Kitchen attire for a French Restaurant

Joined Apr 26, 2002
Good afternoon everyone. I could really use your help. I've been given the opportunity to help out in the kitchen of a wonderful French bistro in San Francisco. It's not too formal, yet quite old school. As someone who has never worked in a restaurant kitchen before, I am quite concerned with what to wear. Unfortunately, I have not been in this particular kitchen, so I cannot "dress like everyone else". I imagine I will be doing some really simple and dirty stuff. Nontheless, I would like to make a good first impression. Any advice on this subject would be most welcome. :confused:
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Dear Zolushka,

First let me welcome you to cheftalk, this is a wonderful oppurtunity, god I love San Fran.

As to you question, I usually wear my BVDs, clogs and an aprin, maybe a scarf also (ok, Kidding!! really, it's just my mood today :))

Not knowing what the others are wearing in the kitchen should not be to much of a concern.

Double breasted chef coat (well ironed of course)
Black and white herring bone slacks
Black socks (white if you insist)
a very comfortable, yet sturdy pair of shoes (no sneakers)
I always wear a tougay ( I know I spelled that wrong )

BTW, can you tell us a little about yourself? are you a chef by trade?
Joined Apr 26, 2002
Thank you for your reply. To answer a few of your questions:

It seems that a lot of people are very discouraging of those only starting out. And I am almost ashamed to admit, that I am one of those, who are willingly wanting to enter this difficult field. :) I am not a chef, at least not for another decade or so...

I am strongly considering attending Le Cordon Bleu in London, and have been offered a place there for June entry. I would like to take it a little slower, though, and work in the industry for a little while. I think I have a lot of qualities that will help me survive this apprenticeship.

So this is my first gig ever in a professional kitchen. I am willing to do anything to see if this is a fit for me. Given the fact, that washing dishes is NOT the worst thing I can think of (I actually enjoy its theraputic aspects in a way), I think this will be a good, yet taxing, experience.

I feel myself very lucky to get my foot into the door of Fringale. I hope I can stay - I will try to be very helpful. I have to be there today at 3:00 PM, am gettting a little nervous from not knowing what to expect. If you can offer me some advice on that, I would really appreciate it.

Thank you.
Joined Jul 31, 2000

Please take sometime and read through the culinary students forum, you will find a great deal of useful imformation to chew on.

As to what to expect, well expect to be maybe a tad lost for a while,don't let that worry you though, just take your time to really watch and absorb everything you can, keep a pad and pencil in your pocket to take down notes to review later, I.E garnish, technique being used, timing and kitchen flow.

Even if this kitchen is not emaculate, be sure to clean as you go, wash your hands as often as possible.

Also, always be the first one to volunteer (without stepping on anyones toes)

I hope this is a good expereince for you, and keep us abreast of your progress
Joined May 26, 2001
As you are interested in cooking, you have probably noticed clothing as described by Cape Chef (the white coat and checked pants, not the bvds :blush: ) available through Williams-Sonoma and maybe Sur La Table. These are fine establishments, but do not buy your uniforms from them! Simply because they will charge you an arm and a leg for 2 of each (arms and legs, that is). Go to a store that sells work uniforms -- for nurses, maintenance workers, and such -- and they will probably have kitchen uniforms at very reasonable prices. In polyester/cotton blends, and all cotton. Get what fits you best, and will be most comfortable. You're going to get really hot and messy in the kitchen, so comfort is really important.

Have something with you to cover your head, in case that is the norm at Fringale. A bandanna usually works fine, for either gender.

Of course, they may supply uniforms. Then you just have to hope they have something that fits you. And then you have to decide if you want to wear theirs or your own.

Welcome to ChefTalk, welcome to the business, and have fun!
Joined May 18, 2001
1) You're going to be working for Gerald Hirogoyen. He's a nice guy and he came up through the ranks in France so ask him what would be appropriate to wear. Also ask what he provides, such as apron. Probably a chef's jacket may be all you need. Jeans will proably be OK for a temporary gig. Hats may only be required when the health inspector is around.

2) Go to Economy Restaurant Supply on Irwin and 7th for your jacket. They have a good selection and the prices are realistic.
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