A lot of workplaces require wearing a special staff uniform; this includes the healthcare industry, the banking and finance industry, the defense industry, manufacturing facilities, among many other industries.
Some of these workplaces enforce the adoption of uniforms, and others do not follow a particularly strict set of guidelines for them.
In the foodservice, catering and hospitality industry however, the former applies, and for a good number of reasons, which are beneficial for both staff and customers.
As far as the kitchen personnel are concerned, particularly chefs, wearing a uniform easily distinguishes them from customers.
Wearing a chef’s hat is no different. Although a chef’s hat may appear to some as a goofy and outlandish attire, there are a myriad of reasons as to why chefs wear them, and why they are colored in white.
What is the main reason for using a chef’s hat?
The main reason is quite obvious and it is related to health and hygiene. A chef’s hat can effectively keep hair from falling on the food, alongside helping absorb sweat. When it comes to the foodservice and the hospitality industry, hygiene is of paramount importance.
For instance in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the governing body responsible for promoting public health measures in the country, has issued The Food Code in 2017 for “ensuring food is unadulterated and honestly presented when offered to the consumer”.
According to this Code, wearing a chef’s hat is not optional and not wearing can earn a restaurant a citation or even a revocation of its license to operate for disregard for or total lack of established standards.
Thus, reducing food contamination can be labeled as a primary reason as to why chefs opt for wearing a hat.
Why is a Chef’s hat white?
The reason a chef’s hat is traditionally white is to ensure that cleanliness is always enforced in the kitchen. White is the easiest color for determining whether any given object is dirty or clean. Conversely, dark colors are not recommended to be worn since they are able to mask dirt stains, especially considering that spills and said stains occur in kitchen environments.
All-in-all, due to the critical reasons cited above in terms of the importance of wearing a chef’s hat, it has become a permanent staple of culinary “fashion”.
Last but not least, it is regarded as the quintessential symbol of the industry’s long and rich history.