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Does it bother you if the Chef comes into the dining room without a hairnet?

I never gave it a second thought, but ran into a woman who refuses to eat at this delightful Thai restaurant because the female chef comes out after you are served to make sure everything has been prepared to your liking. Funny thing is that she doesn't mind eating at another European restaurant, where the male chef does the same exact thing. Neither wears a hair net, both have short, well groomed hair, and both are hands on in preparing your meal. As a matter of fact I don't think I have ever seen an actual chef come into the dining area with a hairnet. What do you think about this?

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  1. I have never worked at any place that required hair nets. Honestly, I don't think I would work at a place that required hair nets. Keeping my hair pulled back and under a hat is enough.

    1. I have never seen a chef, male or female, who wears a hairnet. I think you were right in never giving it a second thought. I also think the woman you met who had a hairnet issue is likely missing out on lots of good dining options if this is a deal-breaker for her. Oh, well! More room in good restaurants for the rest of us, I guess!

      6 Replies
      1. re: kattyeyes

        That's the weird part - she doesn't mind if a male chef doesn't have one but for some reason this little Thai chef bothers her. I say it's her loss!

        To me hair nets belong in cafeteria lines, or fast food places where mass quantities of food are processed. Not in restaurants where there are chefs.

        1. re: danhole

          Agree 100 percent. The first image that came to mind when I read your OP was of a cafeteria lunch lady. Then, of course, followed by that Adam Sandler tune, which is now stuck in my head ("Sloppy joe, slop ah-sloppy joe..." a la Axl Rose). HA HA!
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_-Kbs...

          1. re: danhole

            The only places I've worked or volunteered at which required hairnets were soup kitchens. Everywhere else, hair was pulled back, a bandana was tied on, and/or the heads were shaved or with very short hair.

            Has your friend had a problem with male chefs of other restaurants? I agree with the other posters that this may be a different issue.

            1. re: Caralien

              No problem with men, and to clarify - NOT my friend, just someone I know.

              1. re: danhole

                Apologies if offense was taken, as I too have friends (and family) with interesting behaviour.

                1. re: Caralien

                  Oh goodness, no offense taken at all! Just want to be sure you all don't think I hang around people that are that picky! LOL! Well, okay, when it come to food (as in not eating many foods) my DH is very picky, but not in the way this woman is.

        2. From the really limited information (which is not a criticism if your post, it's just the nature of this kind of information/story) it doesn't sound like your friend's issues have anything to do with hairnets. Unless there's some other sanitation problem that she noted about the Thai chef, it sounds like your friend's issues have to do with ethnicity and gender.

          3 Replies
            1. re: ccbweb

              That was my thought - it's a race or gender thing.

              1. re: BeaN

                It isn't sanitation for sure, because the place is spotless and so is the chef! She just has weird hang ups for no rhyme or reason.

            2. A chef approaching jfood's table in a hair net would cause a knee jerk reaction of, "I think I have lost my appetite." May need to pull a snagglepuss exit on that entrance

              3 Replies
              1. re: jfood

                I agree, that would be my reaction also. Rather than convincing me of the cleanliness of the kitchen, it would evoke associations with greasy spoons or sketchy cafeteria food, where the food is prepared by ladies with hairnets standing over huge pots of stew with a cigarrette butt hanging out of their mouths (though that's more a result of my watching the Simpsons than of ever having seen this).

                1. re: jfood

                  Agreed - hair nets are creepy. Exit stage left!

                  In HS, I worked as a server at a diner that required all employees to wear them, along with the awful brown polyester skirts & aprons, panty hose and slips. We had to polish our white nursing shoes before every shift too. Pure torture.

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Hair nets? How retro!! Perhaps a can of Aqua-net will keep all the hairs in concrete like attention. Today I think its all baseball caps even the toque has been largely replaced by the scull cap style. Some chefs keep a toque around to wear in the dinning room. It helps to justify steep prices:)

                2. Is it possible she takes it off before entering the dining room, or is that a dumb question? Often those involved in food preparation are required to wear some type "barier" between their hair and the food. My experience (most recent was about 3 years ago, so a bit dated) has been that baseball hats and the skull caps similar to what surgeons wear in the OR were the go-to "barrier of choice."

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: enbell

                    I was thinking that myself. I stumbled across a local blog that showed one of our respected chefs in his kitchen and he was wearing a baseball cap, but he he never comes into the dining area with that on, and his hair never looks like hat hair, I guess since it's pretty short.

                  2. I was never aware that hair nets were the norm. I think there are two issues in a kitchen- keeping the hair off the food and any sweat from dripping into the food. I would imagine that anyone who wore a hat/sweatband would probably remove it before coming into the dining room to talk to people. I don't know about you, but I don't care to see a dirty/sweaty hat/sweatband.

                    1. I worked in several restaurants and ran a kitchen, no hair nets. But I did ask if people had long hair to pull it back. It made sense. I did. Hair nets NO and if a chef went to the table with one on I would feel not sure how I would feel.

                      1. NO,the perception of ??,escapes me.Why one and not the other seems silly a best.

                        1. Have you asked her why the difference?

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: c oliver

                            She has no real response other than "that is just how I feel about it." She's a picky snot and I don't have to associate with her, so I don't. I just wondered if this was an issue with anyone else.

                            1. re: danhole

                              Danhole ... is this someone we know?

                              I agree with the others on the hairnets -- they're really not required unless its a mass-quantity production situation, or the cafeteria. This is probably why you see so many people wearing baseball caps in restaurant kitchens. Thinking about this, however, I've noticed that everyone at Central Market who handles food in front of the customer (seafood/butcher area, and prepared foods) IS wearing a hairnet. They are never flattering.

                              1. re: Cheflambo

                                Lambo,

                                No, a co-worker of a close friend that I recommended try out Thai Lanna.

                                See, that is the point about hairnets - if you are working in front of the public, like in a cafeteria or serving prepared foods, I can see the hairnet thing. I can also see the skull caps, baseball caps, or kerchiefs in the kitchen, but do you see Ming Tsai wearing anything on his show? Gordon Ramsey? Tyler Florence?

                                1. re: danhole

                                  Gordon Ramsey did tell a Hell's Kitchen contestant this week to go whack off his long scraggly goatee because he didn't want to find what looks like a "6 inch long pube in the food". I about spit across the room when I heard that -- but he's right.

                                  1. re: karmalaw

                                    Does she wear one at home in the kitchen??

                                    1. re: steakman55

                                      Steakman - Har, har, har! I'll have to ask!

                                  2. re: danhole

                                    I've seen several chefs in their restaurants and never once saw any hats of any description when they came around to the tables..... Ming Tsai and Jasper White for two...Chris Schlessinger cooks right where you can see him and he doesn't even wear a cap then. Your acquaintance has other issues. Just sayin'.

                                    Edit" meant to respond to Danhole. OOPS.

                                2. re: danhole

                                  >>>"that is just how I feel about it."<<<

                                  that's what people say when they don't want to tell you the real reason.

                                  i'd guess she is harboring some ethnic antipathy. you say she is a picky snot. i'd agree that her behavior fits that profile.

                                  also, since she is herself a woman, i doubt that sexism is the issue; however, it *could* be sexism, as some women can be very nasty about other women!

                                  ~~~
                                  unrelated, but our butcher assistant at harris teeter has a little "beard guard" which looks like disposable heavy white paper. soooo attractive! ;-).

                              2. Not at all. I was recently in Cancun, and all of the servers at my resort were wearing hairnets (presumably b/c they were doing double-time and cooking in the kitchen in between serving tables), and I found it disconcerting.

                                1. Actually, I have never met a chef in a hairnet. Now, I observe the various line cooks with them, but have never seen a chef with one. It has not bothered me in the least.

                                  Now, if I had found a bunch of hair in my food, I might have given it a second thought, but so far - so good.

                                  Hunt

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    If my 6'8" chef nephew came out of the kitchen wearing a hair net, I'd have to consider getting him professional help. Even if he were wearing it on his head.

                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                      Yes. Maybe some Board of Health will have a field day, but none of the chefs in my family wear them, that I am aware of, anyway.

                                      Hunt

                                  2. Here in Toronto, food handlers are required to "wear headgear that confines the hair. A hairnet is one acceptable type of headgear." That would leave a lot of leeway for the restaurants.

                                    1. What I would mind is actual hair in the food. How the restaurant staff keeps it out is up to them.

                                        1. I work for a health department that does restaurant inspections. I don't do them but others do. All that is usually required is a hair restraint. In most kitchens today that regulation is met by wearing some type of baseball cap.

                                          1. I find it quite funny when you go to a supermarket deli and there is a guy behind the counter with a stupid "beard/mustache" net., facial hair doesn't fall out or "shed". This is overkill by local health depts. or business owners. If it has to be hairnets are the best way to go. I've been in the food business over 30 years, I've seen some ball caps worn in the kitchen that should be taken out and burned.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                              Um, as a person with a large beard, I can attest that facial hair does indeed fall out on occasion.

                                                1. re: MattInNJ

                                                  I operate a USDA inspected facility and am a classicaly trained Chef and as part of our GMP's we require everyone in the food production area to wear hairnets, beard nets are worn as needed.
                                                  When I am outside the production area the first thing I remove is my hairnet, we used to just wear ballcaps but they get filthy from dirty hands and cooking grease etc etc. Single use hairnets are the most effective way to restrain hair. That being said I would never wear one in a formal dining room. It is always funny to see a new employee leave the building still wearing his or her hairnet and get in their car to go home still wearing the hairnet. Its the little things in life......

                                            2. I work in the industry and my board of health requires hair restraints a la ball-caps or visors even for one such as myself who shaves his head. Over-zealous imo, c'est la vie.