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Facial hair in the professional kitchen - Page 2

post #31 of 33

Originally Posted by 808JONO202 View Post


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.

post #32 of 33

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.

post #33 of 33

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.

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