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gfron1

Clothing Etiquette for Chefs v. Non-Chefs

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As LB Howes said above, it all has to do with how one defines "chef." The popular perception for instance is that graduates of culinary schools are chefs, which as most of us know is bunk. Another example is myself-I cook at a certain level, and most civilians regard me as a chef. Well, I'm not currently in a management position, but on the other hand, when people see me after work at the grocery store or whatever and ask me if I'm a chef, I usually say , yes I am. Because by their definition, I really am-in that I can take all kinds of raw unprocessed ingredients that many people have never even heard of and transform them into beautiful delicious food. And that is the essence of a chef in this day and age. So I certainly do not feel the least bit guilty about wearing chef coats, pants or what have you, and NOBODY who is a dedicated professional cook-or baker, for that matter-should, either.

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It's your kitchen. You could probably even wear doctor's scrubs.

Hey, I sometimes do.

Well see, you're a doctor so you're allowed. One of the other cook/chefs at another dining program( she trained me) wears scrubs and I find it really unappealing. I don't think its attractive at all. Especially those tops that have little baby animals all over.

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It's funny how so often it's all about style. Much more so than it being about the substance of the thing. But style can often define substance.

When I first was a professional chef, I loved that chef coat. Even though they didn't have them in my size back then. I looked rather smurfish, with all those rolled up sleeves and floppy bulkiness enveloping me. Now, of course, they make chef's coats (and very elegant ones, too) to fit even three and four year old children. :biggrin: (I can see them now, in front of their plastic play kitchens, trying to mimic Gordon Ramsay as the teddy bears hover, bow, and rush around making plastic little dishes of food.)

(Now there's a business opportunity not yet mined - making the traditional plastic play fruit and vegetables and eggs and such into plastic play "foodie" items. A towering stacked salad, a foam of something-or-other, little dark green leaves of plastic mesclun . . . ahhh. Start 'em young. But that's a different topic.)

Later when I was an executive chef those bulky chef's coats became tiring to me. The uniform I wanted to wear was the corporate suit. So as often as possible, I did. In certain environments, executive chefs spend a lot of time out of the kitchen not cooking but feeding the people they intend to have dine at their tables in other ways - fussing over menus, fussing over fussing over menus, fussing over how to possibly procure all the things that are needed for the menus, fussing over the cooks who are fussing over each other and the food vendors and the executive chef . . . so as often as possible, I did not wear the chef coat. It was there, I could put it on (most importantly, put it on with an apron which helps keep all that lovely food off of the rest of the clothes one wears) when I went into the kitchen, but it was not my badge of chef-ness. That resided within me somewhere, though it wanted to wear other clothes, clothes that I saw as having more potential.

Wearing those clothes, the Tahari suits and silk blouses, wearing that uniform that style, eventually became what I did wear when the next transition was made from exec chef to corp manager/VP.

Style matters. Style says substance in ways, or hints at it. It can also be a laughable thing, as when the wearer has absolutely nothing to bring to what one has draped on oneself as defining uniform.

Uniforms define vocation, and the owners of vocation are territorial. Can you do the job? Wear the uniform if you like it. There will of course be some big territorial dogs that might like to come round and bark if you're not in their pack. Bark right back. As a matter of fact, lift your leg on them if you please. :smile:

"Chef" is an action word, it is a verb as well as a title. Some people are chefs that don't use the title in daily use. I never did when I was one, my own name seemed better. The notion of hearing "Chef Karen" hollered through the kitchen seemed ludicrous. Though I know some guys like, love, the idea of hearing their name attached to "Chef" being hollered out.

Rob, wear the chef's coat in your commercial kitchen. If it looks good, if it gives the right impression for what you are doing at this moment, if it keeps the rest of your clothes from being spattered with food - there's no law that says you shouldn't. You should.

Just remember, the dog that pisses the highest is top dog. Aim high. :wink:

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At long last, here I am...

gallery_41282_4708_61430.jpg

While I've taught many classes in the store kitchen since this topic was started, they had all been focused on kids or were topics that I thought a chefs jacket would have been overkill. But today I did my chocolate tasting class and donned the jacket. No one screamed "fraud!" so I guess you all were right :smile: Thanks.

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At long last, here I am...

gallery_41282_4708_61430.jpg

While I've taught many classes in the store kitchen since this topic was started, they had all been focused on kids or were topics that I thought a chefs jacket would have been overkill.  But today I did my chocolate tasting class and donned the jacket.  No one screamed "fraud!" so I guess you all were right  :smile:  Thanks.

Looks very respectable.

This morning I had my pink chef's jacket out and was checking it for fit (22 lbs lighter the sucker goes around my hips now). Trying to decide if I should wear it for the class I'm teaching in Buffalo next Sunday. Only thing, I'm sure I'll look like a complete dork if I wear it with my usual apron. I'll have to look and see if I can find the apron they gave me at the Wybauw class. Of course then I'll get chocolate on the chest of my nice pink jacket.

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At long last, here I am...

gallery_41282_4708_61430.jpg

You look like a man who really knows what he is doing. Thanks for the thread on proper threads, I am inspired to upgrade out of my bathrobe and boxer-briefs!


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I think you look great and certainly very professional.

This thread reminds me of a story a very good friend tells of his trip to England ten or twelve years ago.

He has been a butcher/meat cutter, owner of an abbatoir, specialty sausage company and etc., and of course he had intros to several places he wanted to visit.

He was shocked when he walked into the first place on his list to visit and found several gentlemen in long white "doctor" coats over white shirts with bow ties, and wearing derby hats.

He said that he believed some of his customers, who have him slaughter their home-raised animals, would have a stroke if they found him wearing a long white coat, but especially with that derby hat.

And the bow tie.

His girlfriend said she thought he would look "cute" with a bow tie. Her only answer was a growl.

The rest of us were careful to maintain straight faces.

None of us could picture Karl, who makes a linebacker look somewhat flimsy, in a bow tie and a derby.

He does wear a cap, a Navy watch cap, while working and a Stetson at leisure. Nope, never a derby!


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I think you should sport some chef pants with chili pepper prints, a denim chef's jacket, orange clogs, and one of those cool puffy white hats.  Have you ever worn a knife belt?  You can never have enough fashion in the kitchen. :biggrin:

:laugh:

I am only offended by that cheesy looking short sleeve jacket that gordon ramsey is so fond of -YUCK!

He looks like he should be manning the fryolator in a paper hat when he puts that on

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I think you should sport some chef pants with chili pepper prints, a denim chef's jacket, orange clogs, and one of those cool puffy white hats.  Have you ever worn a knife belt?  You can never have enough fashion in the kitchen. :biggrin:

:laugh:

I am only offended by that cheesy looking short sleeve jacket that gordon ramsey is so fond of -YUCK!

He looks like he should be manning the fryolator in a paper hat when he puts that on

I've wondered about that also. It looks like the jacket worn by a dentist I used to consult....... And come to think of it, he used almost the same language. :blink:


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Several years ago...

Working at what was then considered the best Italian restaurant in this city, the chef stormed out of his office one afternoon--stark naked, with a cigarette threatening to drip ashes, to check on a sauce he had forgotten on the stove.

The sauce was fine, we were entertained, considered it appropriate behavior and got back to work.


Pick up your phone

Think of a vegetable

Lonely at home

Call any vegetable

And the chances are good

That a vegetable will respond to you

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As an enthusiastic, avid home cook, I have been offered a gift of a chef's jacket by friends/family, but have politely declined, as I would find it pretentious and smacking of a "wannabe", which I don't want to be.

It's interesting that CIA dresses their Boot Camp participants in whites, but that's probably just part of the whole vicarious experience.

However, I did see an interesting use of a chef's jacket recently at a Halloween party. The individual was dressed in a chef's jacket, with dried spaghetti tucked in the pockets, wearing one of those multi-colored knit caps with fake dreadlocks attached.

They were, of course.....a Pastafarian. :biggrin:


Mark A. Bauman

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I am only offended by that cheesy looking short sleeve jacket that gordon ramsey is so fond of -YUCK!

He looks like he should be manning the fryolator in a paper hat when he puts that on

Isn't that a dishwasher's jacket? If that is the case then it is either studied anti-snobism (the dishwasher being notionally lowest in the kitchen hierarchy) or actually a habit that has stuck.

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I am only offended by that cheesy looking short sleeve jacket that gordon ramsey is so fond of -YUCK!

He looks like he should be manning the fryolator in a paper hat when he puts that on

Isn't that a dishwasher's jacket? If that is the case then it is either studied anti-snobism (the dishwasher being notionally lowest in the kitchen hierarchy) or actually a habit that has stuck.

...or possibly it's just a comfort thing. Maybe he just doesn't give a fork what anybody thinks and wears what's comfy for him. That tends to be my view on fashion. I will respect the rules of an employer but otherwise, if I'm comfy, clean and don't look like I just spent the night in a dumpster behind McDonalds, then what anybody else thinks about what I'm wearing concerns me not at all. :biggrin:


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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As an enthusiastic, avid home cook, I have been offered a gift of a chef's jacket by friends/family, but have politely declined, as I would find it pretentious and smacking of a "wannabe", which I don't want to be.

Four years in a row I was the designated BBQ chef at a local tavern's Labor Day party. I wore a chef's toque, waist to floor white apron, chefs jacket complete with two thermometers in sleeve pocket. It was a great deal of fun.


"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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