Chef's Jackets: Why Are They White?

Chef's Jacket Overview:

The traditional white chef's jacket is among the most recognizable pieces of clothing in the world. But there's more to that unique design than you might think.

Chefs are a practical bunch, and the white chef's jacket is more than just a uniform — it's also an important tool, and each of its distinctive features serves a specific purpose.

Keep Your Cool:

Kitchens are hot places, and the heavy cotton helps insulate you from the searing heat of stoves and ovens, while remaining "breathable" enough that your body's heat can still escape.

Long sleeves help protect arms from burns while reaching across stove burners or into ovens. Cotton also absorbs liquids. Cooks are taught to quickly strip off their jackets if they spill hot oil on themselves, because the jacket absorbs the hot liquid instead of letting it pass through to the skin.

Stay Buttoned-Down:

Even those knotted buttons serve a purpose. Ordinary buttons can melt or break, sending fragments into an unsuspecting diner's food. Knotted buttons also slip off more easily in the event of a hot oil emergency as described above.

A Vision In White:

White is the most reflective color, so a white jacket literally repels heat instead of absorbing it, keeping you that much cooler than if you were wearing a darker color — and in a hot kitchen every degree makes a difference.

Plus, when it's laundry time, white cotton can be bleached, so no matter how badly stained a jacket gets, bright white is just a wash away.

Reverse The Curse:

That double-breasted style is more than just a fashion statement. Along with the double breast are double rows of buttons, so if the front of the jacket gets stained, a cook can reverse the flaps and reveal a fresh, clean outer layer.


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