Facial hair in the professional kitchen

Joined Sep 3, 2012
Pokin' the bear here...

You guys crack me up!

The amt of words in the average post are wayyy more than some of you key in a whole day, lol!


Keep my hair pretty short, wear custom surgical head coverings in various stylish patterns, (caps look funny on girly girls and really don't care for hair in the buttercream) and shave the legs and pits prn.

Sometimes I will miss a few on the legs, so on those days wear jeans ;-)


* OOP! OT again! Ok, about my facial hair, have my brows waxed every couple weeks, so no problems there!
Ummm, judging by your SN, you are a girl. unless you are working side shows as the bearded woman, I am really not too sure how you can understand the desire of a man wanting to sport a beard, and work in the kitchen. I am sure you could type more than your share if the topic of how men prefer their women when it comes to hair there, barely there, landing strip or bald eagle. . .but, in keeping with the thread, "FACIAL HAIR in the kitchen", it's funny to see a girl interject. 
Joined Feb 17, 2010
Ummm, judging by your SN, you are a girl. unless you are working side shows as the bearded woman, I am really not too sure how you can understand the desire of a man wanting to sport a beard, and work in the kitchen. I am sure you could type more than your share if the topic of how men prefer their women when it comes to hair there, barely there, landing strip or bald eagle. . .but, in keeping with the thread, "FACIAL HAIR in the kitchen", it's funny to see a girl interject. 
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Cute, jon.

Funny you should bring that up.

Being a retired labor and deliver nurse I, as a matter of fact, have seen wayyy more than my fair share of each of those "styles".



*Then there were the ones that REALLY needed a full on "beard net".


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Joined Apr 16, 2012
Think this may have been covered already, but my main problem with it is that the hair on my (and other peoples) arms can get way longer than I'd let my hair on my head, or generally my beard get to. Nothing is done about that, and no-one seems to care in my kitchen about body hair. 
Joined Jan 31, 2012
Sometimes I will miss a few on the legs, so on those days wear jeans ;-)
Is that becoming a law in 2013?? *gasp*  I dont care HOW much they pay me in the kitchen, I'm

NOT shavin' me legs!
 in keeping with the thread, "FACIAL HAIR in the kitchen", it's funny to see a girl interject.
Ahhh, so this is a MAN's thread. In that case I hereby demand more beer and more whiskey! Here-here, so say we all!

 And we shall raise our glasses high and compare beards and mustaches. But NOT legs! (Unlesss you have a cool

shark-scar!) So a testosterone thread it is. Except for FlipGirl, youre more than welcome to join in and show off your

almost-smooth legs any time!
the hair on my...arms can get way longer.....no-one seems to care in my kitchen about body hair.
Hmm good point. I mean obviously we wear shirts in the kitchen (well in our kitchen at least the men do.)

I've never really thought about it, but there is defintely the matter of FOREARM hair, as I'd wager most of

us roll up the sleeves of our chef coat to avoid marinara-dipped cuffs etc. It's conceivable this can end up in

food as well, so what's to be done of it?
Joined Aug 15, 2013
You would be amazed at the amount of loose skin and hair bits that fall out of a beard 

no mater how short.

I happen to play a black accordion and after a 2 hour gig I have to brush all the crap

off the top of it with a brush. Try putting a black piece of cardboard under your chin for your working hours

and I'm sure you would never eat food prepared by a bearded person again.

I think it's a big health issue. Don't tell me to shower more often.
Joined Oct 13, 2001
The human body be it male or female is in a continual mode making new cells and sloughing off the old ones and this occurs all over the body ( inside and out).. My opinion is the perception of the food service worker is much more important than any food safety issues. When was the last time (if any) that you have heard about a food born illness being transmitted by human hair? Extremely gross and upsetting to some people when they find a hair in there food but I have seen lots of unfounded complaints on this issue as probably half of the complaints were from people who"s own hair had fallen into there own food be it from there body or clothes. In my opinion have all the hair you want just keep yourself neat, clean and groomed as well as covering the head and for a cook you are good to go..............
Joined Aug 21, 2013
For what it's worth (probably not much /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif), I'm a bald guy, facial hair (because I look like a 36 year old baby without it), and multiple visible tattoos. I shave the arms because smoldering hair is not the scent I want my guests to associate with the food and we all encounter a lot of flame.  I've never gone the ZZ look, but have had a few inches on the goatee.  I don't wear a beard guard and have never had a complaint about my hair in food.  One dish was sent back with a lengthy black hair from a patron with long black hair (I'm Scottish, the goat grows red) and another that mistook grilled fennel for a bunch of hair.  A lot of my guests are of the very conservative bent but when served good food and attended to have no objections to a chef that doesn't look like someone they would introduce to their daughter to date, but knows their names and what they like.
Joined Apr 11, 2013
Here in Brazil beards are normal when kept under control , nothing large. 

Especially since facial masks in the kitchen are a problem , since its against the law here to use a facial mask for over 30 minutes. 

Yep its against the health code <_< so either you shave or you dont regardless keep it under control. 
Joined May 25, 2013
Originally Posted by 808JONO202  

What about waitstaff that don't keep their hair pulled back, or in a pony tail? That is something I see FAR more often than anyone in a kitchen being un-kept, and it drives me bonkers. It seems that the more places I have dined out in the city, the kitchen crew, though salty, and surly looking in some places, are at least well groomed, well kept, and have it together. . . then, here comes Little miss so and so, with hair flying all over to the pass to pick up her plates for table X, walking through the dinning room, hair all akimbo, and nothing is said? WTF, mate?
Ive seen more food come back with server(or customer) hair than I have any of my kitchen staff. That being said I dont have many guys in the back who have long(ish) hair. and not once have I had a complaint about a beard hair even when mine was 6" long.
Joined May 30, 2015
When I worked in Italy as a chef, the restaurant owner was old school, no exposed arms (Italian men are very hairy lol), hair net or hat at all times, beards were not allowed. I think that when it comes to working with foods, we need to be respectful of the rules, we choose a profession that provides the public with food that is not just pretty to look at, but it gets ingested. Of course we deserve respect, but you cannot tell me that your personal preferences should override the professionalism and respect we owe to the public we serve. I personally do not think that having a beard,even if well trimmed, is a clean practice if you are a chef or a cook. You are standing over food most of the time,just because you do not see it, does not mean is not there, millions of particles of skin cells remain between the hair, and  hair do shad. this could happen while you are putting together a dish or stirring a pot. In my opinion, a true professional would sacrifice a beard over cleanliness and respect for the food he handles.
Joined Jan 25, 2016
Personally, I've seen little in the way of any steadfast stance on facial hair in the industry, and the higher up the ladder I went in professional kitchens, the less important the opinion altogether became. One of the more influential chefs that I worked alongside, had this to say:

"I'll not demand clean-shaven hands in my kitchen; everyone is allowed the right to their own individuality and identity. Drill instructors are for the military." Now, obvious quandary aside, this stands to reason that such sentiment should be taken with a grain of salt. I know his standards, and they are - by far - the toughest that I've ever seen to date, even on television, but he was realistic. Vehemently, I believe this sentiment (even for this aforementioned chef) had its limitations; there's no way someone would be walking in with a 12" beard and expecting to secure a position within his establishment.

It seems to me, that chain restaurants take the firmest stance on facial hair. If you're attached to your goatee, chin-strap, or beard, maybe aiming higher up on the 'food chain' is the move for you. But then again, if that's the only reason you want to further your career, I'm leaning towards the notion that you probably won't last long in that atmosphere.

Pop culture has done a lot in the way of paving the path for bearded chefs. Whether this remains to be a positive influence in the food culture, I am uncertain, but said influence is far beyond negligible. Therein is a topic for another thread, of this I am sure.

I've been in the culinary industry for almost two decades, and have seen my fair share of diversity in the workplace, but only a few places stood out to require even (at the most) beard nets. Most high-end establishments demand cleanliness. Let's be real, ladies and gentlemen, no one in their right mind can expect to hold a job at a 5-star dining facility, and consistently show up for work in dirty, unkempt attire, hair strewn about in a haphazard fashion, with a gnarly-ass goatee that clearly has something nesting in it. It's a careful balance of personal identity, image, and common sense.

Not once have I witnessed any culinary enthusiast claim that a disheveled appearance is acceptable. Those whom have, didn't last in the industry anyhow, as they either had a false image of the industry itself, or altogether couldn't hack it in terms of demand and responsibility.

My personal stance is this:

Keep yourself clean and well-presented (beard, or no) and we will have no issues on the appearance front.
Joined Oct 22, 2016
Yeah.My reply to an old post. I have short hair at them moment. I am a cancer survivor and ever since the chemo I have kept my hair shaved. At 1/8" or less. I have facial hair at an equal length. I do not wear a hat or a beard net. I have given guys at work with long beards grief not for the length of their beard but for lack of treating it. What I mean is their beard is long 2-3" and they trim it to look nice but they have ridiculously dry skin and it clings in their beard. If they can't treat the skin so it does not flake then the beard needs to go. I have never seen a hair in the kitchen and I have never had food sent back for hair. You can have a nice beard and work in a kitchen without a net but keep it clean for christ's sake. Someone above posted that, if one of your customers gets a hair but sees everyone well cleaned and wearing hats then they are likely to be more forgiving. They get upset when cooks are dirty and ill kept. That is s good statement.
Joined May 6, 2017
I have my hair long, probably just under my shoulder blades. I always keep it in a bun and tie a bandana around my head and over my ears to keep the hair in place, I also wear a hat to keep all of it together. I tell my cooks to do the same if they have long hair. They don't have to wear the same get up I wear but a hat and bun is mandatory if you want to keep you long hair. Otherwise Cut that shit, or wear a hairnet. I used to have a 2" Beard, but only on my chin. I kept it well trimmed and clean, but recently i decided to just trim it down. It's easier to maintain when it's short.

Beard, mustache and hair nets aren't the best fashion statement, but lets be real we're here to cook not look cool. If you dont want to wear the damn nets, find an alternative like i did or cut your hair. plain and simple. Hair shouldn't be a problem unless you're a asshole, then it's a problem.
Joined Jan 31, 2012
Your last was an interesting point, and by that definition, I must have known several

kitchen assholes. lol Cuz let me assure you, vanity is a trait that is definitely not limited to

the female gender. Plenty of guy cooks out there resist or refuse to wear a hair net

because it "looks ridiculous". Other colorful adjectives I've heard are lame, sissy, stupid,

my-hairs-clean, and "makes me look like a .... [insert not-niceties]".

When in fact, all of the above are excuses for the word...vanity. It's why guys paint their scalps,

wear hairpieces, dye their hair and undergo painstaking and hideously expensive hair plugs

and transplants. I'm with you, its ridiculous to resist, when its a bonafide safety issue, as well

as health law in many areas. Ahaha.....
Joined Oct 10, 2016
i have kept a beard since i was 18 and when i started cooking i realized lot of chefs these days keep facial hair or long hair....its a lot to do with the culture i guess..cooks are by default counter culture people who dont live like 9-6 clean shaven guys.

other than that, beard culture has become completely mainstream and even more formal corporate office jobs allow guys to keep beard nowadays as long as u look kempt.

i am not sure about those big beards tho...your facial skin has lot of dead skin cells that get caught in the beard and not keep a good facial hygiene means contamination.
Joined Jun 2, 2017
Facial hair hmmm?? I am used to keep my knife very sharp and my razor blade sharper so you know what i mean about facial hair :) 
Joined Aug 21, 2009
I have worked in places that have no restrictions on hair and let the staff go hairnet free an places who insist on a hairnet and beard net if applicable.   I think it is up to the operator of the establishment to set the standard regarding hair and then follow it and provide their staff with nets if needed.  I work in a production facility and we wear balaclava hoods that include a beard net if needed.  No one can tell you not to have a beard but they can tell to wear a beard net and make them easily available and part of your PPE.
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