Why Chefs Wear White (and Sometimes Color Too)

We Are Chefs

1 Historic ChefBy Ana Kinkaid

Today’s diners accept a chef’s gleaming white jacket as the standard attire of a culinary professional, prompted in part by the early television appearances of Paul Prudhomme and Wolfgang Puck. Yet the real story of why chefs wear white began much earlier than today’s endless cooking shows.

Prior to the French Revolution in 1789, cooking was a largely undefined profession in which kitchen staff wore street clothes, or in the better households, an assortment of grey clothing often covered with stains.

Marie-Antonin Careme Marie-Antonin Carême

That is until Marie-Antonin Carême entered culinary history. At this time, Paris was famed for its elaborate pastries and the most innovative creator of these popular towering sugar edifices, known as pièce montées, was Carême.

Such creations were expensive and available only in wealthy households or in the windows of exclusive pastry shops. When the blood bath released by the French Revolution broke…

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