The fast growing Hospitality Industry has seen significant changes and emerging trends. New technology including programmed combi ovens, vitamix blenders, and sous vide cooking are but a few of the new technologies that increase efficiencies in kitchen. Eating habits and food philosophies have emerged. Diners are more discriminating and are incorporating new attitudes that reflect a demand for innovative presentations, while adhering to traditional values and good taste.
Discriminating consumers have high expectations. It is extremely important that we are diligent to those expectations. Most expectations can be aligned to standards of professionalism. Simply put, most consumers want wholesome food prepared in a wholesome fashion. We should show up and suit up for success. What does this look like? A clean tasteful uniform including a suitable hat and sensible shoes is required.
An old adage states that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder “ We are not playing baseball in the kitchen nor should we be expressing our personal lifestyle. Facial jewelry including studs, plugs, lip rings and nose rings are considered a safety and sanitation concern and should be removed while preparing and serving food. This applies to wrist watches, rings and dangling ear rings as well.
If you want to be cool – wear a hat. The design of a professional chefs hat ensures that cooler heads will prevail (and keep hair where it belongs). Although the unshaven look may be considered fashionable it detracts from the professional appearance of a food handler. Professional expectations can compromise the principles of personal expression but it is the price of success. Although I have a beard, I keep it neatly trimmed; knowing that looking like a member of ZZ Top would not enhance my professional image. During my formative experiences as an aspiring culinary arts student, the chef informed me that cowboy boots were not appropriate shoe wear in a kitchen. At the time cowboy boots were all the rage, however I compromised, got sensible shoes and I’m glad I did.
Looking the part and projecting a professional image is what separates the novice from the professional. We do understand that contemporary chefs like to be expressive; a wide range of professional attire is readily available. Be comfortable, sensible safe and smart -Do your part – look the part.