally known as a toque.
• Did you know that the pleats in a chefs hat denote the number of ways that chef is able to prepare eggs?
• The taller the hat, the more experience the chef has!