FREE SHIPPING for all Australian online orders over $350

The blog for uniform styling tips, crew news, recipes, interviews and oh so much more.

4 December 2023

What Do Chefs Wear? A Guide to the Differences in Chef Attire

The ultimate guide to chefs attire & the various pieces that make up a modern-day chef’s outfits.

The commercial kitchen is a place of intense work, where order and chaos dance on a thin line.

Sharp objects, fire hazards, slippery floors, and extreme temperatures – it’s clear why dressing the part is vital for any professional chef. Yes, chefs' hats, double-breasted coats and aprons are not just for looks and appearances. Specialized chef clothing fulfills a critical safety function - protecting against spills, burns, slips, discomfort, and hygiene hazards. So what do chefs wear when working and why? 

Hats for Cleanliness and Style

Let’s start with the main telltale sign - the chef’s hat or toque. Dating back to the 16th century, this tall, white, and pleated hat was once a symbol of the chef’s rank and expertise in the kitchen. Other than that, it helped keep hair out of food and ensured a professional appearance. 

Nowadays, it’s hard to find someone wearing traditional chef’s headwear in modern restaurants. Still, hats and caps, like our Chef Prep Cap, are widely accepted as professional uniforms, ensuring a high level of cleanliness, comfort and an added stylish touch.

Aprons for Practical Functionality

In the craze of the kitchen, the chef’s apron offers functionality and protection. Historically, chef’s aprons have utilized simple colours to match traditional chefwear & hide spills and marks generated from daily use.

At Cargo Crew, we’ve evolved our Chef Apron range to incorporate bold colours to push the aesthetic of your brand without sacrificing durability. Discover customisable aprons used by award-winning chefs like Curtis Stone.

Neckerchiefs for Fashion and Function

Rooted in French culinary tradition, the chef’s neckerchief and the way it was tied indicated the chef’s rank or expertise in the kitchen. In today’s culinary world, this accessory serves a more functional purpose, in terms of hygiene, comfort, and style. 

When crafted from absorbent and quick-drying fabrics, neckerchiefs can help manage perspiration, ensuring the food remains safe and sanitary. This can also help increase the wearer’s comfort by keeping the neck dry. In terms of style, adding a neckerchief or a modern bandana can lend a touch of personality to the chef’s uniform and elevate the overall appearance.

Modern Shirts Built for Work

One of the most important pieces are chef shirts, as this layer of clothing directly affects the person’s comfort, freedom of movement, and productivity. Today’s chefs favor contemporary, purpose-designed shirts made from lightweight and breathable fabrics like our range of chef’s shirts.

Like any other specialised work clothing, these shirts are tailored to suit the needs of busy kitchens with features like instrument pockets, back neck tabs to secure aprons, wide sleeve cuffs for ease of rolling and more. 

Traditional Jackets with a Modern Edge

The crisp, white, double-breasted coat is an indispensable part of traditional chef uniforms. This garment protects against common hazards in the steamy kitchen, but it also helps hide stains thanks to its reversible design. Durability is a key factor in designing these coats as they need to withstand the rigours of heavy use such as frequent washing and contact with hot items. 

Cargo Crew’s White Chef Jacket is a fresh take on this chefwear staple, a result of combining heritage and innovation. Wear trialled by professionals, it packs many functional features in a modern, streamlined silhouette crafted in 100% cotton. 

Pants Designed for Comfort and Freedom of Movement 

Chef’s pants are typically black to hide stains and provide a classy appearance. Functional pockets are a desirable feature in uniform bottoms as they allow for quick and easy access to handy tools and instruments. These pants should also be durable enough to survive regular wear in the busy kitchen and all the hazards that come with it. 

Quality Anti-Slip Shoes for Added Safety

Slip-resistant shoes are essential in the kitchen to prevent accidents. Working in this fast-paced environment leaves chefs and other staff members at high risk of slips and falls caused by wet floors and spills. These shoes often feature durable, rubber outsoles that provide enhanced grip and stability, allowing staff to move quickly and efficiently without fear of losing their footing.

Create Your Chef’s Uniform Now 

Built for work and approved by Australia’s top chefs, our range of chefwear can help you stay comfortable and confident even in the most demanding conditions. Equip yourself or your team with the ultimate modern uniform and experience excellence in every detail.