When you picture a chef making his or her special dishes in the kitchen of a typical restaurant, what would that person's uniform look like? Most people would probably imagine a chef who is wearing a button down, white chef's coat, (sometimes called a cape or jacket) and all cotton, baggy style pants - probably in the standard restaurant colors of white or black. Maybe you would even imagine a white chef's hat to top it all off! This is the traditional cook's uniform, but there are now several varieties of chef's coats available; including a choice of material options, colors, and even long or short-sleeved coat options.
Almost every vendor of chef coats offers 100% cotton uniforms, as it is the most traditional material for cook uniforms. Cotton is an excellent material to wear in the kitchen of a restaurant, thanks to its' breathable quality; it helps to keep the cook comfortable and cool while working long hours on his or her feet near the hot stove and oven. Cotton is also extremely comfortable in that the material allows for complete ease of movement, and when properly sized, no restriction around the waist. Restaurant owners also prefer cotton more often than other materials because of its' overall affordability in comparison with other material options. An entire chef's uniform, in 100% cotton complete with a jacket, pants, and hat can be purchased for less than twenty-five dollars.
Cotton is not the only material choice available for chef's coats, however. The jackets can be purchased in a stiffer, khaki material, and sized to fit the cook perfectly. This style of jacket creates a more elegant appearance than traditional cotton garments. You would see this style of cook's jacket in a more upscale establishment, or on a cruise ship. The khaki style chef coat might be paired with executive style or black cotton pinstripe pants, rather than the baggy cotton pull on pants, or the printed cotton pants. Line cooks would not typically be wearing these higher priced uniforms, but the head cook or executive chef may wear them in order to show their authority and because they may actually mingle with the customers in the restaurant, to find out how they are enjoying their meals.
Some restaurants may select a chef's cape that is lighter weight, and styled more like a button down shirt than a jacket. This is because many cooks end up wearing an apron over their uniform and very little of the jacket actually shows, anyway! Chef coats can be purchased to match a certain style of apron; whether the apron is simply tied around the waist and worn to protect the cook's pants, or whether the apron is a full body style that ties around the neck as well as around the waist. A fancier chef coat may be selected if the restaurant uses the standard waist aprons, since more of the jacket will show above the apron, while a more plainly styled jacket may be selected if the restaurant decides to use the full body length aprons.